Thursday, March 16, 2006

Meeting with Alice

Alert and thorough readers of this blog may have noted that Alice had suggested that we get together while I'm in the U.K. and meet each other in person.

So, I just wanted to report that we did meet yesterday and had the most wonderful conversation. We shared a little about our respective research projects; we talked about the current state of Quakerism; we talked about the state of today's world, and tried to find ways to be hopeful. We talked about the power of prayer, and the great spiritual interconnectedness of all of life.

And, when someone marveled at our having met through the Internet, we later talked further about that, and realized that the Quaker blogging world allows us to find a kind of supportive community that gives us nurturance but allows us each to remain living in our own local areas. So instead of finding support by setting up communities that are located in specific places and may be a bit set apart from the rest of the world, we remain lightly sprinkled over all the earth, each trying to nurture the goodness in our own respective small corners of the planet. When we feel alone and isolated, we can turn to the Quaker blog world for inspiration, encouragement, and support, but then turn back to the part of the world we happen to live in and renew our efforts there to have a positive transformative effect.

Early Quakers spoke a lot about being "in the world, but not of it." The Internet provides new ways of building new kinds of community that help us to live this out.

Still, it is wonderful to have occasions to meet in person as well. I found our time together yesterday to be tremendously inspiring.

And there is still an important role for those communities that are set apart from the normal patterns of their surrounding mainstream culture. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity myself now to be in such a community. I meet wonderful people and have amazing conversations, and in all of this, I feel like I am absorbing a magical renewing energy.

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