Friday, February 01, 2019

just a little break here, for two reasons. first, chinese new year: my three classes, on friday, sunday and monday mornings, are only meeting friday and monday, and then taking the following friday off; this means i sleep in a few more days. my students, who range in age from about ten to about thirteen, will be with their families eating dumplings and other feast-like treats. some, who will turn twelve in the coming year, are enjoying their special year, as "pigs." i asked one what that entailed, and she said, well, pigs are generally the sacrifice. they give their all so that we can eat well.

the other is that the alamo schools have conference days, both today (fri.) and monday; they don't need subs. we subs are on involuntary furlough. but i can handle that, too. i need a break kind of like thanksgiving gives you a taste of the christmas one. you need time to get back into the grind. just king day is never enough.

my schedule is a little frantic; i have three jobs and go to school. in addition, i am running a quaker meeting, and that has arisen to be very good for me and pleasant. it is on sunday night, and i will include a little publicity on this site as well as others, as time goes by. it has started out, really, with my best friends, people for whom i am already in the habit of enjoying their company. we meet online. we act like quakers. it's a nice meeting and i have come to some unusual beliefs with regard to it.

first, i think online environments are the savior of the religion itself. quakerism is quite fractured, so that even in a town like philly you have these hundreds of quakers, but some are unprogrammed, some are programmed; some are gay-friendly, some are christian/traditional; some have certain styles and others have others. out in the west it's worse; a college town like las cruces may have a quaker meeting of about eight or ten on an average sunday, but they struggle to find common ground and they lose a few visitors because they just can't be everything to everyone. and then there's me, who has to drive ninety miles across the white sands and desert just to be there, and three hours on a sunday is something i just can't give up. i have the added problem that i've had no patience for las cruces since my parents died, though it is just a town, and really, the meeting is nice there. i like it. i just can't attend every week.

second, the conservative tradition has a strong emphasis on community. i consider myself a new conservative; that is, if we could live in isolated farm communities, as a community, i would do it, but since we live in the modern world, we have to make our communities with modern technology. this can be done and is actually quite easy. keep in mind here that "conservative" in the quaker sense is "conserving the traditional method of silent meeting / no pastor". as it happens, ministering to each other and carrying on without a pastor is the conservatives' idea, though it looked quite different in isolated farm communities than it does in modern FGC college-town gatherings. the state of quakerism is fractured that way; you have college-town gatherings, many of which are alive and well (including even las cruces), then, you have this network of traditional more rural meetings, that are dying out and going away, unless they figure out ways to get young people more involved.

finally, i believe that a meeting can function as well with online tools as it can with a live place, with walls, window, woodstove, or whatever meetinghouses have these days. now i'm not sure about this last one; i think we'll have to carry this out and see what happens, but i think it will be interesting to see how it pans out. i can assure you that it will be quite a bit different online, but not worse, not better, necessarily. it's harder to hug online. but it may make for a very cool reunion, if cloud quakers could gather once a year.

i will write more on this on the cloud quaker blog or on my own quaker site. Most of the time we use the Facebook site where i have also gathered a collection of good quaker graphics. join us! see the post above this, which is sure to have the necessary information.


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