Yesterday I wrote something unusual about faith. I want to find a way to talk to people, especially those involved in activism, about faith, and how faith can support them and their work in ways nothing else can. I was trying to show how I approached the “Open Eyes” photography project might help someone who doesn’t have a routine spiritual practice, use that approach to explore their faith.
That blog post was getting long enough, but what I wanted to talk about after that was how you might go about that inner, faith exploration. Religion has gotten a bad name in the minds of many people, often for good reason. It is discouraging to see how often ministers and churches abuse the money and trust people put in them. And it can be difficult to find a faith community you feel comfortable in.
Quakers are in some ways anti-religion. Quakerism came into being in the mid 1600s in England in reaction against the established church, with the rather revolutionary idea that people didn’t need ministers to deal with spiritual matters for them. Rather, every person is capable of communicating directly with God (or whatever word you wish to substitute). So our spiritual practice is to gather together in the meetinghouse, and sit in silence as each person prays or meditates and works on their own spiritual life. But it is much different than simply meditating by yourself. There is usually a kind of spiritual group effect, which makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. When someone feels they have a spiritual message to share, they speak it into the silence. It is surprising how often what is said relates to what a number of others had been praying/meditating about. The meeting I attend in Indianapolis is North Meadow Circle of Friends, 1710 N. Talbott St, Indianapolis (photo below). My home meeting in Iowa is Bear Creek meeting, Earlham, Iowa, also shown below (in the countryside).
So if you are interested in exploring your spiritual life, you would be most welcome to attend a Quaker Meeting. QuakerFinder can help you locate one near you.
But I did want to close with something else related to spiritual visualization. During one meeting for worship at North Meadow, I shared a spiritual message. Afterward, I made a short video of what had lead to that message, and posted it on YouTube as Spiritual Fire.