Diversity at Mission Peak
We promote diversity in our congregation and in the wider community.
The Friends (Quakers)
My family history is Quakerism and I still attend Quaker meetings on occasion. My attendance and beliefs are compatible with my spiritual home at Mission Peak UU Congregation. Below are some of my personal experiences as a Quaker.
The fundamental Quaker belief is that there is a god in every person. I feel more comfortable saying every person is fundamentally good. Quakerism tends to be more liberal than not, but not too highly. My recollection is that Quakerism has a high rate of activism and a social/environmental responsible lifestyle. This is known as “simple living”, a basic tenant.
My greatest memories is the loving acceptance. As a child I recall not enjoying school much, feeling unaccepted. When I would go for weekend youth retreats, I felt completely comfortable and accepted, a relief of sorts to be with peers that I enjoyed.
I never fully attended a Quaker business meeting. However one notable thing I remember my parents saying is Quakers don’t vote, they work by unanimous decisions. Sometimes one Quaker might disagree, which would hold up a decision. Some might state they disagree but will step aside by recognizing the wisdom of everyone else.”
The Ramadan Fast
Ramadan is a month of fasting and of prayer, reflection and community, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran. Many of us have little experience with fasting, but I have been doing a modified fast during Ramadan for some years.
The traditional fast begins at about one hour before sunrise and ends at sunset. On the first of May, 2022 it began at 5:00AM, and ended at sunset which is just before 8:00PM. So drinking and eating are not done for 15 hours.
For myself ,I fast from the morning meal to the evening meal, Roughly 7AM to 6:30PM, around 11 hours. Given my age (66) and my health I believe I can experience the benefits of the fast with this shortened regimen.
What are the benefits of the fast?
Fasting is an opportunity to take on our inner “demons” or “bad qualities” (such as pride, greed, anger, and impatience) and to surrender instead to that which is greater than the self, to reflect on unity, and to find compassion for others. For many Muslims Ramadan is a time of putting others first and making donations to charity. What makes the Fast work is community. Charity, almsgiving, feeding the poor and the underprivileged are strongly enjoined during the month of Ramadan. My wife and I usually give a sizable donation to our local Milpitas Food Pantry or to Second Harvest Food Bank.
Good Religion is about transformation of the human heart. So we can take on the universal qualities of love, patience, justice, peacefulness. We separate from ourselves everything that divides us from our fellow human beings. Then I can be one with other lives, be one with myself and be one with the best that we can be.
That is my intention for the Fast of Ramadan.