April 3, 2011 § 5 Comments
or I’m a mother, a blogger, and a Quaker (well, almost)
I feel I should confess. I go to Quaker Meeting a lot. In fact I’m practically a Quaker (I just get all ditherety when I try and get around to writing a letter applying for membership. But seeing as how they have asked me to be on a committee, I can’t imagine they’ll say no when I do get around to it).
This is always a bit difficult to explain to th0se with no or limited understanding of Quakers (or the Religious Society of Friends, to give them their proper name). It is notoriously difficult to explain what Quakers believe in and I’m not going to try, as for starters I haven’t met them all yet. In my meeting there are Christian Quakers for sure (as historically they all were), also Buddhist Quakers, Atheist Quakers and I’m sure many more besides. Part of the point for me is that there is no “List of Beliefs to Sign up for” on the door.
The worship/meeting bit is a bit simpler to explain. A bunch of people, sit around in silence, probably for an hour, and anyone who wants to can speak (or minister) – although you’re only supposed to if you feel moved. On a good day its fantastic, although by no means always. It usually makes me think, it often helps me clarify issues in my life, and it is quite often challenging personally, to a greater or lesser degree.
If you’re really interested in knowing a bit more, I guess you should check out the British web site, http://www.quaker.org.uk, where people with more practice at doing so, have put it more coherently than I’m ever going to.
But what I really like about them, is there propensity to do things. To Let Their Lives Speak. To be involved in stuff, from ecumenically accpomanyiers in Palestine, prison Chaplins, work with sex offenders, woodland burials, carbon counting, fair trade, peace work, non violent communication, hospital visiting – and that’s just a few off the people of the top of my head that I can think of here in Exeter.
I’ve tried to unravel how much I do/think what I do because I go to Meeting, and how much I go to Meeting because I do /think what I do (usually this is one of the distractions to writing That Letter) and not got very far. It’s probably a bit cyclical. But it’s all caught up together somehow. A lot of my reflection time comes in meeting for worship (a whole 50 minutes sitting down, with no jobs to do, and the children being taken care of upstairs, bliss!). A lot of my oldest friends are Quakers. And whenever I go do something, from a knitting group to a Transition meeting, I often find one there (especially at the latter).
This is not to say that everyone I know Doing Stuff is a Quaker, far from it (Quakers are notoriously evangelical and respectful of others choices, at least among Quakers they are!).
So, there you are, I’ve put it on the record. It was trying to creep into my posts anyway, just like all those family members keep doing that I try to leave out.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, the oats people, they weren’t really Quakers. It was a marketing scam to cash in on a good reputation. Now, Cadbury’s on the other hand …