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Three Important Relationships

The more attuned we become to the light within ourselves, the more we recognize it in widening varieties of people. Our belief that the same light enlightens all kinds of people invites new friendships, mutual respect and cooperation between women and men, different races, classes, and cultures.

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What If I Fail?

“Plans are one thing and fate another. When they coincide, success results. Yet success mustn’t be considered the absolute. It is questionable, for that matter, whether success is an adequate response to life. Success can eliminate as many options as failure. ” –Tom Robbins

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God’s Weird People

The Bible says that the Jews are God’s chosen people. Author Anne Lamott says that the Presbyterians are God’s frozen people. I decided last week that the religious sect I’m a part of, Quakers (also called The Religious Society of Friends), are God’s weird people.

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Naked and Unashamed

I’ve known the story of Eve and Adam, the first humans who are created by God in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, since early childhood, but it’s assumed new meaning as I’ve gotten older. They break the only rule, eat from the one tree that God has told them not to touch. And the first thing that happens after that? They realize they are naked, and cover themselves. For the first time, humans experience shame.

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The Problem with Marriage

Because my beliefs about marriage and relationships are so important to me, it’s really hard to hear people talk about marriage in a way that doesn’t differentiate between the spiritual institution and the legal system (what I sometimes refer to as “paperwork”). I recognize that paperwork is important, because I’ve seen how much people’s lives are affected when they don’t have access to it. But that doesn’t mean it’s the real deal: the courageous, beautiful, ridiculous mystery of people coming into unity with each other and joining their lives into one. Paperwork, in my opinion, is not marriage.

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Queerness and Scripture

Almost nobody, regardless of their religious beliefs, honestly thinks that any of the Biblical authors intended condemnation of homosexuality to be a central tenet of their teaching. Even if “condemnation of homosexuality” is what they were doing—and it’s not at all clear that it actually was—it was a side note, always. So I’m longing for a shift in the conversation.

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Don’t Know Much about the Bible

I realized that I was not going to connect to every story in the Bible, or find a positive and deeper meaning in something like the Rape of Dinah. But I also realized that not knowing the Bible is not a hindrance, or something to be ashamed of. If I approach it with the right attitude, child-like, open and willing to find the holiness underlying the stories, it can be yet another book that adds to my faith.

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Having Sex Like a Quaker

I wanted to know where Quakers stood on sex: on whether it’s okay to have sex just for fun or pleasure; on how to avoid harm and exploitation in sexual interactions; on sexual decision-making; on monogamy. I wanted to know how to have sex like a Quaker—not because I expected there to be one correct, seal-of-approval way, but because I suspected there was some potential connection, and I wanted to uncover it.

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How a Faith Community Grows

Right now, too large a contingent of Quakers believes that to be devout, a Quaker simply needs to dress in drab or grey clothes, read esoteric pamphlets, abstain from alcohol, and quote George Fox. But none of these more doctrinal elements mean anything when it comes to following the deepest convictions of the heart.