Saturday, September 27, 2014

Reflection : Queries-The importance of asking questions








"Am I mindful of how my lifestyle and my investments can contribute to the improvement of the human condition, or to the exploitation of others?"- From Philidelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice of the religious Society of Friends 


"Do we observe simplicity in our manner of living, sincerity in speech, and modesty in apparel? Do we guard against involving ourselves in temporal affairs to the hindrance of spiritual growth? Are we just in our dealings and careful to fulfill our promises? Do we seek to make our Christian faith a part of our daily work?"- from The Book of Discipline of Ohio yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of friends


Above are examples of an old Quaker Practice known as queries .Queries are just simple questions that an individual or group can look over to ponder the deeper meaning in their lives usually within our books of discipline they are accompanied with advices which are just words from friends to keep in mind some Quakers (including myself) make daily use of Quakers pondering one a day .The tradition of using queries started in 1682 as a means for early Friends to find out what needs each meeting had and what persecution they were facing the originally there were only three simple queries sent out as follows :


What Friends in the ministry, in their respective counties, departed this life since the last yearly meeting?

What Friends imprisoned for their testimony have died in prison since the last yearly meeting?

How the Truth has prospered amongst them since the last yearly meeting, and how Friends are in peace and unity?

 Each of these questions provoked a response and united Friends even more as a Society no longer was the faith something just local but wider in it's influence it enabled them to hear about the life of Thomas Elmwood memoralized in this epistle :

"He was greatly respected by his neighbours for his services amongst them; his heart and doors were open to the poor, both sick and lame, who wanted help, and had it freely, taking care to provide things useful for such occasions … often saying, he mattered not what cost he was at, to do good.
He was an early comer to meetings, seldom hindered by weather (though he lived three miles distant) when bodily weakness did not hinder. The monthly meeting was held at his house about forty years, and he always looked very kind and courteous on Friends, when they came there, and took care and notice of the meanest, who came in sincerity."-Upperside Women’s Monthly Meeting, 1714

Queries were powerful than for friends then and they are powerful now not only do I think they are good just for Quakers it is good for all humanity to ask questions and to continue to ask ourselves questions .When I
find a Query such as this one :

Be honest with yourself. What unpalatable truths might you be evading?-from Britain Yearly meeting Faith and Practice

it causes me to seriously think on my life and causes me to ask myself another question :am I lying to myself in some way ? Questions have a great eternal worth  we must ourselves witness to this I think we can learn much from a child in the way they ask us a million questions personally I pray to have not only the queries as daily questions for myself but others also .There is also something we should be aware of though the Questions we should be asking in our society in order to make it a better place I think of this question posed by Sojourner Truth in 1851 in regards to women's rights :

 "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?"

In a world that wanted to box women into one form she asked a question that proved being a woman was a lot more  along with sharing some of the bittersweet times of her own life .We should continue to ask questions and be asked questions .In keeping with this Quaker Tradition I will start implementing them into Blog posts for my readers to ponder the message in these reflections .I hope all are able to dig deep into themselves with the Questions posed .

Queries to Ponder :

What Questions do you find are important to ask in life ?

What questions are you not asking yourself that could be vital for your life ?

Do you have a daily question or two you try to ask yourself daily ?


A Prayer

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”-Albert Einstein













Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reflection :My God-One,Loving, Light





 "God for me is the whole; and ‘in him I live and move and have my being’… Since I am a person God must be in some measure personal. But the universe is full of other energies, and so God is other than personal too. With Gerard Manley Hopkins I sense that he is ‘past all grasp, God’; and yet with Tennyson I am sure that ‘Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet’. This is so infinitely wonderful and mysterious that my natural human conceit is checked, I see myself in perspective, and worship becomes a rational response. Reverence for the world, for life, for man, leads on inescapably to reverence for the whole which I call God."-Donald Court,Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice 26:38



Who or what is God ?

This is one of the big questions we seem to ask ourselves a lot as human beings and the more we ask we seem to never really get close to the answer but asking ourselves this question seems to be a worthy endeavor so I'm going to seek to answer this question for myself .


