Saturday, August 7, 2010

Many Blessings

How do I learn to trust more in God than in humankind? Or is it the same? Perhaps when I trust in God I must also learn to trust humankind and come to believe in our own innate goodness. I must not only say but truly accept and believe in my heart of hearts that God/Spirit/All/The Divine is present in each and every person - even in me. Perhaps the last is the hardest. Each of us have suffered traumas in our lives. Sometimes those traumas make us feel so much less than we truly are: less lovable and loved. I struggle with my own insecurities and doubts and am filled with wonder at the possibility that Love, any love, could be absolutely unconditional - could love me in that way. At the same time, I acknowledge that my love for my children is unconditional and in doing so acknowledge that the Love of God is so profound as to be beyond my limited human understanding. It is then that I know that God Loves me, and all of humankind, no matter what evil or folly we may engage in.

I look at the ills of our world: the tremendous imbalance of wealth while so many die of disease and hunger, human trafficking, despoiling our Mother Earth, Wars, all kinds of discrimination and so much more. I do not see these things as the work of God's Hand but rather of the hand of humankind. It is what happens when we refuse to acknowledge and to act on the Love that is - can be - so much a part of who we are. Acknowledging that Love is the first step toward Peace: That inward Peace that passes all understanding and that brings with it a Joy far beyond what I could possibly have imagined. When I choose not to acknowledge and to act on that Love often my baser human wants unfold. We need Love, we want wealth and power. When I accept and act out of the Love of God within I, and the world, takes one more step toward Peace.

Years ago I read a small book that shared Native American wisdom. In it was a teaching about the seven directions: North, South, East, West, Up, Down, Within.
Each direction had it purpose: the East with beginnings, the West with endings and so on. Within was reserved for God and the reason was so that we should never have to look for God; only remember Him*. I live by myself and sometimes wish for companionship on this journey. When I find myself in that place I know that I have not spent enough time within - acknowledging that I am never alone: that I am always Loved.

In this time in my life when I am so deeply engaged in working for Peace and find myself in dire financial straits because of that commitment I cling to my Faith. To the knowledge that God works through others and to Jesus' reminder that, if we ask, it will be given. Help has come in so many ways; a Wegman's Grocery Store shopping card, fresh produce, help from my monthly meeting and the prospect of help from my Yearly Meeting.** God, working through my human family, is amazing! Thanks be to God.

*(I need to say that my personal understanding of the Divine is neither Male nor female but that I tend to use male pronouns simply because that was the teaching of my youth.)

** Some of you have expressed a desire to help as well. I am grateful to you and would be happy to talk with you about possibilities. You can e-mail me at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fiscal equality

There are so many dynamics at play when we talk about fiscal equality. I believe that the clear economic segregation practiced in various ways among Friends is the outward sign of a much deeper and ingrained problem. Many of us wear economic blinders and choose not to see the pain that others who are poor but are working hard to 'pass' feel. Many of the poor among us feel ashamed and diminished and so, work to 'pass'. When we suggest that they should ask their meetings, regions, etc. for financial aid we reinforce those feelings.

For many years I too tried to 'pass'. Now, as I work for peace and justice it is clear to me that part of my leading is to witness. To be the voice that says "this is what it's like to be poor in the Religious Society of Friends": to continually lift this uncomfortable reality up and to try to find ways to help to heal it.

I have learned to ask for financial help. This too is part of the witness that I am called to. To lift up that it is not only OK to ask but a blessing to both the receiver and the giver. As we begin to talk about fiscal equality and the sharing of resources we need to learn to be open with one another about what our fiscal resources are and where the need lies.

I believe that when we have been hurt by another we have a responsibility to share with that person (organization)that they have hurt us. Sometimes that means exposing our innermost weaknesses; our pain; our fears. Yet, without living into this in Love we have withheld the information that may help another to open to change. It is a "conscious act of Love" - an opening on the road to Peace. This is not always an easy thing to do. And yet, it is what we are called to. To those who have been hurt, including those who are fiscally poor, I hope you will let your voices be heard so that we can begin to find our way to healing.

I have come to believe and to accept this bit of guidance from 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 “There is no question of relieving others at the cost of hardship to yourselves; it is a question of equality. At the moment your surplus meets their need, but one day your need may be met from their surplus. The aim is equality; as Scripture has it, 'The man who got much has no more than enough, and the man who got little did not go short.””

Or, in the words of John Woolman, in his Plea for the Poor:
“O that we who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great estates! May we look upon our treasures, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions. Holding treasures in the self-pleasing spirit is a strong plant, the fruit whereof ripens fast. A day of outward distress is coming, and Divine love calls to prepare against it.”

I am grateful to all those who have helped to meet my fiscal need and to those who have helped in various ways to support me as I live into my leading to work for Peace.

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