How I became a Friend (Quaker)

I am purple in a sea of red and yellow.

A couple years ago I started a frantic, intense search for the meaning of life.  Before I started this search, at no point could I confidently state I believed in God much less accept the nature of the Trinity as I was taught it in the conventional church, yet I wanted to.  In the past, I was raised in the Unitarian Universalist church.  The Unitarian Universalist church is very accepting, but lacks a core scripture.  For me, I wanted to have a scripture for the reason that it provides some guidelines on how to live well.  I drifted from this church for many reasons, first of which was a desire to learn the principles encoded in scriptures such as the Bible (Christian), Qur’an (Muslim), Blue Cliff Record and Book of Serenity (Chan [Zen] Buddhist), Bhagavad Gita (Hindu), Tibetan Book of the Dead (Tibetan Buddhist), Tao Te Ching (Taoist) and Hebrew scriptures (Jewish).  I ended up studying each of these scriptures.  I started to read philosophy and theology to learn how to interpret the scriptures in our modern time.  Studying the writings of the logical positivists (Wittgenstein), phenomenologists (Heidegger), Nietzsche, Hegel, Descartes, Spinoza, Paul Tillich, and Derrida helped me construct an understanding of how to interpret scripture.  I worshiped with Muslims, Methodists, Catholic Workers, and Zen Buddhists.  Eventually, I realized I wanted to obtain a formal training in the study of religion.  Since the religion of my childhood was Christianity, I returned to it.  I applied to seminaries and got into to a couple.  I decided to come to Princeton Theological Seminary.  Some use the language, “God called me to seminary.”  I lacked the language to confidently say this until I learned about the Quaker idea of an “inner light” of God.  When I learned about this, I was happy and became very interested in becoming a Quaker.  I began to start learning about Quaker beliefs.  A principle of peace, a history of pacifism, faith through action, revelation over scriptural authority (continuous revelation), simplicity, nonclerical worship in silence, and an appreciating of the Bible while accepting others all contributed to my acceptance of this tradition.  For more insights into the principles of the Quakers please read this post.  A month ago I started to write this blog.  I wrote on topics that I cared deeply about.  Some times I was critical and took a radical stance of nonviolence.  I also learned I really care about religious tolerance.  Some times ethnic, national, and religious identities fuel conflicts.  I feel it is important to love each other in peace.  This is how I feel, I feel it is important for peace to exist in the Middle East, America, as well as the rest of the world by embracing pacifism.  Now that the seminary fall term is almost starting, I will reduce the output of blog posts and focuses on my classes.  However, from time to time, if scripture, ideas, and revelations emerge I will write a post.  I am happy that writing has revealed a path to a better life.  I have faith it will continue …

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About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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