The first thought that comes to mind with this question is unlike many protestants I don't affirm the trinity this is very heretical and i'm aware but throughout my life even in Childhood I could not affirm such a belief in a trinity .As a Child I was brought up within the Oneness Pentecostal movement which took a modalistic view of God in other words God in their exists today as the Holy spirit but in the past took the form of Jesus I don't hold this view myself anymore but I feel it is vital in answering this question.I experience this One God now as the thing which we all are a part of yet distinct from I would say in many respects i'm a panentheist the best illustration in describing this God is in the waiting silence of the Quaker meeting all experience a unity that binds everyone together than at times from the unity one person speaks my notion of this one God can be likened to that one person rising to speak.


Second I'd say that God is loving I would not say as John the Revelator would that God's very essence is love but I have to say a fundamental way I experience God is through love whether it be the love that I give to my fellow human beings or the love that is shown to me .There is something very powerful about the emotion of love when one practices it feels as if you are experiencing another level of existence .There is a great relationship with the divine and love that just can't be explained too easily John Woolman the great Quaker abolitionist proclaimed "Love was the first motion" it seems as long as time exists God and Love will always act in some way together.


Lastly God to me is a light this may sound like a very cliche thing for a Quaker to say but in my experience God is like Light in times of my life when there was trial it was almost if something shined upon my life offering me comfort and in times in my life when there was great joy it was if everything shined even brighter .there is a great teaching amongst the Muskogee Tribe likening God to the sun from all of which are a ray of .The Light of God to me is not only felt but expressed to me in learning new ideas or having epiphanies "New light" would be good term describe such or "revelation".


There are many ways to think and to ponder the question : who or what is God ?but I think the importance lies not in our answers to this question because we all experience God in our different ways and this is foremost my experience of God and nobody can experience God as I do they can have a similar experience but they cannot have mine .


These queries come to mind I invite you to ponder :

How do you experience God or the Eternal source in your on life ?

Do you see love at times as an emotional act that transcends the norm ?
 
Have you had experiences where "new light" was shed upon your life ?



I leave you with this prayer  from Rumi :

"Birdsong Brings relief
to my longing
I'm just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say !
Please universal soul,practice
some song or something through me" 

















Monday, July 14, 2014

Introducing Cycles

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I am Proud to Introduce the newest addition to my Blog .We all have them in life- Cycles .Starting in just a few days in conjunction with my weekly reflection will be a topical series celebrating something in life I find valuable .Not only will this strengthen my posting but it will add to the experience you have of my blog .So Get ready for a new cycle in life !!! 


Reflection :One Nation Earth




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"The Earth is but one country and Mankind it's Citizens"-Bahullah,Founder of the Bahai Faith 


We all are one human nation - I had this life-changing revelation as I participated in my country's Independence day celebration .I saw as the fireworks flew above me upon the beach sat people from every race,nationality and sexual orientation all gathered in unity not to mention the food everyone was eating ranged from falafel to hamburger .During this time of celebration we were one human species that there is really no division of humanity all  are divisions are illusions of our own making 

Realizing this oneness has caused me to think of my own place in the global process .One serious thing that I have noticed is that if I say something on this blog it goes not only to my friends but has an effect on the whole world .It makes this blog more of a calling .In lieu of this realization i've thought more about how what I might buy could affect the working conditions of other and have decided personally I will no longer things bought in China because of the poor working conditions even more so I've started volunteering at a fair trade organization . 

I feel by noticing my own part of the global community I can make us realize we are no longer made up of separate nations but one nation of humanity I am not a Bahai but I agree very much with Bahullah's words and I ask all to start noticing their place in the Global Community.what affects one affects all-We all are one human nation.


Now for a cheesy song celebrating this :


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Reflection :Why I don't like the Doxology











"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."
A lot of us love the traditional Christian hymn the Doxology but I don't for several reasons of which I will explain now through dissecting the lyrics of this beloved song 


Praise God from whom all blessings flow
God to me is not an ATM that I can call upon at any time to bless me with new gifts the Eternal Source to me is what I live and breathe and find meaning the Eternal to me is more to me than just a source of blessings.
Praise him ,all creatures here below :
To me there is no hierarchy in life we all are one and the Eternal Source is part of that oneness and the divine being for me has no gender but is made up of all Genders.

