Yearly Meeting Blues

Went to the open­ing of “Philadel­phia Year­ly Meeting’s”:http://www.pym.org annu­al ses­sions yes­ter­day. It’s hard to get too excit­ed about it. It was the same peo­ple talk­ing about the same issues. I real­ly like and respect so many in the year­ly meet­ing, but try as I might, I can nev­er imag­ine this group on _fire._ What would it mean for us to scrap our plans and agen­das to fol­low His?


Went to the open­ing of “Philadel­phia Year­ly Meeting’s”:http://www.pym.org annu­al ses­sions yes­ter­day. It’s hard to get too excit­ed about it. It was the same peo­ple talk­ing about the same issues. I real­ly like and respect so many in the year­ly meet­ing: the cur­rent clerk is always friend­ly and open to the spir­it and the gen­er­al sec­re­tary talks about all the right issues. But try as I might, I can nev­er imag­ine this group on _fire._ It’s always so focused on itself, its per­son­al­i­ties, its struc­tures. Over 99% of the year­ly meet­ing mem­bers weren’t there, are nev­er there. The great peo­ple still to be gath­ered aren’t inside that meet­ing­house wall.
For a year­ly meet­ing hop­ing that “community”:http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/archives/000264.php might be the glue that holds it togeth­er, I felt pret­ty out of place. There were maybe half-a-dozen peo­ple under forty in the room. Two had pre­sen­ta­tions but not sur­pris­ing­ly they were both the chil­dren of promi­nent par­ents, young adults whose last names had got­ten them to the podi­um. Both had been sent on trips as PYM rep­re­sen­ta­tives; smart mon­ey would bet that nei­ther attends a Meet­ing reg­u­lar­ly. It’s gen­uine­ly depress­ing to once again see token young adult chil­dren of promi­nent Friends held up as the future of Quak­erism, even if they’re unin­volved, even if they’re only semi-coherent. No one ever seems to notice that the “future” is eter­nal­ly twen­ty years old.
March 25 was not only the first day of PYM ses­sions. On the Catholic cal­en­dar, it’s the “Feast of the Annunciation”:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01542a.htm, the day the angel Gabriel vis­it­ed a teenage girl of undis­guished par­ents in a dusty cor­ner of the Roman empire to tell her she was to be the moth­er of God. Two thou­sand years ago the Word was made flesh and the son of God was con­ceived in a mir­a­cle. I skipped the evening ses­sion of PYM to join Julie at Mass. I need­ed some reli­gion. While Friends don’t mark our cal­en­dars we do share the sto­ry. When Gabriel told Mary ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” she respond­ed “Let it be done to me accord­ing to thy word,” despite know­ing her life plans and agen­das would be for­ev­er altered. Friends tes­ti­fy that “Jesus has come to teach the peo­ple him­sef.” What would it mean for us to scrap our plans and agen­das to fol­low His?

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