Many talked about their need to belong to two congregations. I have belonged to one in my childhood and young adulthood. I left it when I no longer could embrace the tenets of their theology. It took me ten years of attending Friends' meetings before I felt I could ask for membership. I wanted to be clear with myself, the Religious Society of Friends and God, that I could embrace the teachings of George Fox, the tenets of the theology that has grown since then, and the commitment to support the meeting and its outreach. There is no pastorate, no hierarchy. I would be on my own as one of its preachers and/or "missionaries" or activists. And, it was clear that I was expected to belong to the local, regional and yearly meetings. I also had to search my soul about the peace testimony. I had served--for good reasons, I thought when I was young and naive--in the military and I didn't know what I would do if my home were threatened. For the past forty years, I have lived a full and active life, attempting to learn, to deepen my spiritual life and helping others to do so, trying at all times to center myself in the Spirit. I have at all times, put Meeting for Worship as the first thing on my calendar, ministry and counsel of the whole as the second. People around me and at my job learned that. As much as possible (which when I really tried was more than I might have thought) attempted to keep my and our children's schedules empty on First Day of secular activities, sometimes when I was under a great deal of pressure in my job, even sacred activities except Meeting for Worship. This happened once for job related reasons, once for personal reasons. I simply needed more of what Howard Brinton called "retirement time." In each case, I discussed the situation and my need to rest with ministry and council. What a support that was! In all of this, I couldn't possibly have been a faithful member of a second congregation! The one I was to which I was faithful took my time and energy. When I needed more quiet, I sat with a Zen group that met nearby once a week. I talked with the leader and told him what I was needing and he welcomed me. He knew that I was not going to be doing other things with the group. I never said I was a member of Falling Leaf Sangha; I only sat zazen with the group. I am trying to understand my amazement at someone's wanting to belong to two congregations--congregations are social--not the Spirit itself. I find fully participating in many organizations drains my time and energy. Furthermore, if Friends have laid down the laity and we are all pastors, it dominates my time, enriches my life. Forty years of faithfulness has deepened my faith. I thought young people were so busy! How do they have time to be faithful members of two congregations? Is something important changing that I don't know about? Please enlighten me. I want to be part of this world, too. 

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