Friday, December 21, 2007


who has them? particularly on "living the love which Jesus spoke about" - from a recent post of mine.

I wondered what it would mean to define ourselves as "seeking to live out the love which Jesus spoke of" (paraphrasing Jeanne)

and, in the comments, the question was raised, to paraphrase,

Well, doesn't EVERYONE seek to do that? Can't we claim that we've actually experienced it? (done it?) Don't we have something more special to offer the world? (evidence that it's possible?)

Freaked me out.

I'm still not sure what to say about it.

I'd like to say that my first reaction was excitement that that's true of Quakerism - not only do we seek to live in that love, but we actually, as a whole, do it. Heck, I'd be excited to think that everyone else is trying to. That hasn't really been my experience.

So, really, my frist reaction was SCARY CHRISTIAN! (note: the commenter is a friend of mine and member of my home meeting, and I can attest is not scary in the least) I have a visceral, unhappy reaction, to any implication that anyone has some special "in" with Jesus, or especially with LOVE, especially me, or my group.

Also, and I think I've said this before, I've met a few people who actually do, in my experience, live in and radiate that sort of love, and they're all Catholic, or at least were for most of their lives.

I'm not making some giant statement that Catholicism is the way. They're also all women, and I believe that sort of light is available to men, too.

And, in spite of this repeated experience, I'm not Catholic. I'm just not. Much like I'm not straight, even though most of the relationships I would like to emulate are heterosexual ones.

That doesn't mean that I have to be straight to find true love, it does mean that a lot more people are straight, so it's more likely the good relationships I see will be straight (the worst ones I've seen have been straight too)

There are lots more Catholics than Quakers, too. And I don't even want to get into how easy it is to find Catholics who are NOT managing to be someone I'd want to emulate spiritually (or any other way)

So, back to the beginning, CAN we claim that we know it's possible? that we've done it?

I don't know. I think maybe I've done it in tiny moments here and there throughout my life, but now, it's not my general state of being.

As for Quakerism, I've found that it offers ME more of an opportunity to tap into that love, or to nurture it, than anything else I've tried.

But a huge part of my (universalist) quaker experience is standing in awe of how many paths there are to it, how many guises it takes, and how true one can be for someone else while being the worst fit in the world for me.

So, for me, I SEEK, I don't really claim to have found or accomplished much. But the seeking is important, and the moments where it works out are amazing.

And I love quakers, but I'm not exactly blown away by our superior level of spiritual evolution or anything. I expect us to be flawed, and I'm not all that disappointed in that expectation.