Well, after four years I am back. I have written a lot during this time, and will post some of it in succeeding posts. From August, 2008, until May, 2011, I attended Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary in Richmond, Indiana, and received an M. Div. with an emphasis in writing. The program was intensive, varied, and, for the most part, really interesting. My goals at the start were (1) to study the greatest mystery we know about, (2) to learn writing within a non-competitive, non-gimmicky, say-what-you-mean-as-much-as-possible framework, and (3) to learn a lot more about liberal, unprogrammed Quakerism. I would say that I achieved (2), made progress on (1), and, to put it bluntly, lost interest in (3).
During the fall of 2011, throughout 2012 and much of 2013, I rejoined my Quaker Meeting, serving on committees, going to Yearly Meeting, serving as Recording Clerk, and teaching classes on Quakerism and on the Bible. I spent some time at Pendle Hill at an FGC consultation. I read more Quaker books and I transcribed many (over two hundred) pages of early Quaker writing from Early English Books Online. I came to the conclusion that, at least in my case, modern Quakerism has lost its convincement.
Between 2006 and 2011, I participated in a group that calls itself Sufi, learning Arabic prayers, going to dhikrs (chanting prayer sessions) and gatherings. Due to misconduct at the leadership levels, I left that group and approached another, more grounded, less doctrinaire Sufi group. (Yes, yes, these are my opinions...just settle down).
So now it is almost 2014. I am sixty-five years old, retired with a smallish, but workable income, relatively healthy (so far), and free to divest, to jettison baggage, baloney, and bullshit dreams. It feels pretty good.