I have this little old book of scripture readings called the Daily Word, and it's kind of odd, since whoever put it together mixed and matched verses even within a sentence. Anyway, I liked the language from this reading about eating the word; it's beautiful and kinda sexy. Or is that just me?
For the Geez food issue, we discussed including a photo of carrots, but decided against it. Recently I was washing up some carrots from the community garden and decided to go ahead and take a picture of them. They have a lot more personality than the uniform carrots at the grocery store.
I took these detail shots of some old train cars parked on the tracks near my home. Finding textures and colors like this make me think I'd never take the time to actually paint an abstract painting, since they are out there just waiting for me to find them and take a picture of them.
Religious groups often form different factions and split into two groups, which then split, etc., etc. This happens to Quakers as much as any other group, but Quaker factions wouldn't change their name when they split. So now we have all sorts of groups believing all sorts of things, all calling themselves Quakers. Therefore finding a group of Quakers who all believe in all the things in this particular list of Quakerisms might be difficult.
Ah, Quaker simplicity; it brings to mind plain gray clothes, carriages, funny beards... or is that the Amish? Anyway, simplicity of life for Quakers is not in itself the goal. Rather, simplicity of life results from the actual goal: having lives which are focused on Christ. This focus on loving and serving God (and thus loving and serving others) results in lives that are free from insatiable hunger for possessions and power and external beauty and entertainment and...
Peace we've already discussed. Quiet is another peculiarity of Quakers. A Quaker church service has a period of"unprogrammed worship" that will last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. This is a time of silence, broken occasionally as a person feels led to speak. The quiet itself is not empty; it is a time of meditation, and is a time to attend to and listen for the voice of God. Plus in this day of noise and information overload, a little quiet is refreshing.
Quakers originally rejected rituals and symbols as a reaction against the 17th century Church of England, which had become full of ritual and empty of real meaning. Therefore Quakers abandoned water baptism and communion, saying that only real baptism in God's spirit and actual, ongoing communion in God mattered. Of course for many Christians these rituals are very meaningful, representing the inward changes which Quakers believe in. So the rejection of rituals wouldn't be a positive change for everyone.
Wow, how mystical! In Quaker terminology the "light within" is the capacity all people have to respond to God working within them. Quakers tend to look for the good in others. This leads to a more compassionate and less judgmental attitude towards people. Quakers encourage others to look to the light of Christ to change them inwardly (a change that will affect their outward behavior), rather than attacking them for immoral actions.
Quakers have a history of working for the rights of the downtrodden. They were one of the first groups to be convinced of the wrongness of slavery and were active in the underground railroad. They were early proponents of women's rights, including the right to preach. They have been instrumental in prison reform and in the improved care and understanding of the mentally ill. Aren't those Quakers great? Let's give them a big hand, folks!
Quakers are pacifists. They believe that fighting violence with violence is wrong. They believe that human life is sacred - no exceptions. The pacifism of many Quakers is very active: they're peacemakers, and work for peace using nonviolent resistance and other methods, methods that halt the spiral of violence rather than perpetuate it.
One of the oddities of Quakers is their refusal to swear. Not swear as in cuss words, swear as in "I solemnly swear to tell the whole truth..." Odd as this sounds, it's based on a simple premise: Christians shouldn't lie. When someone has to swear to tell the truth, it implies that the person doesn't always tell the truth. Quakers strive to be truthful always, so swearing a special oath is not needed.
Okay, so that doesn't sound like the world would be a better place - everyone preaching and no one listening. But that's not what Quakers mean; they mean every Christian is called to be a minister, to minister to the needs of a very needy world. Having a bunch of people helping meet the needs of those around us sounds a lot better than a bunch of preachers, huh?
The official name of Quakers is "the Religious Society of Friends;" the name Friends comes from Jesus' statement to his disciples that "I have called you Friends..." The kind of close personal relationship reflected in the word "friend" is the kind of relationship Quakers seek to have with Jesus.
That's because Quakers are pretty inclusive of other traditions. They tend to look for common ground rather than differences. They tend to focus on essentials rather than peripherals. So they wouldn't necessarily wish that everyone else was a Quaker.
A little booklet I wrote, illustrated and designed called Ten Reasons the World Would be a Better Place if Everyone was a Quaker (subtitled A Paltry Primer of Quakerism). I sent it out as an illustration self-promo piece. I'll post all ten reasons in the coming days.
Another old drawing around a postage stamp, this one featuring Charles Evans Hughes. This drawing comments on the fact that people are famous enough to get on a postage stamp at some point, but no one remembers who they are several decades later. Click to enlarge.
This image accompanied one of several music experiments in Geez 11. For this experiment, a pop song formula was given to a couple of musicians, and they each wrote a song following the formula. You can listen to their songs and check out the other music experiments here.
Geez 11 is the music issue, and for the section divider pages we used records, tapes etc. to indicate the new sections, with article titles as song titles. For the bottom spread I got to crush and crucify some iPod earbuds. From the accompanying story by Will Braun: "By turning off as many outer and inner distractions as possible, one can create space within, a space into which the needs of the world can be received, and a space from which one can respond with something deeper than momentary hype, easy anger or overly busy activism."