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Quaker Testimonies

Testimony Pie

Reno Friends recently gathered on Zoom for a spiritual discussion about the Quaker “testimonies,” shared truths that Quakers have distilled from their spiritual experience down through the last 350 years. The most common Quaker testimonies spell out the acronym SPICES – Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality/Equity and Stewardship. We use the term “testimonies” because each person’s experience illuminates different aspects of these shared truths.

Categories
Quaker Practice

The Book of Joy

In March I went on a retreat to Graeagle. My friend, Peggy, sent along The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu. What an amazing teaching this book was for me during my sacred time! It was exactly what I needed. Before my retreat, I had been feeling increasingly hopeless about the future of humanity and all of our relations that share this planet with us. This is a familiar issue for me and one I’ve blogged about before.

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Quaker Practice

Growing Old, Gracefully

The Reno Friends monthly book club recently met to ponder both the challenges and blessings of growing older. Or at least to try and find a few blessings.

Our book for the month was On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Growing Old, by Quaker writer Parker Palmer, a primer to both the yin and yang of the aging experience.

Categories
Quaker World

Toward a Life-Centered Economy

As a young Friend, I care deeply about the state of the world and what we can do to reduce climate change and rebalance our economy. I recently read Toward a Life-Centered Economy by John Lodenkamper, Paul Alexander, Pete Baston, and Judith Streit, and it left me feeling deeply inspired about the future.

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Meeting Community

Our Remembrance Gathering

In the past few years, several members and attenders of our Quaker Meeting lost someone important to them – either through death or illness or into the obscurity of dementia. Others had moved, or lost or changed jobs, which entailed other losses.

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Meeting Community

Seekers and Seeking

Quaker Meetings often attract seekers, those who yearn for the mystery and comfort of a spiritual life but who haven’t yet found their spiritual home. There is something about the open silence of unprogammed Silent Worship – the heart of Quakerism – that seekers find welcoming, even liberating. There is no sermon, no lectionary, no spiritual music, so each person can experience the silence in whatever way helps her or him feel and understand the mystery of God.

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Quaker Practice

Contentment

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~ Lao Tzu

Lately I’ve been reflecting on contentment, curious about why I have been feeling increasingly content. January is usually when we resolve to change for the better, not a time to be content. I think what has changed for me this year is that I’m slowly dropping a lifelong habit of perfectionism; perfectionism and contentment do not make good bedfellows. In my practices of Qigong, Tai Chi, yoga and meditation, I’ve been focusing on being present and in complete acceptance with what is happening in the moment, what I can and cannot do. Perhaps after many years of practice, something is sinking in more deeply. Maybe it is part of aging and accepting of reality. Probably, it’s a combination of practices and life experience. There are blessings in getting older!

Categories
Quaker Testimonies

Why do Quakers have Testimonies?

For the past several months, Reno Friends have been holding a Quakerism 101 class, to learn more about Quaker faith and practice. Some of the first questions to surface were about the Quakers testimonies:  What are the testimonies, who wrote them, and why do they matter?

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Meeting Community

Ghosts at the Thanksgiving Table

Throughout the United States, there will be people missing from Thanksgiving tables this year. The pandemic has taken an astonishing toll, and there is scarcely a family that hasn’t lost someone. Along with those who died of Covid, there have been increased deaths from many other causes during the pandemic years, thanks to loneliness and stress. When we gather in a few weeks to offer thanks for the bounty of life, there will be empty seats in many homes.

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Quaker Practice

Shedding the Cloak of Over-Responsibility

Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day. But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way, the savoring must come first.”

~  E. B. White

I can’t recall when my mission to save the world and others began or how I became overly responsible. It’s been such a part of me for so long I didn’t realize what a toll it was taking until I got older. This cloak of over-responsibility is heavy. It slows my steps, saps my life energy and joy. It keeps me so busy; I don’t have time to slow down, rest and savor life.