Join Date: Oct 2007
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|I haven't quite got my head (or heart, honestly) around the idea of Jesus as God (I'm still working on the Bible, really), but it otherwise seems really compelling. Even if just for personal study, rather than religious identification. At any rate, it's interesting. I wish I'd known more about progressive or liberal religious groups and practice a long time ago.|
The Quakers have always interested me but I have heard that joining is quite a production. I don't want to have to sign anything or swear anything really. I just want to explore. I'd love to hear more.
It is not difficult to become a Quaker. I've done it. Basically, you attend a Meeting regularly. After awhile, maybe you start to feel like you're a Quaker. You can leave it at that and proclaim yourself one if anyone asks your religion. That was me, for years. There's really not any sort of difference between "official" Quakers and devoted attenders. Both can be active in the life of the Meeting in all sorts of ways.
If you want to join your specific Meeting and have yourself declared an official member of the Society of Friends, you write a letter to the Clerk of Meeting stating so. The Clerk will assign a "Clearness Committee," usually two men and two women, to meet with you. It's not very formal, basically a conversation about what led you to Quakerism, what is leading you to take this step (for me it was because I was pregnant and wanted a more formal affiliation with the Meeting I'd been attending).
Then the Clearness Committee will recommend you for membership and there you go. Quakers don't swear oaths. That is one of their big things.
(Of course, for me, a few years later dh and I decided to return to our roots and raise the kids Jewish, but that's a whole different story.)
Well, I've always been intrigued by Judaism, but never thought seriously about it as an adult (until very recently, when I started looking into it more diligently). I guess I grew up thinking it was like Christianity minus the Christ, but have learned through reading that it's actually got a very different philosophy and theology, that really jibes with many of my own beliefs. But it seems very difficult to get all that involved in, especially without family/spousal support/involvement.
I attended a Quaker school when I was very little, so I guess it didn't seem too closed-off to me. I went this morning and everyone was super welcoming. As far as I know, they aren't particularly dogmatic (the opposite, really) and there is no formal conversion process or anything like that. There's no ritual or anything involved - maybe you're thinking of another group, or the meeting in your town has that, but I don't think it's part of the Friends' general approach. They're "supposed" to be very accessible.
I wasn't able to sit in the meeting for very long this morning, as my son was with me (my husband is not at all supportive of my spiritual pursuits) and he was making a bit of noise, so I went with him to the children's room. Still, it was nice to spend the morning in such a warm, friendly place, and I think I might go to their Wednesday potlucks, since the Worship meetings themselves will be difficult for me until my son is older. I really would like to explore the Jewish path as well, but it's just...not possible. Maybe someday.
I would like to find a "god-centered" community without any rites to undertake (not because I am adamantly opposed to them, but because I don't want to set up a divide in my household over them), where I can go and learn and be with others and maybe (hopefully) sing a few songs with people once in a while. Worship and pray and not get caught up in the divisiveness or dogma. A place where god-talk is not off-limits (as it is in my daily life), where my son might someday learn, too, but which is not exclusive and will not set my husband's atheist-alarms off (he is extremely, extremely, extremely anti-religion - so much so that we can't even discuss these things at all). Just a nice community I can be a part of. I am wary of Christian churches because of the negative associations others have of them, not necessarily because I have had a bad experience or anything. There is what seems to be a very "progressive" Presbyterian church in my town, and I'm sort of curious, even though I know nothing about Presbyterianism.
Hey, I know. Let's start our own church! Seriously, though, I need to find a place or figure out something. I really want to explore and learn and celebrate and wonder with others/outloud.
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