A friend asked me today about my parent's religion. Well, that wasn't exactly the question, but that is not exactly what I want to talk about. And the friend is also a Friend.
And it has been a journey. I was raised as nothing on purpose, with a cultural Christian bias. My dad was raised Church of God, which is a strict Pentecostal denomination fitting the stereotype of "holy roller." As a result, he was a firm believer in not pushing religion on kids. My mom was from a Baptist and Presbyterian background, but private about her personal beliefs. I attended both Church of God and Presbyterian when visiting Grandparents. Also as a child (with different friends and family) I visited Lutheran and Catholic services, joined in a family celebration of the first night of Hanukkah, and hung out with real live "60"s hippies.
As I grew into my own mind and choices a bit, I decided I was an atheist, then encountered God and became a "Jesus Freak" After we moved to Florida I tried baptist and did Seventh Day Adventist for about a year, until I decided God just wasn't working for me. Over the next decade I explored re-incarnation, Edgar Cayce, Theosophy, Buddhism, looked into Bahia a bit, almost got caught up in a cult, and spent a few years doing Unity. There were some other detours, so I also learned quite a bit about Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and reading tarot cards along the way.
I eventually returned to a brand of contemporary Christian with a charismatic flavor. Did that for a long time, despite some bumps, until finally I felt bumped out on my ass and it was a rough landing.
So, a couple of weeks ago another friend who is also a Friend asked me if I ever identify myself as a Quaker. And I had to admit that just earlier that week I had, in a bit of a joking way.
But here is the thing, in all my seeking and bumping around I have gotten a pretty clear picture of what I believe and how I want to express that in the world. Turns out it is pretty much like a Quaker. But I really don't know that I'm ready to take that as a label. It has been a pretty bumpy road to travel to here, and there is a part of me that is just waiting until I hit the next bump. I admit that I have a history that has learned to expect rejection, and I don't stay where I'm not wanted.
But it's OK, my Friends seem to be just fine with that.