Praise him above,Ye heavenly host ;
Who is the heavenly host ? to me the heavenly host is anything that witnesses to "That of God "
by acts that create a better world these are truly angels and they exist on this earth.

Praise Father,Son and Holy Ghost.Amen 
Why limit it to three we all constitute the great cloud that is this eternal source and why end it with Amen ? The Eternal is still speaking Why Not say "What Canst thou Say "
These are just my issues with the Doxology I encourage you to find your own or provide why you love it to my rebuttal of it .



                                                                                                                       With Love,

                                                                                                                        The Malachut

Friday, May 2, 2014

Reflection : Hellfire and Brimstone










"Like fire
Hellfire
This fire in my skin
This burning
Desire
Is turning me to sin "
          - from Hellfire of The Hunchback of Notre Dame 





What would you think if I told you I believe in a literal hell ? well I do . I very much believe in a hell this hell is not  the hell preached by fundamentalists that those who don't live in the virtue of their specific religious group meet hellfire and the "gnashing of teeth " but a hell of our own making upon this earth through our own actions as well as our own inaction.


If I could describe this hell upon the earth brought about by own our actions ;I have to say we experience it every time we choose not treat each others with the most compassion we can show looking down on a person because of their poverty referring to such as "Those People" ,Destroying our environment by not looking for sustainable methods of making  use out of what we waste,and last driving the pitchfork into the views of others by promoting the fact that are view is more valid than theirs because we are more learned than them on the issue.Through our own actions we become the best Devil we need no fallen lucifer because sometimes what we do out of our own love for own measure of light we forget others and contribute to the very fall of our society.


By our Inaction we allow such tyranny to happen in our own society never have I heard of a "Silent Witness" being heard in activism at all .How many of you would like to actually see abuses continue in our society ?well every time you are silent or just choose not to talk about such whether because you feel someone holds prominence in your community or it is just none of your business it very well is ;You are just like the demons of hell laughing at the unjust punishment inflicted upon others .O arise to your call as a human to care for another !!!


Is there any grace for us ?any hope for a heaven ? Yes we experience heaven every time we stand up for the other ,when we don't typify people as "Those People" ,when we recognize a view that is not our own as just as valid,and when we work to create a sustainable planet .Grace is easily meted out but through our own efforts we as a society cannot do this alone heaven is ours for the taking but we cannot choose the Hell that we are choosing to make in our society to it we must say no more !!!! 


I leave you with this song may we create grace abounding upon our earth :







"Amazing grace


How sweet the sound
That saved a soul like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures








[2x]

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine."- Chris Thomlin 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Leaves of Grass : A Responsive Reading for Pentecost





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I Understand it is a little early for Pentecost but enjoy : ) 







                                                           Holy Spirit Awaken Us

As they were straining their eyes for another glimpse ,suddenly two white-robed men were  standing among them and said “Men of Galilee why are you staring at the sky ? Jesus has gone away to heaven ,and someday just as he went,he will return !!!”
       Holy Spirit awaken us to the glimpse of Christ we have seen in our own life and encourage us as we gather to better follow his steps by living out his example in our own lives.
       As the Day of Pentecost was fully come the believers met together that day suddenly there was a sound like a mighty rushing wind.
    Holy Spirit awaken us by allowing by allowing us to feel your presence within and amongst us today and everyday .
       And Everyone present was filled with the the holy spirit and spoke with other tongues
          Holy Spirit awaken us to the fact that your love transcends languages,nations,and religions.Recognizing that you are no respecter of persons giving a portion of love to all show us where we can greater expand our love in ourselves,our home,our community,and our world.
      Then Peter Stepped forward and said “Listen all this was predicted by the Prophet Joel “I will pour out my Spirit upon your sons and daughters and they shall prophesy”
          Holy Spirit awaken us to the prophecy you are revealing to us as a fellowship of like minded individuals to better help the heavy-laden and downtrodden of our society.
    Peter replied “Each one of you must turn from your transgression,return to God,and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the Forgiveness of your sins;then you shall receive the gift of the Holy spirit”
           Holy Spirit forgive us you awaken us to our calling as dedicated to God baptized in the life of Jesus Christ ,grateful for the gift that you are ,ever-receptive to your guidance.