Monday, July 5, 2010

Seeking

I have been having promptings lately to make regular visits to Friends churches. My meeting no longer fills my spiritual needs and hasn’t for some time. I need and love the expectant waiting in Holy silence, but that is only a part. Early Friends knew the bible so well that they were easily able to refer to passages that spoke to their lives. I have followed the common lectionary for most of my adult life to try and understand how the teachings might apply to my life, but this cannot be a solitary endeavor. A community is needed to discern together. There is among unprogrammed Friends a tolerance for many paths, except it seems for following the teachings of Jesus. To me this is like throwing out the baby with the bath water, to throw the teachings out with the way that some who call themselves Christian have misinterpreted those teachings and use them to judge and condemn others.

Yesterday I traveled to the westside of Portland to visit West Hills Friends Church. The west hills have always been a challenge for me to find my way around. I had Brunhilde, my GPS, with me and it took 40 minutes for what should have been a 20 minute drive. When I finally arrived, it came to me that this drive was an apt illustration of my spiritual journey. Going around in circles, many dead ends, and every once in awhile landing in the right place.

Part of the difficulty throughout my life has been that a part of me has not been acceptable in any place, but this is becoming less true. So, I will continue to seek out places where I might learn how the teachings of Jesus speak to me today and how I might follow the way.

3 comments:

Iris said...

Jami, I'm with you vicariously on your visits to Friends churches. Being out here in the boondocks, that's not easy for me, though I'm more committed to doing so after each gathering I attend that brings together various branches of Quakerism. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into some of these churches; maybe I'll see you at one sometime!

Tom Smith said...

Jami,
We found West Hills Friends a good place to find an accepting and open Meeting/Church. Portland Friends School "ended" up there in more ways than one. It was unfortunate that more connections and growth didn't happen.

thirdpowerfriend said...

Jami,

I was glad that you did occasionally come back to our meeting on the eastside these past few months. As a recently "convinced" Friend, I often found your quiet presence to be a comfort; you seem to have a great deal of it together, as they say. I don't consider myself a Christian--my cosmology is pretty much irreconciliable with its core tenets--but I find more and more value in what I read in certain passages of the Bible, especially the gospels (but don't get me STARTED on Paul's letters...in some passages he seems to know what he was talking about; in others, he's an out-and-out bigot). I think a lot of unprogrammed Friends come to Meeting with so much baggage from their experiences with other Christian denominations, and so for many, references to Jesus or the Bible is triggering. The early Friends were more skilled, I believe, at understanding beyond words, at recognizing the Spirit that lives behind the letter.

I hope that you find a place that fulfills the needs of your spirit more fully.

Blessings,

-Ethan