Haiku on Personal Messages

Our New England gathering of Quaker meetings has a long recent history of what is called a popcorn meeting during adult worship. We gather in silence and after just a few moments, an adult Friend stands up with a message, then another, and another, and another, and another, and another with less and less space between messages. It got so bad last year that the teenagers left the meeting in protest then crafted a beautifully worded minute calling the adults to a deeper more centered worship.

Today’s worship was noticeably different–much quieter and thoughtful. No messages about pets for a change. At least four Friends pondered questions about if there is even a God. Good questions, but they reveal the spiritual dilemma (bankruptcy?) of many modern liberal Quakers who believe in almost anything and nothing in particular. The teens look at us confused–what do Quakers believe?

A few folks gave messages of a personal nature (self-centered sort of musings in a public worship space) which inspired one of my fellow Hartford Quakers, David Zevin to compose this haiku. (Read it aloud for the best results)

Haiku on Personal Messages

I I I I I
me me me me me me me
I I I I I

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Joe G. on August 7, 2006 at 3:16 am Reply

    Wonderful post, Peterson! I love the haiku.

  2. Srina on August 7, 2006 at 10:53 am Reply

    interesting. this post is in start contrast to the previous one (grinchy claus). i’m hoping that the adult meetings still provide you with that amazing and imperative space for your communion with god that you describe in the former.

    and, of course, the haiku is priceless.

  3. Peterson Toscano on August 7, 2006 at 11:35 am Reply

    srina, since I work with the teens, we spend little time with the adults. After the morning adult worship, we had amazing times with the Young Friends. In fact, our affinity group last night nearly never ended. The young people just wanted to continue to sit in silent worship holding each other in the Light.

    It is a strange contrast, but it cheers me to know that the teens’ witness is having an effect on the adults’ worship–even if there is much room to grow there.

    You know better than most the power of teens to revive our spirits (at the same time wearing us out 🙂

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