Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pride vs Gratitude

Today lots of people I work with wore costumes. One man became a US citizen last year, and wore a "Proud to be American" t-shirt. (This man was born in Arkansas and lost his citizenship on a technicality, and was Canadian for many years.) I told him I didn't feel proud to be American, I felt grateful and thankful. He asked me if I didn't think there was much in America to be proud of. I agreed but quickly pointed out there was also much to feel shame about. I also noted that pride was a 'sin."

This seemed to shut him down, which surprised me. Did I exercise a moral nuclear option? Is there no rejoinder to the claim of sin? I am curious, and wonder if the other sins have as much power. Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, anger. What about selfish, thoughtless waste?

I hope this finds you well, and thankful

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thoughts about Religulous

Our family went to see Religulous on Sunday and it left me feeling a little defensive. While I delighted in the revelations of the seemingly preposterous basis of Christianity, Scientology and Mormonism, I know that people of faith around the planet do a lot of good. And faith gives people comfort--there are no atheists in foxholes, remember?

I reached in my mind (and blog) for the mission statement from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, FCNL:

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored.

Nothing religulous about this mission.

Make the world a better place for people and other living things. That's a pretty concise mission, and one I cannot imagine anyone disagreeing with.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why and how I am an isolated Quaker

My father's family was Quaker. My father remained a Quaker until his mental illness led him elsewhere. But long before that, I found my way to my father's faith and practice. I joined the Society of Friends at the age of 14 and have identified as a Friend ever since. I attended a Quaker school and even staggered to meeting almost regularly during college. After college I led my first and second loves into meeting with me, and those relationships shone in the meeting. My first love is still clerk of our meeting!

The first time I attended a yearly meeting, I felt enough light and grace to quit smoking. And I did. I have not lit up since April 4, 1980.

But in the 1980s I moved to an area with no meeting! I love living where I do, but there are a few drawbacks and being far from other Quakers is definitely one of them. It is a 3-hour round trip drive to attend a meeting, and I just don't feel right about the gas or the time it takes (mainly the gas).

I love visiting back East. It feels right to me. I feel a nearly physical envy of Quakers who can choose which meeting to attend because so many are available to them!

So... I subscribe to Friends' Journal. I donate to Quaker charities. I attend the region's quarterly meeting twice a year. I usually travel to at least one other meeting for worship each year. I try to be a one-woman peace and social concerns commitee. Our family observes grace for every dinner at home. I consider queries.

My greatest challenge is to bring up my daughter as a Quaker, without the benefit of a meeting. I would walk on my hands if that would help. I use the plain language with her some of the time (not so much any more.) I encourage her connection to Quaker kids in our quarter and her Quaker cousin peers. I hope to send her to a Quaker school.

I am finding lots of good Q stuff online and don't feel quite as isolated any more. But how I miss having a Meeting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

All is well

All is well. I know this. I took a personal inventory of blessings today and realize that even if some of my savings have crashed, I am diversified and plenty of other $ sources are safe. Health is good, and there's lots of love in my life. Now if I had enough time to read...

The attitude of gratitude

This old phrase sounded new again to me yesterday. At the beginning of a "now hear this" lecture about civility, the boss reminded us we do have a lot to be grateful for in these troubled times.

How true! How does this connect with peace? A few ways.

First, a thankful heart limits the danger of pride, and lets us remain humble and open.

Second, when we consider what we are thankful for, we are actually articulating the dividends of peace which we enjoy, and are naming what we need to share with others in the world.

Third, if we remain thankful we can avoid the paralysis of despair and helplessness that so often attend the focus on current events and personal woes.

I have a new thing to be thankful for: only 21 more days till this election is over.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

These challenging times make call for different kinds of prayers. Besides prayers of gratitude, which I believe in offering several times a day, now also we pray in supplication, seeking comfort, guidance, and wisdom in facing the difficulties of the day. In this prayerful mind set I have been browsing in Quaker stuff and found this worth sharing.

This is a collection of contributions from a Friend named Steven Travis Pope. They are short essays from a Christian Quaker, and they speak to this non-Christ-centered Quaker as well. is a collection of Q-related blogs and news. I invite you to have a look.

A Christian response to the economic crisis, and a prayer of thanksgiving

I feel inspired by the Sojourners email which asks about the Christian response to the deepening economic troubles our nation and our planet are facing.

First, my personal perspective. I am grateful and prayerfully thankful for my home (paid for), my job (good and steady), and my health (so far, really pretty good). I’m grateful my only debt is a car payment and I have no trouble making those payments. So at my personal ground Zero, all is well.

But I sense and feel the stress around me. I certainly hear it and read it anytime the radio is on or I glance at the newspaper or TV. I also hear it on the lips of my friends and coworkers. Gas prices are still high. Food prices are high. True! Again, I am thankful they are not so high that I must make difficult choices.

I admit I agreed with one (probably only one) of Sarah Palin’s remarks during the debate on October 2, when she said we average folks need to tighten our belts, review our expenditures, and up our savings. Something like that anyway. I agree. It’s a good time to remember to live within our means, and to save something for another day (or for another needy person).

Sojourners has a leading (Quakerese) to pursue the question of the Christian response to the economic crisis, and I am glad of it. Join me in visiting God’s Politics blog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


My coworker sent this to me yesterday and it so impressed me I want to share it widely.

Please check out It's 20 minutes long and a little cute, so suitable for younger folk. I deeply appreciated it and hope you will too, and will share it with others.