Walkin' on the Fightin' Side of Me
If you don’t love it, leave it:
Let this song that I’m singing be a warning.
If you’re running down my my country, man,
You’re walking on the fighting side of me.
---Merle Haggard, 1970
Not exactly the most Quakerly song I know by heart.
But it’s basically how I feel about my meeting.
Over the last few years of conversation among Friends on the internet, I have learned a few things about myself as much as anything else. And one of the things I have learned is that I take criticism of my beloved community personally. It’s not rational, but you might as well insult my family. Me. My husband. My children. Most of my friends. They are all part of my meeting, you know. I take it personally.
I know we’re not perfect – I probably know more about our failings as a community than most people. It’s one of the hazards of being an in-between sort of person. I am certainly an expert on my own sins. I’m working on my beam, as much as I can.
I don’t care if you praise or criticize your own meeting/church/family, etc. It’s one of the valuable things about hearing about people in other communities with whom we share a connection. But don’t talk about mine if you’re not part of it. Or if you’ve visited once or twice. As if you know anything about us.
I continue to pray for the grace of patience, humility, forgiveness, perspective.
Lord, help us all.
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