Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Three years ago I left the Clearness Process relieved I had made the right decision. Friends possibly was not for me I needed more time. I found myself a year after converted to Judaism. I feel within myself I am very much more a Jew than a Friend. Yet I find myself constantly living still in the two worlds of Friends and Judaism.
What do I mean by living in the two worlds?Well I never stopped doing silent worship. I listen within myself for at least fifteen or thirty minutes before going into prayer even though this was something the rabbis of the Talmud did I find this daily private retirement prophetic each and every time I go to pray. I experience G-D.There is nothing within Judaism that says this is exactly wrong.This private retirement fills my life with much joy.
There is also the testimonies within Judaism there is a such thing as Just War within myself though I know that peace is the way.I find myself through my prayer reflecting on how much community means for me and that though I make decisions alone it is still very good to hear the advice or queries of another.Simplicity I find witnessed even in the Jewish teachings,The call of resisting excess is there.
I have begun to worship again communally in an online wosrship group of Friends. They have challenged me in our worship to look past the labels and go within. I have realized through what at times has felt like Clearness there I have found clarity I did not find within my own Clearness Committee. That I am probably just as much a Friend as I am a Jew. The light drew me into Judaism so I could see those dual identities dancing together.
What will I do now?I have found much joy in living into the contradictions in my life. There is a beauty to it and that as Friends helped me to realize in the past that I am the member of one tribe as William Penn and the Indians saw the light within was no discriminator of persons.Maybe as they were two tribes,The two tribes of Judaism and Quakerism are within me. I am convinced of both one at times may be stronger than the other but the light guides them both into the stream of my being. What can I say?What I cannot say?I am accepting myself for who I am.
LIkest-thou Zalman Schachter-Shalomi? Judaism seems to be even more varied in interpretations than the Quaker thing. When Marsha Praeger, Rabbi of the P'nai Or Synagogue in Philadelphia, invited a Pendle Hill Synoptic Gospels class to attend services there, my wife & I came back as often as we could, & found that -- though we are not Jewish -- that the presence of God was as palpable there as in Meeting and classes at Pendle Hill, in some ways more so.
Both traditions seem [to many of us] in need of renewal, are still working on what that means.