37 Comments

I am a professor. The university I serve was a Quaker institution when I arrived twenty some years ago. Silence was a valued discipline. Today, I receive the same training and discipline in a small group of lay Benedictines. The value of being still, being silent, reflecting first is foreign to me and is one of the most necessary disciplines in my life. Thank you for reminding me of the origin. For allowing me to forgive myself for those times when I simply spoke too soon.

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a most beautiful interpretation of Transfiguration by Diana he quoted poets.

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Recent years have taught me how important it is to know one's narrative of belief, so that we can listen with patience to those with whom we disagree, question civilly with an openness to change our minds, but to stay engaged... Thank you for helping us do that through your insights. I really appreciate your book, "Christianity After Religion".

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I just reread this message and I am comforted by them…

I am saddened by the number of people in my various circles who are afraid to speak these days….about anything that has to do with social justice…something has some is us on mute..God help all of us..

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These words are filled with transformation and worth reading over and over in silence. Thank you, Diana.

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Thank you, I know about waiting and reflecting in order to speak. I have heard sermons and read books that were put out there too soon. Preaching is enough of a challenge. We need to be sure we "process" what it is we are trying to share. As a woman, being "silenced" has been a part of the territory. I am learning through my writing that I can see what I want to say after I read what I wrote, and then revise! I am looking forward to Lent with you.

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Marge Piercy's "Unlearning to Not Speak" really stuck with me this morning. I have learned to speak my mind at board and committee meetings over the years, as have many of my friends. As we are dealing with Boards and Committees mostly composed of men we find our input usually dismissed in favor of what they want done. Reading what we are "considered to be good for" in this piece only reinforces what is going on in the real world.

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I love that the last three weeks have all been about silence, keeping quiet, secrets, and mystery.

It is a fascinating switch up in the Epiphany lectionary. From blazing light to glory hidden. All of it reinforces my deep passion about Epiphany. I'm convinced that it is the most poetic of all church seasons.

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I echo Judy Durff that this is one of your best. And I believe that your writing here could be paired with the instruction in Corinthians I on intellectual humility. In speaking up, or speaking "for" our own understanding of God, we must be exquisitely careful not to sound as if we are speaking "as" [in the place of] God. Speaking and writing with intellectual humility comforts, connects and heals. Speaking and writing without such humility wounds and separates, as you pointed out.

I find it ironic that the best description I have yet read of the transfiguration of all creation was written by a naturalist, Edwin Muir, who surely was also a mystic.

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When I read your sentence "Knowing when to speak and when not to speak takes practice; it is a spiritual skill learned over time.", a saying from one of the old schools of Japanese swordwork came immediately to mind:

"The difference between the living and the dead is the timing."

Over the course of my life I've learned the truth of those words/your words.

The Capon quote is wonderful! What is the source of that?

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I was shocked awake by the spelling of “womb-man” in the poem above! That led to a series of thoughts and revelations about choices I made in my life. I was born in 1947. By the time I grew into womanhood, I had never encountered that spelling of the word. I made choices based on my understanding of the word “woman.” Looking back now, I realize so many of my choices came from a subterranean refusal to comply with my era’s agreement of what it means to be a woman. Fortunately, I encountered mentors, books and friends who helped me figure my way through it. Each of the women of my generation has had their own struggle to make sense of themselves in an era of Patriarchy.

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One of your best. Thank you.

j durff

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As I read this, I’m thinking of my own tired spirit in the midst of hearing all the political news surrounding tRump and Biden - and the words being used for political transfiguration. It’s ugly. I can’t find the blessing in any of it. So, I turn inward and seek personal transformation. I’m eager for your Lenten journey focusing on the cross - a symbol I’ve come to avoid. I like to say I’m a “Fishes and Loaves” christian. On earth as it is in heaven.

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Lots of wisdom in that post and in the comments - thank you!

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How difficult silence has become. In my work silence and observation were my tool kit. Now, as life draw close to the final curtain, fear does not keep me quiet but rather for ever expressing in anger these final times with no answers. Our culture does not allow for the elders to go quietly into that good night. We rage at the lack of caring, the loss of monetary support that medicine drains from us, the sadness of family torn apart. Thank you again Diana for brings be back the necessity of silence. Only with The Beloved do I have a chance to relearn to be still.

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I am grateful for the wise words about waiting before writing about a meaningful experience. I learned early on to be quiet. But over the last couple of years I have felt the urge to speak, write. I am not sure how to start. But your words today inspire me to keep trying, and begin with what I have learned and experienced a while back. Thanks!

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