Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Dear all those who stop by....
My name is Jon. I am 51. I am beginning a journey to understand & experience Quakerism and to see if it is my spiritual home.
Some background. I grew up in a Anglo/Scandivan-American, Mid-Western, Methodist, Teacher-parents, family. I attended the local church from as early as I can remember until I was 18. I enjoyed many aspects of going to church.... church camp, youth groups, hanging with friends at church or after, going to youth conferences and the like. Church services and Sunday school... not so much. Theology... while I grew up in a liberal Methodist, had a warm hearted, loving minister for most of my experience, many of the teaching left my questioning. Looking back, part of me wonders... was it my church's teaching per se that I had a hard time with... or was it the larger Christian Community that tried to impose it's beliefs I struggled with??Another time, I will talk about the items of Christian belief I find troubling.
Anyways, by the time I was 20, I found Buddhism. Buddhism made sense to me. It was tangible, something I could experience and do. Over the years I practiced Buddhism, I attended several different centers, was taught by different teachers, attended numerous retreats from several different traditions & lived in a monastery for 5 months. At my core, I will always be a Buddhist. Having met people from around the world, who are Buddhist, we Buddhist (for the most part) aren't exclusionary. Thus in most Buddhist countries, people are Buddhist and... . Japan, for instance people practice Buddhism and Shintoism. So I do not feel that being a Buddhist prohibits me from being something else too.
So why am I exploring Quakerism? I am seeking a direct, mystical, experiential connection with the Divine or God. As this desire emerged, I have studied several different traditions (for example: New Thought & Vedanta). While these traditions were interesting and I felt a connection with them, I often found the services too.... too much. Too much noise. Too much talking. Too much "being a spectator". Too much "being entertained". Buddhism is a way... a doing. I wanted to "do" and "to be". When I attended a Quaker for the first time (I have been to several Meetings, at 3 different Meetings) and felt the energy in the room... I was amazed. It was a real, tangible, experience... there was no need for "belief". That was several years ago. I questioned my ability to be Quaker enough (for instance, I am not a Pacifist, though politically left & for social justice/peace), therefore I wandered for several years.
Now, I decided that I am going to commit to exploring the "Quaker" path (I know enough to know, that there is not "one" Quaker path... :) ). To do daily practices inspired by what I am learning. To attend as many Meetings as I can. To read & explore as much as I can from within Quakerism, as well as teachings of Jesus, God and the early followers of Jesus.
Thanks for stopping by. I am open to feedback and suggestions as you see fit. Many thanks for those who give me pointers along the way. Blessings.