Saturday, June 22, 2013

Solstice Retreat

I returned to the scene proclaiming "BS" to be OK, defending it.  That might have been a kind of ice breaker, but the conversation was already rolling.

I think I missed Michael's didj playing.  I'd retreated from the retreat earlier, after pizza arrived, to check on my family.  This was the Summer Solstice.  Wanderers acknowledge these astronomical days.

Glenn is a font of information about the "goal posts" (solstices), and the zig zag path of the Annalemma between them, the lines of the so-called tropics.  Many an ancient statue has these goal post arms.

Michelle's group had joined us.  Good to catch up.  Thanks also to Christine, Helen, David DiNucci.

I started reading about the history of Earlham College today, having invested in the book after my tour of the campus thanks to a student from Kazakstan:  Earlham College:  A History from 1847 to 1997 by Thomas D. Hamm.

Quakers were found to be subversive by grand juries in some states because of their stance against slavery from the late 1700s forward.  The position was nuanced in that some Quakers asserted the slavers' rights on the principle of church and state separation.

As long as the state said it was legal, who were these churches to say otherwise?  The War of Independence had been fought for a reason, one being to end the tyranny of church dogmas, be those the Church of England's or any other.

But the fact that Quakers had disowned any of their own who kept slaves, a painful enough process, gave them that "holier than thou" aspect that rubbed slaverholders the wrong way.  Plus everyone knew they encouraged escapees to continue north, rather than turn them in to the authorities.

Indianapolis to this day has that central monument to the Civil War, in which it fought on the side of the Union.  When Quakers started escaping the South, that future war was as yet prophesied (projected) by only a few.

The split between Orthodox and Hicksites was also still somewhat new, and was rending meetings.  The alchemy of these many splits and distillations is not that easily followed, with "Quaker guts" posters telling only part of that tale.

Too often, the tale of slavery gets divorced from the tale of Indian Wars.  Indiana was named that for a reason.

Helen, of Jewish heritage, had been quizzing me whether Quakers prayed aloud to God in meeting.

I explained about our silent worship format, and the fact that when Friends break the silence, as moved by the Spirit, they might use any number of formats or templates, including sometimes a spoken request of a singular deity, a form one might label "prayer".

A worship discussion, more like Sunday Morning Adult Discussion (SMAD) allows more in the way of direct commentary and feedback.

Unlike those training in Roman oratory, Friends do not have a direct debate format.  Himalayan schools apparently have this and it might be to our benefit to develop in this direction.  The say Quakers avoid confrontation sometimes to their detriment.

Also at the Wanderers retreat, we used Google Earth on my Android to circle Breitenbush Hot Springs and Detroit Lake.  Christine has helped clear a lot of trails around there, while another of us present had grown up in a dam-building family, like Glenn's did, his dad a chief engineer for the Detroit Lake dam.