Gary's Third Pottery Blog

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Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Friday, October 19, 2012

speaking of RELIGION and POLITICS....

You always hear "never speak of religion and politics at the Thanksgiving table", probably because some uncle has horrific views on both and nobody wants to be bored or offended...better to just take it off the table, right?  Same with blogging, too, or at least a certain type of blogging, like mine, which is limited to the daily horsesh!t of my life...which tends to be about creativity, food, and if I may say, humor.

I won't go into politics.  I don't want to tear my hair out today, and I use facebook to avoid arguing politics. You can guess how I am going to vote, as a FAR OUT left wing anti-gun passionate animal lover and vegetarian....and it won't be Ralph Nader, comrade.

But, I am going to risk a brief show of religious belief.  In high school and college I began attending Quaker meetings (Religious Society of Friends) and I do so now.  On the surface, what is a Quaker?
There is no clergy, or as the saying goes, we removed the lay people. Therefore, no sermons.  Meeting (services) consists of the group assembled in silence, unless someone is moved by the spirit to speak, in a simple and unadorned space.   It is about social justice, leading a simple and quiet and humble life, and peace.  Quakers are one of the 3 so-called Peace Churches, with Mennonites and The Brethren, who are exempt from military drafts.
Quakers are quite varied as people and individual communities, and we are NOT to be confused with old order Mennonites, the Amish, who are a very different group.

I struggle, oh yes I do, with the leading the simple and humble life, to be a better listener and less of an impulsive speaker, but its hard!  I mean, I have had people look at me with real disbelief that anyone as foul-mouthed and moody and quirky as me could be a Quaker, but there it is....something for me to try for every day, more humility and more compassion.

Anyway, as Quakers had led once in the anti-slavery movement and the anti-Vietnam movement, you can guess that some Quakers spend a lot of time going to rallies, to protest, for example, the death penalty or wars in the mideast.  I am definately NOT the sort of person who goes to rallies.  You may notice that some of my activities revolve around trying to make somebody's world a little better and be a better person because of it, such as following around my little dog as she becomes a therapy dog for senior citizens or in hospicecare.  But as far direct action for the Quakers, I push a broom.  The most humble job I could think of, behind the scenes, NOT standing in the rain protesting something and having the police bust my head.

As Quakers have no clergy, there is really no staff either.  Just members who do what needs to be done. I am one of the local meetinghouses' cleaners, called the Third Street Sweepers.  Which is funny, when you think "he is a terrible and reluctant housekeeper, and he volunteers to help clean a huge public building???????". YES, yes I do.  Sweeping, mopping, scrubbing toilets....although I left the bathrooms yesterday to the new guy I was training to be my partner ;)


Janet said...

Gary, my Nana (Mom's mom) was a "friend". She (and Mom) lived among the Amish til Mom was 14 or so, then moved to Boston and she became involved with them here. Interesting!

Thistle Bee Pottery said...

I wish more people would take a big ole slice of humble pie once in a while. Sweep on!

Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks, Gary for sharing your religion here. It is obviously not just a Sun. morning kind of thing. I've attended Friends Meetings and love them. Maybe I will again soon. That pic with cat on lap is fabulous! Weight? I'm guessing around 12-15 pounds?

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

Just plain awesome.

Lori Buff said...

My little (but now larger, thanks) knowledge of Quakers is that they seem similar to Buddhists in the practice of silence and meditative introspection as well as non-violence and humility. The world would be a better place if more of us tried to practice these things whether we were always successful or not.

bartster said...

I think you are on to something here. As a clergy type, I find your descriptions appealing and am glad people are looking to do some healing in the world. I know GR does!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Spike = about 22 pounds... :)

Barbara Rogers said...

well I hope he isn't offended by my underestimation!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...


Busy Bee Suz said...

Quakers are cool!!! The only other quaker I know of is Dave Matthews!

Anonymous said...

I've always been interested in the Quaker religion. Years ago I read about them and loved the idea of quiet meditation and no clergy. I think I might miss the music though. Do you separate the men and the women, or is that a myth?


Gary's third pottery blog said...

NO, there is no seperation of men and women. Quakers are VERY modern and progressive.

Shortstuff said...

Hey Gary. Did not know that about you but it makes sense. You are a very kind and considerate man and I have enjoyed getting to experience,virtually, your delightfully positive attitude and your wicked good humor. You are quite a guy.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

If I was to be a member of any organized religion, it would be Quakers.

I did not know you were foul-mouthed; we have that in common. I used to be good, but with no kids in the house . . .

cm said...

I can see where Quaker would suit your. Our man in the tower is also a Quaker.

Emily SIL said...

Spike looks soooo happy in your lap.

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.