Causes, Leadings and Membership

This week, for the Somerville Worship Group that I organize, I'm planning to make the folks who show up talk about their concerns and leadings. We as Friends tend to have causes and I want to make folks examine the language we use surrounding our causes.

For instance, I'm doing the Project Bread Walk for Hunger this weekend. It's a twenty mile walk supporting organizations that are fighting hunger in Massachusetts. I've raised a little over $500. This is something that I feel strongly enough to do, but I wouldn't consider it a leading. My urge to help the poor, in this instance, comes from me. I feel like this is something that I can do to support a good cause and so I'm doing it. It's not interfering with the things that God is asking me to do.

Being involved in my local Meeting, is however, something that God expects of me. Sometimes, like with the Somerville Worship Group, I feel perfectly at ease with. I was asked to cocordinate the group and while I worried a little about the amount of time it might take, I felt that familiar sense of rightness as I agreed. It has been a experience, so far, that is feeding me.

It's good that the Worship Group is feeding me, because some of the other things that I've taken on with the larger Meeting are challenging to me. I'm less sullen about being involved in the Meeting at this point, but I still feel as though being present in all the ways that I am present with this Meeting, (in worship, in committee meetings, etc) is difficult.

You see, my involvement with Friends Meeting at Cambridge is an obligation. Not in the sense that I feel that my spiritual life needs the grounding of regular attendance at Meeting for Worship, although I do. My obligation to THIS particular meeting, one that skews much farther to the liberal side of Friends that I am comfortable with, comes from a clear and distinct leading to minister to and be present with this community.

I've been feeling some niggling about where I hold membership and I feel really uncomfortable about it. I want to retain my memebership in my home Meeting, mostly because of its Conservative affiliation. I feel somewhat convicted that my hesitence to transfer my membership is coming from a place of pride in my Conservative roots. But the truth is, I still feel like an outsider at FMC. I may be doing something at the Meetinghouse about twice a week right now, but I still don't feel like a part of that community. I'm not sure exactly what would. But I know that if this niggling feeling about my membership presists, I'll move forward with the transfer, regardless of my pride and my feeling of disconnection, because what He wants is so much more important than what I want.

Elizabeth Bathurst

No comments: