Our Parallel Paths

The purpose of this blog is to continue the conversations begun when we were “Sharing Our Stories” at Earlham College during the First Annual Gathering of Quaker Mystics (June 2013). Central to these conversations is the leading that came to Rhonda Pfaltzgraff-Carlson: that of “Naming the Spiritual Condition of the World.” She has joined the organizers of the first gathering as we plan for the second. In this blog the organizers are posting about our leadings as we follow our own paths with the Light that is given to us. By converging this Light into a bright, shining Star, we hope to draw even more Friends toward this call to “Name the Spiritual Condition of the World.”

Rhonda has shared her leading in inspiring detail. Her path has led her to a concern for marginalized people, particularly American Indians, as she believes that our separation from them limits our wholeness inwardly and outwardly. Mike provides guidance on mysticism and prayer, focusing on a concern for the level of materialism and self-centeredness in North American society that supplants our spirituality. Mariellen focuses on another form of marginalization, for mentally ill people, and what she has learned about getting right on a personal/interpersonal level. Judy lives at the intersection between the environment and human culture, under a concern for our human impact on Mother Earth and all the other creatures.

One common theme is listening. Rhonda encourages us to “listen spiritually to those peoples who are the most destitute in this country and to witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit within and among them.” Mike encourages us to listen to God, saying, “Here I am, God. I want to spend some time with you. I’m ready to listen.” Mariellen encourages us to listen to our own selves and balance our attachments and detachments, as “both are spiritual gifts.” Judy suggests that we listen to our Quaker forebears, such as Maurice Creasey, who wrote, “To the extent that Quakers have any prospects, it depends on, first, whether we as Friends can discern the condition of the contemporary world, … and whether we can speak relevantly and credibly to it.”

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