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Switch to Forum Live View Catholic Quaker? When can I call myself a Quaker?
4 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2010 - 10:43PM #1
Anilorak13ska
Posts: 39

I was raised a Polish Catholic.  I thought I officially left the church last year.  I attended an Anglican church (thought it was Episcopalian) for nearly 6 months.  Loved the community and feel-goodness, but left on principal - they were in the process of building a massive multi-milion dollar new church, and they split with the Episcopalian church mainly over that church's ordination of an openly gay bishop (I support gay rights). Then my husband and I attended a few unprogrammed Quaker meetings. The theology is on par with what I believe.  I don't mind the silence, but my husband does.  (I've gone on silent retreats before, so it works for me.) What's more, while I like the silence, I miss the ritual of my Catholic upbringing.  I need to have music incorporated into my worship experience, if nothing else.  Good, uplifting music (which I didn't find in my American Catholic church, but I did in the Anglican church). 


I've recently also realized I have a very strong desire to worship the ONE God, and I find the concept of the Trinity to be too convoluted.  I used to explain it to people all the time, but recently, I've felt a need to relate to God more directly, and see Jesus as too much of an intermediary - the sort Protestants accuse Catholics of having in the ordained priesthood.  Don't get me wrong, I love Jesus, and I read his words every day, but I also think mainstream Christianity is a religion of Paul, not Jesus.


Anyway, so I've been researching both Judaism and Islam, and while I like certain things about both faiths, neither has sold me on their way of life.  Islam as a whole seems to really look down on music/dancing, and my husband is Latino and we love to dance, love music, see absolutely nothing wrong with unmarried folks dancing (of course not in the pornographic sort of way you frequently see in clubs nowadays).  Judaism seems more lax and incorporates music even, but the idea of joining Jews as a people feels like a betrayal to me.  My people are Poles.  I'm a Polish-American.  Polish Jews always seem to see themselves as Jews living in Poland, never as Poles. Both have restrictive diets (I'm vegetarian, but I don't want a dogma telling me what I have to and cannot eat) and require circumcision (which I'm against, and I wouldn't circumcise my son).


Then I happened upon Buddhism (which I explored years and years ago), and found striking similarities between the teachings of Buddha and Jesus.  Furthermore, I've read that there are Quaker Buddhists.  But the more I looked into Buddhism, the more I realized that while it doesn't tell me I cannot believe in God, by virtue of the sort of reality it seeks to enlighten us to, this is implied.  I find that I "hold on" to the idea of God too strongly to be a successful Buddhist, and this is just as well, because I cannot imagine going through life without the belief in a personal, loving God.


Therefore, I am currently going back to a Polish Catholic church (it is a totally different experience than an American Catholic one), even though I don't believe in their dogma.  I want to identify myself as a Quaker - a novice solitary Quaker? - but I want to continue to attend the Polish Catholic church.  So membership in a meetinghouse where I don't plan to attend regularly seems like something the clearness committee wouldn't even consider.... which brings me to the idea of even needing a clearness committee or meetinghouse membership in order to call myself a Quaker.


I guess my ideal scenario would be to self-identify as a Quaker, practice silent worship, follow especially the testimonies of peace, integrity, equality, simplicity, stewardship, etc.,  but also regularly attend the Polish Catholic church and maintain those traditions tied to the liturgical year in my home, which are a part of my Polish identity.  I wonder if doing so would actually be in line with the testimony of integrity?  And could I self-identify as a Quaker without membership?  (I know some say yes, some say no, I guess I'd like the views of those of you who are here).


I feel lost at sea.  I feel at home in terms of worship style in the Polish Catholic church.  I feel at home theologically amongst Quakers.  Choosing one over the other would inevitably leave something missing in my spiritual life.  I think probably my underlying question in all of this is this:  Can I call myself a Quaker just because I feel like a Quaker and want to base my life on Quaker testimonies? 

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 23, 2011 - 8:44PM #2
Jeff
Posts: 1

Based on what you've said, calling yourself a Quaker would be appropriate in my opinion.

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3 years ago  ::  May 17, 2011 - 3:26PM #3
Peter_d_roman
Posts: 5,999

my faith walk is much like yours has been including being born from poilsh folks too..yok sha mash ?!?


 


i agree with jeff-


 


you are a quaker now and if you continue on this path you will bring much good and true spiritual help to many others that did not know this path was open for 350 years now...


