I came to write a post about feeling foolish today. I searched bible gateway for verses about fools and frauds. I searched Google for ‘I feel like an imposter’ and found a surprising article about Imposterism. There is actually a word for it!
I’ve not written here much because I am feeling less and less like a Quaker these days. Even more so, in as my role as Treasurer of my local meeting I had to give some information about last year’s accounts. To be clear, I’m not an accountant and I’ve never done professional bookkeeping. I pretty much approach it as a household budget and only after a woman I respect convinced me to give it a go. After reporting at local meeting, I was asked ordinary accounting questions I didn’t know and was looked upon somewhat pitifully by the business people in the seats around me. Some even asked if I’d ever been told how to do accounts and I said no. Obviously mine were not the ‘usual’. I came away deflated and certainly feeling incompetent. I know they were being helpful. I know they were being kind. But that never helps when you feel incompetent.
But that’s not what makes me feel less a Quaker. What makes me feel less sympathetic to the Quaker way is the relentless political focus of British Quakers to the exclusion of spirituality and nourishing the Spirit at Quaker meetings. Sure, they talk about spirituality but even the atheists do that among them. I long for the days of what some would consider ‘too much Jesus’ because at least he would be mentioned and discussed! I follow Quaker Twitter accounts and see nothing but politics and wonder, Am I in a church or a political party? I know that some treat politics like their religion, but I have no confidence in politics to solve the world’s ills.
To me, the world is not spiritual enough. A personal and spiritual revolution needs to take place, not a political one. I am not an anarchist or a complete socialist. I see the good things in capitalism. I think personal responsibility goes a long way in preventing social ills. I believe in life as a precious thing making me consistently anti-death penalty and pro-life in all areas. Gay people should be treated just like everyone else, yet I am sick of hearing about everyone’s sexuality constantly in news and social media. Sexuality is no one’s business and it is certainly not part of my politics because I don’t define myself by my sexual preferences. Most horrifying of all, is that I am not a pacifist. The big P is the chief testimony among Quakers and I don’t believe in absolute pacifism. If it weren’t for violence in my life I would not be here now. You need to protect yourself and your life from those who would abuse it. I believe more in traditional marriage than I originally thought. So I can feel the Quaker house tumbling down around me. I have built a house on sand and not rock.
I suppose all of these views make me what some would call ‘conservative’ but I am so over labels, even religious ones. So, yes, is it any wonder I feel foolish and like a fraud in the British Quaker movement? Highly competent liberal people with whom I really have nothing in common. I feel more comfortable in a small town Baptist church while holding a few radical liberal ideas. But at least we sing hymns and read the bible and talk about Jesus. I did not feel foolish there or embarrass myself. I am up to that task and even shine a little. I’d rather be that big fish in a little pond.
So yes, I feel like an imposter. I’ve put on a Quaker suit too big for me.