[News flash: the Odyssey lives to tote us around for at least another year. We hope. Parts were replaced. Unless that recent, chugging noise when you turn on the ignition means something dire...]
Here's the real post:
A pastor at the Presbyterian church we attended a few years ago told me that he thought my interest in returning to the Quaker meeting of my youth had to do with authority: Quakers are anti-authority, he said. Since I had been abused by authority figures in my life, I was attracted to a place that didn't have leaders who, though perfectly fine men, made me feel threatened.
It's plausible, but I don't think it's accurate. I find it interesting that the pastor assumed that some pathology or trauma lay at the root of my interest in Quakerism. And did he think I found him threatening? I didn't.
Actually, it's quite simple. I needed silence. Church was full of talk and restlessness. Stand up. Sing a hymn. Sit down. Recite something. Listen to more talk. Go home, cogitate, and then tell someone what you got out of it. Oh, and keep talking to your kids to make sure they 'get it.'
In actual fact, there was nothing wrong with that church. It's a perfectly fine way to conduct worship. Cogito ergo sum. Which looks weirdly (to one who failed Latin) like "cogito is the sum."
For me, in that particular church, the talk was of an exhaustingly rational bent. My verbal and reasoning capacity is already on "hyperactive hyperdrive," to quote Buzz Lightyear. I get tired of walking around under my own head.
And as a fiction writer, it was beginning to dawn on me that words emerge from a well of silence. That deeper part of my mind needed nurturing. So I returned to Quakerism, which I had left behind in evangelical Christian zeal at age 19.
It's really that simple. But I was afraid to talk about it on the blog because of how I would have responded years ago, with all good motives, to anyone who appeared to be rejecting my version of Christianity.