 


>p


 


quote author=81490073 post=476421945]


I was raised a Polish Catholic.  I thought I officially left the church last year.  I attended an Anglican church (thought it was Episcopalian) for nearly 6 months.  Loved the community and feel-goodness, but left on principal - they were in the process of building a massive multi-milion dollar new church, and they split with the Episcopalian church mainly over that church's ordination of an openly gay bishop (I support gay rights). Then my husband and I attended a few unprogrammed Quaker meetings. The theology is on par with what I believe.  I don't mind the silence, but my husband does.  (I've gone on silent retreats before, so it works for me.) What's more, while I like the silence, I miss the ritual of my Catholic upbringing.  I need to have music incorporated into my worship experience, if nothing else.  Good, uplifting music (which I didn't find in my American Catholic church, but I did in the Anglican church). 


I've recently also realized I have a very strong desire to worship the ONE God, and I find the concept of the Trinity to be too convoluted.  I used to explain it to people all the time, but recently, I've felt a need to relate to God more directly, and see Jesus as too much of an intermediary - the sort Protestants accuse Catholics of having in the ordained priesthood.  Don't get me wrong, I love Jesus, and I read his words every day, but I also think mainstream Christianity is a religion of Paul, not Jesus.


Anyway, so I've been researching both Judaism and Islam, and while I like certain things about both faiths, neither has sold me on their way of life.  Islam as a whole seems to really look down on music/dancing, and my husband is Latino and we love to dance, love music, see absolutely nothing wrong with unmarried folks dancing (of course not in the pornographic sort of way you frequently see in clubs nowadays).  Judaism seems more lax and incorporates music even, but the idea of joining Jews as a people feels like a betrayal to me.  My people are Poles.  I'm a Polish-American.  Polish Jews always seem to see themselves as Jews living in Poland, never as Poles. Both have restrictive diets (I'm vegetarian, but I don't want a dogma telling me what I have to and cannot eat) and require circumcision (which I'm against, and I wouldn't circumcise my son).


Then I happened upon Buddhism (which I explored years and years ago), and found striking similarities between the teachings of Buddha and Jesus.  Furthermore, I've read that there are Quaker Buddhists.  But the more I looked into Buddhism, the more I realized that while it doesn't tell me I cannot believe in God, by virtue of the sort of reality it seeks to enlighten us to, this is implied.  I find that I "hold on" to the idea of God too strongly to be a successful Buddhist, and this is just as well, because I cannot imagine going through life without the belief in a personal, loving God.


Therefore, I am currently going back to a Polish Catholic church (it is a totally different experience than an American Catholic one), even though I don't believe in their dogma.  I want to identify myself as a Quaker - a novice solitary Quaker? - but I want to continue to attend the Polish Catholic church.  So membership in a meetinghouse where I don't plan to attend regularly seems like something the clearness committee wouldn't even consider.... which brings me to the idea of even needing a clearness committee or meetinghouse membership in order to call myself a Quaker.


I guess my ideal scenario would be to self-identify as a Quaker, practice silent worship, follow especially the testimonies of peace, integrity, equality, simplicity, stewardship, etc.,  but also regularly attend the Polish Catholic church and maintain those traditions tied to the liturgical year in my home, which are a part of my Polish identity.  I wonder if doing so would actually be in line with the testimony of integrity?  And could I self-identify as a Quaker without membership?  (I know some say yes, some say no, I guess I'd like the views of those of you who are here).


I feel lost at sea.  I feel at home in terms of worship style in the Polish Catholic church.  I feel at home theologically amongst Quakers.  Choosing one over the other would inevitably leave something missing in my spiritual life.  I think probably my underlying question in all of this is this:  Can I call myself a Quaker just because I feel like a Quaker and want to base my life on Quaker testimonies? 


[/quote]


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3 years ago  ::  Jul 25, 2011 - 12:37PM #4
Mkbryson
Posts: 2

I'm so glad you posted this.  I am also a religious seeker and find myself returning over and over again to Quakerism.  I would love to hear from more (established) Quakers on this.  Please post if you read this!


I'm personally in a pickle because the closest Friends Meeting is about 45 minutes away and I can't really afford the gas.  The Meeting I'd really like to attend is closer to an hour away in one direction.  

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 26, 2012 - 7:37AM #5
mick116
Posts: 1

As one drawn to Quakerism while remaining deeply appreciative of traditional sacramental worship and grand, beautiful liturgies (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglo-Catholic), I can certainly relate to your position.

I am beginning to understand that I need not be anything other than a child of the Light, to seek to follow that Light - whatever its source. Sacredness and beauty exist in many religions, in many traditions, and we should cherish their unique expressions in any and all of these.

