Feeling Antsy; A Thought on the FUM

The frogs were back last night, peeping away after what seems to be an eternity of the most foul April weather in my memory. And during my walk yesterday along the railway I saw one quail (which flew away, and being a poor flier, promptly crashed into a sugar maple, a la Monty Python) ; an osprey lording over the Little Ouse River, looking for little silvery fish; a tom turkey and his harem of 5 hens. So I'm glad, but I have that spring restlessness now:

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly -- and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

Not very Quakerish, I guess, but spring does that to you: makes you giddy with delight in the thought of new grass, the smell of mud, the feel of earth in your hands. Spring is doing what Love demands after a winter of contemplation and reflection.

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I received a note today from an old friend today, one I haven't heard from for years, a Carmelite Tertiary with whom I shared an interest in Teresa de Avila. (A Friend said to me: "Aren't they all interested in Teresa de Avila?") Enclosed with the note was a pack of prayer cards and bits of Catholic inspirational wisdom on 4 x 5 inch pieces of paper, including one with the somewhat dubious remonstration that "Christ didn't come to take away pain and suffering in the world, but to lead us into salvation." My friend doesn't know I've jumped ship, as it were, from Roman Catholicism's luxury liner to a rickety old Quaker sailing craft, with a mutinous crew and a hull evidently leaking.

Honesty demands I reply to her; I started a letter, but it began to sound like a rather self-centred and condescending apologia than anything else, so I threw it away. And who am I to lecture a follower and devotee of Spanish mysticism about silence, the Inner Light and seeking the will of God?

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I've been writing a little and thinking a lot about the apparently imminent disassociation of the dually affiliated yearly meetings from the Friends United Meeting (including my own, the Canadian Yearly Meeting), a move the seems both inherently stupid --- because we all know that Friends will be left weaker afterwards and that we all need the leavening of our very different gifts --- yet inevitable, as the normative forms of worship and belief between the programmed and liberal unprogrammed branches widens into a chasm.

How curious that the issue of same sex marriage and the role of gay men and women within Friends will be the issue that breaks unity. Of all the theological and doctrinal points separating us, this seems to me be the most trivial: we could begin with some heavy-duty dispute, like the Richmond Declaration, if real meat was wanted. Or the role of continuing revelation. Or being led by the Inner Light without reference for Scripture.

I have been writing a longer post on the whole issue, which I may or may not post --- I might need to tone it down a little. But in the end, I keep coming back to this question (which might well be addressed to Anglicans and United Church members or anyone else): in a hundred years, which side of this debate will be seen as having the prophetic voice?

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As I finish writing this the sun has actually appeared. O glorious!

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