MWF seeks spiritual community outside denomination

I was on Facebook today, you know, perfecting the fine art of procrastination. I saw some friends posting the results of a silly quiz, “What denomination are you?” Because I fit in no religious box lately, I decided to take it too. The results didn’t actually surprise me, Quaker. I mean, I am a pacifist who prefers a quieter, more introspective service. Then again, I’m not entirely comfortable with that label either. I’m a misfit who’s not sure how to undenominate herself, or how to find a new way to express faith in community when you do.

Maybe it’s easier to walk away when you’re disgusted by the religion show, but I this isn’t how I feel. Despite all my deconstruction, I still have a deep, abiding faith. I still believe in the importance of living faith in community. In fact, of all the things I am unsure about, these are the two things I can express with some degree of certainty.

I have faith, or faith has me, or both mixed together.

I’m in search of a community to give and receive support, encouragement, dinner, conversation, disagreement, accountability, joy, laughter, pain, tears, life and death.

I also need a community that’s comfortable with questions, doubts and difference of opinion, is more focused on the Kingdom than heaven and hell and practices radical acceptance.

I find glimpses of it here and there, friends who I know are searching too. But we seem to be all spread out, across cities and even across countries.  It’s a comfort to know they’re there, but it’s also difficult to deliver dinner when life is unkind.

Also, I don’t actually know any Quakers.

They don’t really make want-ads for this sort of thing: MWF recovering from trauma seeks spiritual community. Must have an open mind about vegetarianism, recovery, sexuality, politics and books – especially books. Liturgy preferred, kindness essential.

It doesn’t even fit on a t-shirt.

By the way, as a recovering codependent, I like to add to this sense of disconnect a layer of guilt for being too much, too difficult, too discontent, too picky and too unworthy to hope for this sort of community. Better for everyone if I just learn to get along with the moral majority instead of rocking the boat with my heretical opinions.

Ah, recovery: taking one day at a time, living one moment at a time, accepting that this is the pathway to peace…

So what will we do? We who wander and wonder, who cry when we meet a kindred spirit in unexpected places? How do we find each other without want-ads or t-shirts to identify us?

If I had easy answers, I wouldn’t need to blog.

I guess we watch, and listen. We extend as much grace as we hope to receive, and then a little extra just in case. I always end up needing more grace than I planned for, anyway.  And just for good measure, feel free to reply to my want-ad. There’s always room in the “we don’t fit anywhere” pew for one more.

Liturgy for an Anxious Heart

I’m mentally composing a blog about how liturgy has been an anchor for my faith. But today I am emotional soup for a thousand different reasons. My heart is anxious, and I’m emotionally dry. So instead of writing about liturgy, I’m writing actual prayers instead.  So, I give you, liturgy for an anxious heart.

Lord of peace and mercy,
We ask for peace which passes understanding,
For paths beside still waters,
For the restoration of the soul which only you provide.
We ask for eyes to see your goodness and mercy following us
All the days of our lives.

Abba, give us peace to be still,
Wisdom to disregard the propaganda and the rumors of war,
Grace and joy overflowing to share
Through the halls of our workplaces and the rooms of our homes.

Sustainer of creation, you are the one who brings hope
Who turns our stony heart to living flesh.
May we not turn from the refugee, the suffering, the poor, the undesirable.
Replace our eyes with your vision for justice
that we may see in your beloved children
The image of the divine
In the unlovely,
The discarded and unwanted
In the enemy who threatens us with harm.

If we walk the valley of the shadow of death
in the name of your love
Help us not be afraid
But walk gently onward ever closer to your heart.

Lord may we not look to a future in your heavenly kingdom,
But live in it, today, where we are.
Let us bring heaven to earth.
May we be conduits of heavenly justice and restoration,
Giving birth to divine love every place our feet fall,
May hope spring up from the ground beneath us, the rocks cry out,
The trees clap their hands in recognition of the Living God within us.

May our focus on the eternal not be for our reward after death,
But in our present circumstances.
As kingdom breathers and kingdom bringers
Let goodness and mercy dwell with us and in us
May they pour from our wounds as your blood poured out also.
Let justice roll like a river over every person we encounter.
May we be called ridiculous, scandalous, rebellious
As we seek to open the kingdom to all who those who have lost sight of mercy.
May we tear the curtains of this world, opening wide the most holy spaces.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Amen