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 ;)
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