Friday, December 4, 2009


2009 12 04

To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything is hopeless.
- G.K. Chesterton

It is now the season of Advent, the season of anticipation and hope. I have been pondering hope since July when synchronicity brought together my purchase of Joan Chittister's book, Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope, and the arrival of Peggy Senger Parson's pamphlet "Be prepared to give reasons for the hope that is within you...".

It is true that the time in my life that I felt the most that everything was hopeless was also the time that I was compelled from within to seek healing, growth, and the conversion of becoming new, of opening the heart to the grace of new possibilities. I, the ultimate introvert, was seeking out grief groups and friends to keep reciting the struggle of being a witness to my love’s death without giving in to the death of the soul.

Chittister speaks of “holy indifference” as being the foundation of spiritual discernment. The idea being the openness of the many manifestations of the will of God in life, the awareness of the multiple gifts of God and openness to all of them. “But holy indifference – detachment – teaches me that there is no room for isolation, abandonment, death of the spirit when I lose one thing because I know that there is something else waiting for me in its place. If only I can allow myself to watch for it, to wait for it, to grasp it when it comes.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Notes from a Christian - Universalist

After North Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session, one who is new to Friends expressed concern and dismay after attending an interest group on the Christian-Universalist split - that there was this difference on the part of Friends.

I felt an imperative to resolve this issue for myself several years ago when it first came to my attention. Believing as John Woolman that, "There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath had different names. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion, nor excluded from any where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what nation soever, they become brethren", I set out to explore what this has meant and means now for me personally.

I am a Christian because that is how I was raised. It is the culture I came from with the belief system whose language I am familiar with, and through which I "approach" a dialogue with the Divine.

I am also a Universalist because I also believe that God reveals to all people, whether Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or Native American, and therefore; all belief systems are avenues through which we can all discover more about and grow in the knowledge of our common creator.

In my worship group at NPYM, someone spoke of our obligation to speak when something did not seem right to us, when we were bothered in some way by concerns that arise from, perhaps, what others have said or from something inside that just doesn't sit right. In other words, to me this may be a clue that one is being moved by the Spirit to engage in dialogue.

I wanted to say something then, but there wasn't time - that we are equally obligated to listen. Through this speaking and listening we engage in a dialogue that enables us to discern that of God in ourselves, in each other, and in our corporate body. This is holy work. I believe this obligation carries over into the larger world of God's creation, to engage in the process of dialogue and discernment with people of other cultures and belief systems, to grow in the knowledge and love of God, and to learn what God would have us do, individually and corporately.

Belief systems are from humankind and are therefore limited. Faith is from God and is unlimited. My faith will not be limited by my belief.

I recently watched the Dali Lama in a video "Compassion in Exile". He appeared to me to be clearly a man of God.
I saw and heard him and other Tibetans speak of forgiveness of the Chinese who are destroying the Tibetan temples and their culture and forcing the Tibetans into exile. I saw more than forgiveness. There was genuine concern about what will happen to the Chinese because of their actions, as the Tibetans have a strong belief that what one does to others will eventually be visited on oneself.

Is this forgiveness, love, and compassion not from God? I know of no human belief system in which forgiveness and concern greater than this magnitude are expressed. Is this forgiveness, love, and compassion not valid or not from God because it is not from a Christian belief system?

Can we who are Christian or Hindu or Jew or Muslim not add to our concepts of forgiveness, love, and compassion by this knowledge and belief from another culture and religion?

This is only one of many examples that I find from other belief systems that do not take away from or diminish my belief, but only add to and enhance my faith. I am discerning more and more that my / our God is truly a universal God who reveals to all people. We can only enhance our knowledge of this Divine Presence by engaging in this discovery ( through study, dialogue, etc. ) of what is being revealed through all of God's people.

I also believe that, as children of one God, whatever separates us from each other also separates us from God.

