Sunday, November 26, 2006

Crossroads

It wasn't November bla.

Sometimes it takes a while for the Light to seep through. I teach the children about how we often fail to listen, and it turns out that I was speaking to myself. And all the advice I've been giving to people lately about how they need to start something, that was really advice to myself. I'm the one who needs to start something. And it's not in addition to meeting; it's in place of it.

We've been riding out a bit of a storm, my spouse and I. We took a 25% drop in income last year when his job ended and we started his corporation. It's been lean and stressful. I've had to take on more contracts to help cover the difference, which meant a major double shift for me, and long hours for him. But it seems that the big break comes this week in the form of a five-year deal to start a Canadian subsidiary of a US company right here in our basement. He's negotiated to work only 80% because he wants time to play and can afford it on what they will pay him. This means I can reduce my work to 60%.

It's kind of like Noah's ark. When the storm is on, you hunker down inside the ark and shut all the doors, ride it out. Then when the calm returns, you open that window and let out the bird. Where is the shore? That's the next part of the journey.

As soon as the news of the contract came, my window opened. Things became clear in a rush of fresh air, now that the possibility of doing something about it was real. The restlessness I've felt in my current quaker meeting has been more than seasonal affective disorder or anything like that. I just find silence insufficient. Not bad or anything, just insufficient. I find constant yada-yada of churches insufficient too. There's nothing much in between-- either all yin and no yang, or all yang and no yin.

Nothing personal against the people in our meeting, who are all lovely and I do feel a responsibility to help out, but there is this nudging. It's got something to do with the disconnect that I feel with both churches and silent meetings (there's something vaguely sanctimonious about both, isn't there?), and the disconnect that I sense between people and religion.

My efforts over the past year to introduce change to my meeting have been subconscious responses to this nudging. I have been (and am) sure the meeting would grow in numbers if we adopted a more experimental style. But the truth is, the people who currently come to our meeting come to it precisely because it is the way it is. Anyone who didn't like it has already left and gone elsewhere. Or nowhere. To change, we would have to start doing things that these people dislike. So then they would leave.

That is the problem with organizational change. The organization has to go through a death before it gets a new life. We have to be honest: nobody really wants to do that.

Start something.

Instead of sitting in meeting today, I went downstairs and poked around in our bookshelves. I signed out two books: The Way Out is the Way In (Damaris Parker-Rhodes) and Encounter with Silence (John Punshon). The title of the first one struck a chord with me. I wonder if it's another nudge. The second, well, I've always liked Punshon.

I'm making arrangements to visit our city's only emerging church with an RC friend, just to see what it's all about. Hopefully next Sunday, if she can go.

I've started a meeting blog, but of course, with resistance and so far weak participation from my meeting. I may need to open it up to a wider group of people. This appeals to me.

I've made a list of books to order from Chapters, once we're sure our income is secure.

Start something.

Everything beyond that is vague right now.

2 Comments:

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Peggy Senger Parsons said...

Nancy,

Since I/we am/are 2.5 years into starting something I feel led to offer you the benefit of our extremely steep learning curve.

What would you like to know about a Post-modern, Quaker, emergent, convergent, meeting start?

peggy parsons
freedom friends church

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Nancy A said...

Oy, Peggy, what a question! I know there's a statutory limit on the number of adjectives you can have for one word.

I don't know what I would like to know, not right now. I guess I'm in the exploring/thinking/listening stage.

But I know where to find you when I do have questions. And you'll be the first person I ask.

On the other hand, if there is any reading you would recommend, please recommend it.

 

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