Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Can I ask me a question? or more?

So a few weeks ago, at Spring sessions, I reported to the Body about my work.  In my work I am finding that everybody has a set of expectations and assumptions about others, Meetings, themselves, Spirit etc.  I began to wonder how these expectations and assumptions interfere with my, and others', experience of each other and the Spirit.  Can I be as present to the true movement of Spirit with these expectations and assumptions?  I wondered about Meetings, and individuals, and wonder if some of the difficulty in becoming a whole body, that considers and uses individual gifts regardless of the age of the person, is due to these assumptions.  The key is that I think that these queries can apply to ANY person at ANY age.  It is an exercise in looking deeply.  It is also about being honest with ourselves, and asking if we are WILLING to hear the answers, and with that knowledge do something differently.  My wondering is from hearing people say that they want change, they want more diversity in age, experience, etc, but when put to change, are not able to see what role they play.  And I wonder, if we all need to ask if we are willing to do the hard work, and then actually do it.  So here are my Queries, share them as you will.  Talk amongst yourselves.  Have worship sharing, lunch, a facebook group.  LET'S GO!

Queries about assumptions and expectations

  • How do my assumptions and expectations interfere with knowing each other and my experience of spirit?
  • Do I give more weight to certain Friends because of their age?
  • Do I expect that older Friends have more Spiritual gifts?
  • Do I expect that because I know someone for a long time that I know what they believe and their relationship with Spirit?
  • Do I expect that I will relate better or not to someone else depending on their age?
  • Do I ask hard questions given that I might actually hear a real and difficult answer?  
  • Am I faithful to my leadings to speak when it is difficult, and listen when I am uncomfortable?  
  • Do I stay safely in the idea that we are already a “community” and therefore always affirm each other regardless of what my experience and Truth tells me?  Do I challenge others to see what they are afraid to see and grow into what they are afraid to grow into?
  • How do my assumptions and expectations of each other interfere with the integration of people of all ages and life stages fully into our community?
  • Do I welcome the gifts and challenges that come with spiritual community? Am I prepared to be whole?
  • Do I communicate to parents that their children, as they get older,  are welcome to experience worship, and learn to sit in expectant waiting?   Do I really mean that they are?  Am I ready to be present to whatever unfolds? Do I assume that parents will need a break from kids for worship instead of helping them teach their children and Meetings about worship?
  • Do I assume children and YAF will not want to be in worship or business worship, the central experience we have as a Religious society? Do I expect that they will have trouble being in worship?  Do I automatically think that they will be happier in First Day School?
  • Do I assume that Younger Adult Friends  will not want to hear from or talk to Older Adult Friends, and vice versa?
  • Do I expect that someone is more or less ready to fully participate because of their age? When have I experienced someone making an assumption about me and my spiritual journey based on my age?
  • When have I experienced someone really seeing a spiritual gift or quality in me, telling me, and holding me accountable to be faithful to that which I am given?
  • When have I experienced someone coming into an already established group and saying what needs to be said, even if the delivery is rough, but is exactly what the group needs to hear?  Was I able to listen?  Were there changes or realizations as a result?  Did I and the group recognize and accept the challenge or was the reaction one of anger and indignation?
  • Do I help to create a space where people are safe to talk about and challenge each other in their faith?  Is it okay to say what we believe?
  • Do I share your spiritual struggles and joys with others, especially those of a different age than me?  What do I gain by hearing each other's struggles?
  • Do I hold so dearly to traditions and past experiences that I am unable to see how Spirit is moving in the present?  Do I allow Spirit to lead as the community is sculpted by those in the present?  Am I willing to give up something precious in order to be faithful?
  • Do I challenge someone when I do not feel seen or heard, or when I experience an assumption or expectation?  Am I faithful to your leading to speak Truth to other people in my community?  Do my Monthly, Regional and Yearly meetings teach people how to do that, especially when it is most difficult?  What religious education is available to members of my community to encourage leadings of the Spirit?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hello Friends!
Yesterday I had the pleasure to worship at New Brunswick MM as they celebrated the new addition to their Meeting House.  It was lovely.  While there, I was able to catch up with 4 Young Adult Friends who worship there.  Dan, Anthony and Jeff were kind enough to pose for a shot in the newly spruced up garden behind the Meeting House.  It was a glorious day.  I am so blessed to be able to travel and spend time with such wonderful folks!