We speak of Birthright Friends, as those who are born into the Religious Society of Friends, into that belief system. I like to keep in mind that we are all Birthright Children of God, born into an inherent knowledge of and faith in a Divine Presence that is present in, transcends, and encompasses all of our human systems of belief. If we truly knew and understood this, what might it allow us to accomplish in this world? I believe that we could truly become the People of God that God desires us to be.

Published March 1995
Friends Bulletin
p 89

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not Fun

I have been told that I am too serious and faulted for not being fun. It is true. I don't know how to have fun. My entire life has been full of serious pursuits. My work was serious ( 40 years of analyzing blood, bone marrow, tissues and body fluids in a clinical laboratory to provide diagnostic and treatment protocols for physicians). Being a chiropractic physician for a few years in the middle of all of that was serious. Raising children was serious. I guess some people have fun doing this, but I didn't know how to make that fun either. Being a Quaker has been a study of the serious for the past 25 years, reading the Bible, Quaker journals, articles and books. The title of my blog is serious (Holy Child of God). I chose it as a challenge both to myself as a reminder of its' truth and to others who only believe the misinterpretations in the KJV of "abomination".
When I retired almost three years ago, I had in mind that at some point I would do something useful for the world and volunteer either with hospice or as ombudsman for the state to monitor nursing homes. Again, serious pursuits. So far, I have not felt called to move in either of those directions. Now I am wondering if, in this part of my life, I should be pursuing joy or fun or whatever one calls it. It doesn't seem right when there is so much pain and suffering in the world to be pursuing joy instead of trying to relieve pain and suffering. It seems too selfish to me. On the other hand, I am sure that I am not lead in that direction at least for now, so maybe I need to be more open to joy, fun, etc. I just don't know where to begin. Maybe I could start with renaming my blog. Maybe call it In Pursuit of Joy and try to be more aware of possible openings for this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FWCC Section of the Americas Annual Meeting

Friends World Committee for Consultation
Section of the Americas
Annual Meeting
19 - 22 March 2009
Canby Oregon 97013

Two Friends from Africa, one from India and one from Australia were hosted at 2 potlucks by Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon. One on the evening of 17 Mar 2009 for the meeting as a whole, and one at noon 18 Mar 2009 for the monthly seniors' potluck. At the evening session the Friends from Africa spoke of the connections that FWCC had with the African Yearly Meetings and the responses of Quakers to the fighting that broke out last year in Kenya. A question and answer period followed the potluck. These Friends had travelled many miles through many time zones and were visibly exhausted. I feel that hospitality requires that travelling Friends' physical needs should come before the requests of hosting Friends to endlessly require answers to questions that could be addressed after Friends have rested.
One audience member in particular ( I had never seen this person before and don't know how familiar she is with Friends) kept asking one of the African Friends what her mission here was and what she was doing for world peace.
I felt like standing up and helping the Friend from Africa out, as she seemed to struggle for an answer. I am not good at Quakerly responses so said nothing. On the way home I railed that it is too bad that someone didn't ask her what she was doing for world peace and that it was not all up to the woman that she had put on the spot. See what I mean by not being very Quakerly.
Today it came to me that perhaps I could have explained simply that Friends from various parts of the world were coming together for a conference this weekend. Maybe she really did not know this.
At the noon session I sat beside the Friend from India and we struck up a general conversation about family. He asked if I lived alone and I told him that I lived with my partner. He did not ask and I did not explain further. I wanted to ask if he knew of any GLBTQ Friends in India, but was afraid of the possible response. I wonder if I will ever find my voice. Sometimes I feel like Gigot in the film of that name. He was mute and upon seeing a child in the river and being unable to speak to summon help, the child drowned. Gigot runs into the church, looks up at the cross and pounds his chest in a silent but profound questioning of God for his absence of the ability to speak. This was one of Jackie Gleason's greatest performances and has stayed with me for decades as it is so meaningful to me. I am so envious of people who are articulate and quick with their responses.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gifts of the Spirit

AIG Execs Who Ruined Company To Get $165 Million In Bonuses
AIG Execs Who Ruined Company To Get $165 Million In Bonuses - The Huffington Post

