Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Over at Quaker Pagan Reflections, there is a post that spoke deeply to me and to my condition. I've come to see my spiritual identity (not my religious identity, which I think is currently off on vacation in the Bermuda Triangle) as a reflection of the ways God is trying to work change in me. More and more, those changes have been happening in the quiet times and places, in listening and simply opening up the concerns of my heart rather than in anything I could remotely consider traditional prayer.

It has come with a feeling of vulnerability, as though that opening will not close. There is a saying in Judaism: the gates of prayer and repentence are always open. The traditional imagery of that saying is that they are always open in Heaven, before God's throne, but I've come to feel that each of us has a gate of prayer within, and that if we are aware of it, prayer becomes not a separate time or action, but a part of everything. The joy of seeing the trees waving in a spring breeze becomes a sort of hymn of thanksgiving, and the anxiety and sorrow I've been feeling lately also become a sort of shared prayer.

And I find myself wondering, also, if perhaps this tenderness is necessary to begin on the road to reconciliation and healing. I have two dear friends who are deeply tender over the rifts that are occurring in their faith communities. Recently, as this article discusses, there has been an increase in polarization as some religious communities deal with a rise in atheism and secularism. There is much in the article that I found at the least imprecise, but I think it illustrates the recent hardening of positions very well. As I have written about before, this rift has been very hurtful within the American Episcopalian community, and I find myself wondering how the community could come together to share that tenderness and hurt, not with more hurting, but in a spirit of communion. Similarly, I see so many divisions, so much hardening of the heart, that I wonder how the formal religions can keep the gate of tenderness and prayer open within them.

(And a special thanks to Christine over at Quiet Paths for the link to mull over.)

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Blogger the laughing gypsy said...


Buddhists name upaya, skillful means. A custom-made curriculum for enlightenment.

God is wondrous....

5/09/2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

That same post got me thinking hard, too, but not for remotely the same reason...

Though in a more general sense, yeah. Trying to open my own gates of prayer, so to speak.

5/09/2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger Don said...

I like what you have written. I think traditional religion is broken. I don't think there is much capacity for discourse. I see much more orthodoxy than orthopraxis. At the same time I sense a tremendous hunger within much of the world for a deeper and more authentic experience. I think that you should cherish whatever is welling within your own heart and follow it. I think you are being led where you need to be.

5/09/2007 5:48 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Thank you all.

I believe, yes, we all have available such instruction. The hard part is showing up for class and listening, though this may be one class where it's encouraged to look out the window and watch the birds.

5/11/2007 10:39 AM  

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