Went to Quaker Business Meeting today to hear my letter for membership read. Technically it is called Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. And it begins and ends in silence.
I have had the membership packed in my home for many years. I have put off the process for some time. What prompted me now?
Well, in part I feel like I am getting my crap together enough to think about pulling together the membership materials. And I can stand to be around people enough to enjoy the process (since it involves other people... and at my lowest I could handle person, but not people).
Also, the fact that my oldest has begun to refer to himself as a Quaker. And that made me think that associate membership might mean something to him as well.
And it just seemed about dang time.
The clerk of the meeting likened becoming a member to becoming married.
I have been living with Quakerism for the last 10-some years. We have a committed relationship, Quakerism and I. I am not going anywhere.
But becoming a member of my meeting makes this relationship public. It is acknowledged by my faith community in a formal way. I will not be more a part of the community than I am now. In fact, the majority of people at business meeting assumed that I was a member of long-standing. Ha!
When I got married the minister asked if Spouse and I were living together. Yes. So why did we want to get married? This is the same kind of thing. Quakerism and I are living together. So why do I want to be a member?
I want to formally acknowledge my attachment to Quakerism as a whole and to my local meeting in specific. I have relaxed my standards of perfectionsim that I demand of myself as a member as well. It is the new kinder, gentler me.
Part of the reason I hesitated before was that I didn't regularly (or ever) attend business meeting. And I am not currently serving on a committee. And I didn't feel like a particularly "weighty" friend.
Mind you, I do not hold any other members or potential members to these same standards. And that is what I have realized is stupid. So perhaps it is the recognition of my persistent perfectionism and trying to live more in the middle that has prompted me to finally complete my membership packet.
Step one: write letter (done)
Step two: letter read at Business Meeting (done)
Step three: ministry and council does something mysterious including formation of a clearness committee (in process)
Quaker, teacher, parent,