Questpost 9: inward/outward
More than ever, I am aware of the inward deepening our meeting is experiencing because of QQ. Now, I have seen all nine of our speakers in action. It is clear to me that part of the benefit of QQ is the way it allows us to “tell our stories” in a public setting. And that these stories we tell not only communicate something vital to the Seekers present, but they open us up to each other within the meeting community. I know these nine Friends now in a way I never have before – and I’ve been worshipping with most of them for ten years:
Howard, who began our “Spiritual Experience” session by “confessing his agnosticism, then spoke so beautifully about the Spiritual fulfillment his life time association with Quakerism has given him (he’s in his late seventies). He was followed by Janna and Lisa, two deeply Spiritual Friends who provided a striking contrast to to Howard, and yet the love between and the mutual admiration was so evident, that they formed together an exquisite little spectrum of belief within our meeting.
Brenda Rose, who spoke on Quakers and Raising Children, and her amusing stories about begin raised Quaker, and her resentment of it later, which led to her leaving Friends in her college years, only to return when she began her own family. She was followed by Alan, who delighted us with his tale of bringing a noisy baby into worship and feeling that every noise she made was amplified a thousand times, and his image that she was floating, cherub-like, above the gathered meeting, severing everyone’s connection with the Divine with giant cartoon scissors. Then later, the Elder from our meeting who soothed Alan by telling him not to worry about his daughter. “It’s so much easier for us to adjust to children, than it is for them to adjust to us.” Alan described this encounter as a transformative event. And later, chatting with me after the session, he described preparing his QQ talk as equally transformative.
One of may favorite parts of QQ is the time between the end of the structured part of the session and when i leave to go home. It’s the hour or so which includes the casual chats between Seekers and Quakers, and the renewal of the binds between us in the meeting. I love watching the way all of us – Core Group, speakers, and Friendly helpers – all pitch in to clean up, pausing frequently to delight in the company we are sharing. QQ understands that successful outreach comes from thriving communities, and so it assists in the building of those communities.
We have met some delightful Seekers, many who come in small family units, gratefully depositing their kids with our childcare upstairs (having our sessions Sundays from 3 – 6 was a small stroke of genius). I am moved by their tenderness, their quiet and wary curiosity, the sense they carry that they don’t want to make a mistake and their obvious relief to find a room populated by people not much different than them. It’s room of friendly people with some good news to share.
Three sown, three to go. Now the cycle repeats. The radio ads are done. We shall see if we have built any momentum, and we will challenge ourselves to stay vigilant on our other advertising tools, and to stay true to the joyful, gentle evangelism we are sharing. Questpost 9: inward/outward Sunday, April 20, 2008