A Friend related that his neighbor lost her cat. This Friend was not at all fond of the cat, because it harassed the birds who came to his backyard feeder. Nevertheless, when the neighbor told him the cat was lost, he got in his truck and drove around the neighborhood looking for it. He realized, as he was driving, that even if he found the cat, he wouldn’t be able to retrieve it. He was sure the cat knew he didn’t like it, and certainly wouldn’t come when called. But he went on looking anyway, because his neighbor was upset and he wanted to help. Eventually he gave up. A couple of days later, his neighbor reported that she had found her cat. She thanked him and gave him a hug. He asked her what the hug was for and she said it was for trying. Often we lose sight of the fact that even when our efforts seem not to be fruitful, the effort itself is worth more than the achievement.
A Friend shared that “the least of my children” has been on his mind a lot lately, especially since it appears that one amongst our own community is homeless. What can one person do to make a difference? He found that he could at least give this homeless Friend some moral support and acknowledge his human dignity. The Friend said that he really doesn’t “like” homeless people, but when he thought about his feelings, he realized the thing he especially didn’t like was that the person was homeless. He pointed out that the most common reason for homelessness was a medical condition – perhaps an injury or an addiction that has been left untreated, or financial ruin brought about by the cost of treatment. Was there anything he could do about that? It seems a lot for one person to undertake, but the Friend was encouraged by remembering that even the biggest monsoon is made up of individual raindrops.
The first hour discussion of Three Cups of Tea scheduled for 9:30 AM 9/30/2009 has been cancelled.
We had a called meeting for worship to attend to one special item of business, on 8/23/09. After rise of meeting, we reconvened to discern what our first day structure should be. The ad hoc committee considering our first day structure proposed three possible changes to our existing structure. After deliberation, it was decided that we would, on trial basis, return to holding First Day School for children simultaneous with Meeting for Worship, which will begin at 10 AM. This new schedule will begin 9/13/2009. This decision will be re-examined in about six months time.
Since the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. has spent almost $225 billion and coalition forces have lost more than 1300 troops. In just the first six months of 2009, we killed more than 1,000 civilians. There is no end in sight.
Why are we still there? Are the people of Afghanistan any better off? Have women’s rights improved? Is the government stable? Are there better ways to spend our tax dollars? Is our military presence effective?
Carnegie Endowment’s Gilles Dorronsoro says: “The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the Taliban’s resurgence.”
What do you say?
Join Veterans For Peace for a screening and discussion of Brave New Films’ documentary, “Rethink Afghanistan” (http://rethinkafghanistan.com/) at 7 pm on Thursday, 8/27, at the North Asheville Library (1030 Merrimon Ave.). This full-length documentary about America’s escalating military involvement in the country provides expert opinions as well as troubling images as it answers many questions and raises others. Admission is free.
For more information call 626-2572
This week, in the hour prior to Meeting for Worship, we will continue our series of discussions on the book “Three Cups of Tea”. This week we will discuss how the book has inspired us. Queries for guidance:
* How has the book affected what you think, say, or do with regard to Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the religion of Islam?
* How has the book affected your beliefs or actions with regard to speaking truth to power?
* What actions have you been inspired to take, or felt supported in taking, as a result of reading the book?
The Southeast Energy Expo will take place at the Agricultural Center near the airport August 21-23. The agenda this year is “The ABC’s of Action: Agriculture, Buildings & Cars”.
At our monthly Meeting for Worship with attention to our Meeting’s business, Friends were very swift and sure in cutting off any further consideration of the proposal by AT&T to locate a communications structure on our property.
AT&T had approached our House and Grounds clerk about placing the structure on a 15×15 foot concrete slab near the entrance to our driveway, and had requested an essentially perpetual right to occupy that space and enjoy access to it, in exchange for $5000. When the matter was brought up at Meeting for Business, one Friend quickly rose to stand in the way, and listed a litany of reasons why the proposal did not resonate with our values as stewards of our property. Another Friend joined in standing in the way, while a third Friend who has long been active on House and Grounds Committee expressed grave reservations on both pragmatic and philosophical grounds.
The matter was quickly brought to a conclusion, with the Meeting united in opposing the proposal to locate this structure anywhere on our property.
An African lunch was held following Meeting for Worship last First Day, to give a bon voyage to Stephanie G, who is on her way to Tanzania next semester, and to raise awareness about – and money for – our College-Aged Friends Support Fund.
The lunch was very well attended, and the organizers and contributors provided a sumptuous feast featuring recipes from every part of Africa and authentic African music playing in the background, which was almost inaudible due to the numerous lively conversations and frequent laughter emanating from the half dozen tables crowded with attenders and visitors.
As serendipity would have it, among our visitors was a young woman who was attending a Friends Meeting for the first time, to pay homage to a friend of hers who had recently passed away, after having spent the last ten years of her life doing exactly the kind of work Stephanie intends to be doing once she graduates. We were also blessed with the presence of several longtime Friends who have been absent from our midst for some months or years.