Tag Archives: George Fox

Ecumenical Monday

Mondays are my least restful, least peaceful day of the week.  I hit the ground running when I wake up, and by the time I put in my work day at one job, take my daughter to her cello lesson and my son to Cub Scouts, get home at 8 p.m. and wrestle them through homework and baths and stories and tooth-brushing, and then spend another couple of hours dealing with emails from all three jobs while I’m pushing the laundry through as fast as possible …

… well, I don’t even get to sit down without working until about 11:30 p.m., and quiet restful meditation is a fast-fading memory.

So I think that on Mondays I’m just going to roll with it.  My gradual exit from the fenced world of conservative American evangelicalism has given me the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, a few non-Baptists (and dare I think some non-Christians?) might have some darn good insights on faith.  Instead of bashing my tired head against my Kindle trying to get all inspired by George Fox and Hannah Whitall Smith and other people in interesting hats, I’m going to write about something from another faith tradition or lack thereof (including, like today, morally-questionable motorcycle-riding lunacy).  Today’s thought comes to you courtesy of novelist Erika Lopez, who was – entirely coincidentally – raised by a pair of lesbian Quakers:

“We all want to be remembered but we’re not going to be.  Even Bette Midler and Zsa Zsa Gabor will rot and eventually become obsolete like some sort of movie star during the Egyptian age.  And if you do happen to become remembered, you will only become chipped stone with pigeon s*** all over you like a statue of Marcus Aurelius.  No one will remember how good your chicken was or that your house smelled like strawberry incense or throw up.  None of that will matter.

No one has any pull, and I realize no one’s opinion of anything really matters more than yours until they figure out how to stay alive forever.”

There’s probably something slightly wrong with me that I find this thought so comforting.

Go To Sleep, Brain!

Be still and cool
in thy own mind and spirit
from thy own thoughts,
and…thou mayest receive
God’s strength to allay
all blusterings, storms, and tempests.
                 — George Fox, 1658

At 9:30 on a Tuesday morning when the kids are at school, I don’t have to be at work for a couple more hours, and I’m savoring the quietness in my rocking chair with a cup of tea, I ROCK at being still and cool.  When it’s almost midnight and my brain’s keeping me awake, not so much.

The blusterings, storms and tempests are no joke.  Everybody’s got some version of them, and they come and go with distressing regularity.  But I think it’s telling that Fox starts out with the encouragement to be still and cool “from thy own mind.”  Not in thy mind, from thy mind. The worst noise comes from inside, not outside.

I can pretty much order anything else I want at midnight.  I can get pizza delivered.  I can order a Princess Leia costume on Ebay.  I can sit right in my own room and pick up a handheld battery-powered device and access THE ENTIRE INTERNET, including pulling up any episode of the original series of Star Trek to watch it in the middle of the night.  Google’s not helping me out here, though … I need stillness on demand!