Friday, April 27, 2007

Convergent Humility

My husband and I sat down last weekened with the iPod download screen and the words of about 100 rock songs that I'd picked out for the church thingie. We went through them one after another, nixing this one, taking that one. There were a few good laughs. We ended up with about 20 songs for the first year.

Since then, said husband decided that it was going to be too difficult to wait to get a band together. He's looking for computer equipment to allow him to set down tracks and record over them so that he can be a one-man band in the short term.

I thought that sounded kind of funky.

But later, as I was admiring our new download CD, it suddenly hit me.

He was in charge of this whole project, not me.

He who never goes to meeting or church. He who thinks religion is stupid. He's the one that the Light is moving to build a new church.

Yeah. Like, not me.

I was awash in sudden humility.

Okay, sure, I'm intimately involved in it. I wanted this church thingie to be targeted at precisely the kind of person my husband is -- nonreligious. This meant that I had to listen very closely to what he was saying (and not saying) while I was developing the ideas.

But it all makes me wonder, in general, who is thinking whose thoughts. When I think a set of thoughts, am I actually just hearing and reflecting the thoughts of someone else? Or is the Spirit doing a co-nudge? Or is that was a spiritual co-nudge is?

Was it my listening to my husband that moved my thoughts into his head? Or was it how his thoughts moved into my head? Or are our two heads just corks floating in one larger Head?

Does our Quaker training in receptivity to the Spirit give us a leg-up in this area? Or are the world's people becoming like one big Mind due to media and the Internet? Is what we do in our blogs self-expression or co-expression?

This week I read the kudos to Martin and all the thanks messages about the Quaker blogosphere. How much influence have each of us had on each other's ideas and spiritual directions? How much is our own, and how much is part of this big Oneness?

I went out for a walk yesterday to think about this idea, and I saw it everywhere. The trees are not individual trees, but rather out-pushings of the Earth, where they will return when they die. The soil is not earth, but old trees. The wind here is the air from far away, with air molecules that the ancients breathed. When I touch anything on the Earth, I am connected with the whole of it. People are not born: birth is just the process of breaking off a chunk of life to become more life. When I speak to you, I am not speaking to you, but with you and in you. It's like the Catholic prayer before communion: Through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honours is yours forever and ever.

This slightly Zen "Aha" moment is the realization that so much of what we call our own--our thoughts, minds, ideas, identities--is collective, not individual. When we get the courage to surrender our individualism, we let ourselves live more fully because our lives become rooted in reality.

We're going to start meeting next week. Just him and me for now. This is something we have never done before. I guess after 12 years of marriage, it's about time we started. I think way will open from there.


At 8:11 PM, Blogger Bill Samuel said...

Just a word of encouragement. I'm someone who lived most of my life as a Quaker (very actively, having been in leadership roles at monthly meeting, yearly meeting and FUM levels), and am now in a church that is seen as "emerging" (the church that Brian McLaren founded). I try to help make connections between Quakerism and the emerging movement.

Prism sounds like an exciting venture. It's not an easy thing to try to start something new (I've also been part of an effort to start a new and different faith community), but it does have its rewards regardless of what comes of it.


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