Monday, February 24, 2014
Fallowness and Quaker Renewal: A Prairie?
So a friend and I were e-chatting the other day about spiritual dryness and renewal of the Quaker movement in the US and Canada. That’s not unusual. I talk with my friends about that a lot. In that conversation, I said, “I'm hoping we can till spiritual soil in ways that encourage deep sharing and drop seeds of new life in new places and in fields that have lain fallow perhaps.”
Fallow is concept that didn’t use to mean much to me. Especially when I lived in the city. But now that I’m on the farm and trying to get a tall grass prairie going, fallow is concept I can relate to. All winter I’ve been looking out my office window at the prairie covered in deep snow. Now, after our recent warm-up, the snow is gone. I walked through it the other day. It looks dead – grasses dry bent low, mud all around. Then one of my cats caught a mouse there. Hmmm, not exactly what I was hoping for, but still a sign of life.
So I’ve begun to understand the concept of fallow. The prairie went unseeded last year. Uncultivated. It is land at rest. It is waiting. The seeds planted two year ago have been at work putting down roots. Prairie grass is like that. It goes deep. Then it spreads. The results are rarely seen above ground for two or three years. The coming summer will be the third year since planting and cultivation. It should be the year that the grasses really take off. Life should abound.
As I also told my friend, it seems to me that many Quaker meetings are like a fallow prairie at rest. Their spiritual soil is not dead. It has just been quiescent, like a field out of production. Now it is ready to be tilled, planted, tended, and will spring forth with spiritual fruit.
Then my friend asked (she’s really good at questions), “So…
· tilling = ?
· planting = ?
· seeds of life = ?
· soil = ?
· deep soil = ?
· shallow soil = ?
· plants = ?
· fruit = ?
Indeed! What do those things equal for Friends today -- for the Quaker way which we love and want to share?