Thinking more about Max's article, or, Part B.
I agree with Max about spiritual community and about how true spiritual community helps us be faithful to the Inner Light, the Goddess Within. Held by true spiritual community, my spiritual life -- not to mention my ministry -- is one not of contraction, or of artificial growth, but one of expansion and natural growth, of ebb and flow, within the rhythms of nature and the cycle of the seasons. Held by true spiritual community, I have been able to do things I have been led to do, but couldn't otherwise do.
And yet I have been particularly aware again lately of a number of the ways in which both other Friends and other Pagans have asked me to make myself smaller, or have tried to make me smaller, or have asked or demanded that I be unfaithful, so that they might be less uncomfortable, less disturbed, by my life or my witness or the truth of my experience. Not just ordinary folks I come across in a given day or week or First Day or committee service or Gathering -- but folks whose "job" it is, as a Friend, friend, co-religionist, or co-clergy member, to help me be faithful to myself and to what the Goddess is asking of me. Folks with whom I am in spiritual community.
So I am living very much in the awareness right now of the both/and of spiritual community -- of how good spiritual community can indeed help me be more a more faithful Quaker and Witch, and also of how poor spiritual community not only makes it harder for me to be a faithful Quaker and Witch, but actively inhibits me from doing so.
When we ask each other to be unfaithful because another's faithfulness makes us uncomfortable, we diminish ourselves. We diminish our own relationships with ourselves and the Divine within us. We diminish our own integrity. We diminish our ability to be in relationship with the Divine with each other -- spiritual communion and spiritual community. We weaken our Meetings, our circles, our Covens, and our larger spiritual communities. We weaken our ability to build and participate in interfaith groups and dialogue. We weaken community, small and larger.
We create an injury to the spiritbody of the Sacred.