Monday, January 18, 2010


I was glad to spend the $2 for a bottomless cup of coffee at Urban Grind. I listened intently to Martin Luther King's speech about the war in Indochina, though I was not able to hear every word.

I also studied The Oregonian, reading stories about Haiti, where the situation is grim.

Yesterday evening, four members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints showed up at my door, by prearrangement. I'd been studying their literature while chatting on the porch in the winter cold, comparing notes regarding our respective practices.

I'd invited them in to chat further, but as these were three young women, they needed a supervisor, unless I happened to have an older woman in my household, to serve as a chaperon.

Only my daughter was present, so they demurred, but resolved to return with an appropriate person.

As it happened, our live-in student was present this time, and so a chaperon was not strictly necessary (she studies the homeless situation in Portland and cooks meals -- a work/study arrangement).

Nevertheless, I was pleased to meet with this larger team. We sat around my dining room table for friendly conversation. Their supervisor had a Quaker background and, like the lead spokeswoman, was from Pennsylvania. We found other common ground as well.

We shared for approximately 10 minutes in each direction, followed by another 10 minutes of give and take. I had some AFSC literature on the table, and explained how Quakers, being a tiny sect, only manage to accomplish their business in this world by forming allegiances with non-Quakers who might experience similar leadings.

Our cook went off to get her Bible. Although more of a Buddhist, she went right to a quote in Revelations that she knew some Christians used to damn others, including Mormons. Our experienced visitors were not phased, having heard this quote many times.

I was impressed by this exchange, as I'm mostly ignorant where the The Book of Revelations is concerned. That particular book is not much emphasized in most the meetings I attend, even if they're Bible-focused.

My visitors and I did manage to agree on the doctrine of continuing revelation. We expect more prophets will be showing us a way forward, guided by whatever leadings, answering whatever callings. Indeed, we have many such leaders among us today.

I regard MLK as such a prophet, a latter day saint. That being said, I recognize MLK Day as a secular holiday more than a religious one. He championed civil rights and civil liberties, held dear by many religions, philosophies and ideologies.