A three-cornered conversation

Reflections on an Equipping for Ministry course and more stuff

And yes, I did raise a number of questions which came up for me. Why was that? Because the changes I think I’m making in my life to do with acceptance of God and of me…well, these changes challenged me. I felt I was being tested. Have I really made genuine changes or how much of it is pretence?

Or was that it..? I felt in the comment I wrote in my notebook, ‘I’m still here’ that I was embracing everything the tutors were telling us without feeling the need to push anything away. Love. Love of a mother. Precious. It is raining now at Woodbrooke, pouring on the flat roof of the garden room. I like the sound of falling rain … So, it was a good thing, yeah? Actually, your feelings of love have been strengthened. Tested and strengthened. Do you know that..?

I have got used to using God language. It feels like something I put on. Is that why Jesus unsettles you so? It is a lot to take on. Do you have to take it on? It feels like being stretched a bit too far. That could be growth. It certainly is challenge.I wonder if I do have a smorgasbord approach to being a Quaker? Maybe, I am wishy-washy? Am I? I have to start answering some of these questions now. But not all of them straightaway.

What do I believe in? How do I live my life or try to? Want to live my life..? I know what I want to say. Or think I do. I’m open to God or feel I am. I imagine writing to angels. God and angels are something you feel, experience. I hear a ‘still, small voice’ inside me, guiding me, helping me live my life. It is honest and doesn’t judge me. It holds me with love, accepts my failings and encourages me.

‘Judgement’, the use of the word for me has connotations of having to be something, to strive towards… And it’s high, probably unreachable?

I think I have found a way of living which has helped ground me. My grounding can and will be shaken, like nuts falling from a tree in the wind. And that feels like a good thing.

So, the word ‘judgement’ uncovers layers from your past? Not just to do with religion or faith but also class, even being part of a group – membership? I’m ok spending time on my own. Have to for my sanity’s sake. But feeling part of…that’s something I’ve always found hard to judge. I’m learning to just be, sink in the moment and wait. Be held and trust that you will be guided. It’s not a heavy thing. Don’t make it so. Practise.

So, the word ‘judgement’ evokes lots of underlying feelings around group membership, friendship, introversion, quiet, lonely…STOP!!! Actually, you did feel lonely at times amid the throng of people. But less so. And you practised being gentle with women friends. Well done! More practice needed.

Is so much introspection necessary? As much as you need. How else can you grow?

Sometimes, my membership and friendships seem so fragile. The ground I walk on suddenly feels shaky. A tutor speaks of ‘justice’ and ‘judgement’. It’s all in relationships, isn’t it – personal, community, society? For me, this means trying to lead my life in the best way I can.

During meeting for worship in the Cadbury room, a friend ministers,

Submit to God.

Submit your whole self to God.

Let yourself be held lightly by God

and prepare to be amazed.

Part of me feels I’m heading along these lines, like a stream. I seem to always qualify my statements. Could I not have some wholehearted commitment? Except I’m still learning. I don’t think I know the answers. There’s some pride creeping in there. Is there? But feeling held and loved by God as a loving father is massive change for me. It gives me the question.

The stuff about God’s ‘eternal power’ feels at odds with my personal experience of God’s power and powerlessness. Aren’t they both the same thing? I think what detracts for me is the notion of ‘power over’. Then, glad you did those leadership workshops on the residential now, aren’t you?

And, I think, afraid. I can be dogmatic and self-righteous, judging the life journeys of others. It is an aspect of my character which I feel is the…ego? EfM has been a journey of letting go of the ego. That’s why it’s hard. It can feel like a default position. I need to practise healthier forms of relationships.

And you can do this through your ministry, yes? Singing, storytelling, fooling, writing..? Yes, I can. I hope so. By being here, I have already changed the world, I remember writing. Ha! So, do what you’re called to do. Do it as well as you can. Tell the stories. All the stories. I’ve always been a storyteller, it seems. I can’t shut up. Remember that…

Where is Jesus in all this for you? I haven’t the foggiest. And that’s ok. If that’s wishy-washy, then wishy-washy is ok. Because it’s a place but it’s not the only place. I have a richer underpinning of works and words, which help me stay grounded. And your ministry is your spring? I hope so.

Does that answer your questions? I think it does. For now anyway. There’ll always be questions. And that’s a good thing. Are you a nihilist or a universalist? Good question…or is it? I am me. This will do. In fact, coming to know who I am is a real gift. Time to leave this here, for now? Yes, I think so. I think that’s plenty.

Good. Coffee and a biscuit..?

Sounds good to me.

5 thoughts on “A three-cornered conversation

  1. I’m identifying a lot with some of this. The powerlessness, becoming power – but I would say over my emotions. The questioning and the tapping into a universal force – available to all of us. And the acceptance and just letting it all be, to take away the judgments. When the shift happens for me, a stillness and gratitude – leading to kindness to me – comes in. And aloness is more than important to me. To belong and to know I can call, and have the questions answered, in that aloness.

  2. Your reflections/conversations speak to me, deeply. Your openness speaks to me. Your journey of faith has echoes for me. I have deep prompts, in worship, in quiet moments, on my bike cycling by the sea, in conversations with people I love, in conversations with all sorts of people I may hardly know! Those prompts are deeper than me, they hold me well, when I am listening, if I am listening. God is infinite, I am finite. Moments of realisation, of connection, are amazing and special. I’d like to stay there, but life rushes me on, responding to these prompts, in the life I strive to live. I stop when I can. This is one of those moments, thank you………

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