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.

Views: 45

Comment by funnel101 on 7th mo. 29, 2011 at 5:47pm

Hi, Friend. :)

 

As a fellow Buddhist and Quaker, welcome! I personally find these two religions mesh well together... and where they don't, it challenges me to refine my own personal faith. I actually write a blog about my faith called Light & Lotus that you may find interesting (Light for Quakerism, Lotus for Buddhism).

 

Attending a Meeting for Worship for the first time can often be a powerful experience. It certainly was for me... it felt like I'd come home after wandering for years and years. I encourage you to continue attending Meetings as you can and would recommend the following Quaker authors for you to consider reading: George Fox's "Journal", John Woolman's "Journals", Barclay's "Apology" (you can find this online for free), and Jim Pym's "Listening for the Light" (Jim Pym is also a Buddhist and Quaker).

Comment by Richard B. Miller on 7th mo. 29, 2011 at 7:43pm

About the peace testimony, be easy.  It is not a doctine to be believed.  We call it a testimony because Friends testify that they know from experience that God wants us to be peaceful.  Everyone has unique experiences and we need to be faithful to them.  You have your own experience and Friends trust that as you walk this path you will experience more and more deeply what God wants for us.  Testify to as much peace as your experience leads you to affirm.  Don't worry that you will be pressured into adopting a dogma about peace. 

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 7th mo. 30, 2011 at 12:59pm

Welcome to Friends. Continue to attend meeting. It can take a while to feel the fit.

Concentrate on meeting for worship and its expectant listening rather then the testimonies. The testimonies are an outgrowth of collective leadings tested by time. It is too easy to turn them into a false idol.

There is no technique that will guarantee your experience in worship. It's about yielding control and personal agendas.

The texts written by early Quakers can be a bit daunting. You might want to consider Wilmer Cooper's A Living Faith. It grew out of his Basic Quaker Beliefs class at Earlham.

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