Does anyone else see this as I do as a misuse of the God given gift of Administration as listed in Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Cor 12:25-31 ? The gift of Administration is described by C. Peter Wagner in his book Discover Your Spiritual Gifts as "...the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to understand clearly the immediate and long range goals of a particular unit of the Body and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals." This gift is also defined by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn in his book Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts as "... a gift that enables one to provide leadership and guidance in matters of organization and administration. The administrator serves by recognizing and coordinating the abilities and gifts of other members of the group, institution, or church."
Of course it can be claimed that these spiritual gifts could be separated from human talents, but I believe that they are all God given and meant to be used for the common good of all and not for personal gain at the expense of others.

And this from William Penn:
Government seems to me a part of religion itself, a thing sacred in its institution and ends. ... And government is free to the people under it, whatever be the frame, where the laws rule and the people are a party to those laws; and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion. ... As governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad. If it be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be ever so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.
- William Penn, "First Frame of Government", 1682

Friday, March 6, 2009



Ken Starr
The dean of Pepperdine University's School of Law is arguing before the California Supreme Court in defense of Prop. 8.
Starr argues against gay families by claiming that there are "substantial adverse consequences for children that often flow from alternative household arrangements.

Isn't this a case of FALSE WITNESS against your neighbor? This was important enough to be among the ten commandments. Witness is very powerful and very difficult to defend against. False witness is what led to the crucifixion of Jesus.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Reflections on FLGBTQC Mid Winter Gathering

13-16 Feb 2009
at Camp Adams
Mollala Oregon

For the first time FLGBTQC, in the epistle, is asking Friends to walk with us. What would this look like? This arose out of meeting for worship with attention to business due to the concern that FCG would be holding the summer gathering in the state of Virginia which has recently passed a law against same sex marriage. It is of grave concern to same sex married Friends who are legally married in another state, but must worry that if they become ill in Virginia, their spouse may not be allowed access or have a say in treatment. I was affected by a related situation 6 years ago.
My partner of 27 years and I were the first same sex couple to have our relationship taken under the care of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland Oregon in 1989, 13 years into our relationship. We raised our children together, my son was 14 and her daughter 8 when we first got together. We each had 2 grandchildren and had grandparents night every Friday night for about 3 years when they stayed overnight with us and enjoyed many activities together and then she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She died 7 months later. It has been almost 6 years and the bitterness of having to worry about insurance and other financial problems instead of focusing on her dying will forever remain. My employer did not have domestic partner benefits. Her insurance continued for a time, but when she was no longer able to work there was no more insurance. When she died, I was not considered to be the next of kin under Oregon law so her daughter had to sign for her cremation. Then her ashes were in the trunk of her daughter's car and then in her closet instead of being in the home that we shared for 27 years until her family and I all met at the coast to disperse her ashes as she had requested. For Friends to have walked with me would have meant that they were with me in my situation, to have helped to bear my burden and sorrow. It is true that Friends provided meals for several weeks near the end of her life for which I will be forever grateful, but it seemed that no one really wanted or knew how to be with the situation.
I hope and pray and work for the day that it will be better for LGBTQ F(f)riends in the future.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FLGBTQC Mid Winter Gathering

FLGBTQC Mid Winter Gathering
13-16 Feb 2009
at Camp Adams
Mollala Oregon

The Spirit was very much with this gathering. Many came from hundreds and some from thousands of miles to be together with Friends who would know us in more aspects of ourselves than are perhaps known in any other group.
It is reassuring to be among Friends who know that we too are holy children, are created in God's image, and are beloved by God. As Peter came to realize, God sees through all outward appearance to the spiritual beings that we are at our eternal core.

Acts 10:34-35 (Amplified Bible)
34And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons,
35But in every nation he who venerates and has a reverential fear for God, treating Him with worshipful obedience and living uprightly, is acceptable to Him and sure of being received and welcomed [by Him].