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2 years ago  ::  Sep 15, 2012 - 10:36AM #6
Homelesspilgrim
Posts: 2

Very interesting conversation, so far (and I hope it´s not over yet)!


 


In my case, being new to the 'world of Quakerism ', I come from a slightly different background. After having been raised in a family which could have been called a secular one (´though it was, officially, a protestant one) and in which faith played no role, I became something like a 'not very specified evangelical' at the age of 17. Many years and many experiences later (at about 7 years ago now), I started referring to my religious identity as 'post-evangelical', which doesn´t mean that I started disagreeing with the main insights of this specific christian group, but that I could no longer agree and identify with what had become of this formerly progressive group, especially since I realized that it had lost it´s 'social conscience'. 


 


This left me with some kind of 'spiritual homelessness', as a whole lot of my rediscovered interest in social, political and ecological issues had no overlap with mainstream evangelicalism or was even deemed suspicious by many people who I used to rate as 'brothers and sisters' up to then.


 


Fortunately, I stumbled upon writings of Jim Wallis and the sojourner folks, through which I learned that evangelical faith and social consciesness doesn´t necessarily need to exclude one another.


 


But the next step of controversy was already around the corner, being my disagreement with some 'moral standards' of this movement. Especially I was irritated by the weight that was put on 'sex matters', not because I thought them as subjects of 'lesser impact', but because these were somehow singled out of the 'total amount of sins', a practice that I couldn´t find backed up by the New Testament (it´s a problem to have sex before marriage in most evangelical churches, but it´s no problem to be greedy, to look down on your neighbours, to  secretly lust for other´s wives or husbands, etc. - now, where do we live, folks?).


So, having dealt with the history of the quakers about 20 years ago and then forgotten about them again, I rediscovered this spiritual path for me within the last few months, starting to visit a meeting in a nearby town and also participating in the last 'border meeting', which I really enjoyed.


Where does this lead me to? Honestly, I have to admit that I can´t tell this up to now, but at least some facts are clear - 1) when I focus on the guidance of the Inner Light, I still receive a 'keep going', or, in other words, the 'traffic lights are green'; 2) although I still have some creeds which others may deem to be 'typically evangelical', I don´t claim to 'possess the truth', 'know the one and only way to salvation', etc. . . . . and I really liked the variety of very different kinds of Quaker opinions or orientations that I´ve been experiencing so far, and, 3)  I find a whole lot - and many more! - of the issues that unfortunately do not fit into most of today´s  evangelical churches, but were very important to me, within the Quaker movement, and this not only in theory, but as a constant struggle with how to live our live according to the 'will of God'.


 


So, to come back to the original question in this thread, I really do not know if most of my Quaker friends would consider ME as a fellow Quaker, but, as far as my identification with the 'testimonies', my experience with 'silent worship' or my consensus with the thought of 'that of God in all of us' are concerned, I dare to call myself a Quaker. 


 


Anyway, as the distinction between Quaker membership and 'friend of the firends status' exists, I definitely don´t have any problem with being assumed a 'friend of the friends' and keep going where God leads me and just see where this will bring me to.


 


I might add, that, when I asked my meeting about the 'double membership thing', they said to me clearly that this wouldn´t be a problem at all as long as a) the other church/group/ideology wasn´t opposed or contradictory to Quaker beliefs as well as b) both sides (in my case, the Quaker meeting and the leadership of my church) know about it and can agree with it.


So, it continues to be a exciting journey for me, and I would appreciate to hear from you about your experiences with this matter.


 


Love and peace! HP 

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2 years ago  ::  Sep 15, 2012 - 11:14AM #7
christine3
Posts: 7,007

I like the Quakers, think their great.  They have a soft, wholesome, patient way about them.  Though I'm not a religious person, I've studied world religions and find a commonality in all religions regarding wisdom/love teachings.  I learn from everybody and everything.  


Had to take my car into the mechanic's last week because the windows have been failing steadily on my old Mazda, so that now only one window goes up and down.  As long as I have one window it's okay, but once that goes it won't be pleasant on a hot day.


While there, the mechanic showed me how he found the "sweet spot" on one of the windows and that clicked with me.  People have a sweet spot too.  Children especially.  You can find that sweet spot in everybody, it's there.  I immediate establish that before opening my mouth.  That is where to communicate with another person.  Most people keep their sweet spot covered up for fear of not being noticed or being trampled on.  I try to bring it out in others because then I can communicate with them better about the real things.  

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