Thursday, January 31, 2008

Only a coincidence if you're a clueless WASP

Allison's answer to,

"1. Is there something about Quaker theology that makes it more appealing to the kind of people who get college degrees? Is there something about Quaker theology that makes it unappealing to the kind of people who don’t get college degrees? If so, why?

2. Or is it something about current liberal Quaker culture? If so, why?

3. Or is it something to do with current liberal Quaker practice? If so, why?

4. Or do you think it is just a coincidence? If so, why?"

On Jeanne's Quakers and Social Class Blog

At this moment I think this is like the ONLY task before quakers in terms of dealing with classism, racism, diversity (a term I'm coming to hate from overuse and cluelessness)

If we are called to "answer that of god" in everyone, and HUGE swaths of humanity are turned off/chased away by how we're doing things, that's not "okay"

It's at the very least not okay to simply chalk it up to "coincidence" and refuse/fail to examine what about us alienates people.

Jeanne also points out:

"I can think of all sorts of things Friends would deem as "inappropriate." Dress (low-cut tops, muscle shirts), language (non-standard grammar, swearing, Jesus talk), food at potluck (fast food, processed food, non-organic food), conservative views (pro-life, Republican), spending habits (owning an SUV, subscribing to cable), to name just a few (and I bet you can add to this list)."

Now, I have to say, my defensive, clueless wasp brain immediately assumes I'm being asked to start wearing low cut tops and subscribe to cable, which is NOT the point.

The point is a little elusive to my fallible human brain, but it's something about getting too attached to outward forms.

Does organic food bring us closer to God? maybe, especially if, like me, your spirituality is very earth-based, it might.

Does squinching up our noses at food that isn't organic bring us closer to God? I bet you can guess my answer to that.

I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, have gotten a lot less militant (and a lot more confused, go figger) about it lately.

I used to get really angry at what became a relatively common story I'd hear: "I used to be vegetarian" (and maybe they are again) "but I travelled abroad and found myself in situations where to refuse a meat dish would have been terribly insulting to my hosts, so I made an exception." For years my ONLY response to this was that this person was a "sellout", now I'm finally beginning to see the value in being somewhat flexible in honoring other people's culture, even when it conflicts with your own.

I'm not saying I would eat meat in such a circumstance, I don't know. But I might miss out on a lot if I don't. And, even in I decide my personal ethics have to come first, there are a variety of ways to approach the situation, some of which are terribly self righteous and alienating, some of which could be much more friendly (than is my natural inclination)

I think it's a lot about letting go of the idea that there is A right way to do things (to think about things, to talk about things) and that we know what it is. What if we saw every exposure to something new/alien/scary/different, not as a threat to our ivory tower of perfection, but as an opportunity to learn more, or to grow in love? To know God better.

I dunno

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Friends of Color Blog

try this

with the subtitle: "...helping the Religious Society of Friends be whole" wow.

It just started up, and I think it's a great idea. I'm hoping there will be a lot of activity and some interesting stuff will come up.

I am also thinking of starting a discussion list for allies, so that those of us who are well intentioned have a place to discuss what comes up for us without getting too much in the way, but I'm wondering if there's any interest? Let me know

OK - the links in my post aren't working, but the link on the side in "quaker blogs I follow" does

bleah, technology

(ok, now I think it works)