Wednesday, August 24, 2005

First steps

This is all very new to me and I'm doing a little bit at a time, so expect more on my profile and more here a step at a time.
I've been inspired to do this by Quaker Ranter and others. I keep a journal for myself and have written regularly for more than 20 years. I have also worked in the field of spiritual autobiography for a very long time and have tried by writing and giving workshops to encourage people to write their own. Of course that means I've also been trying to write one myself, but it's a slow process. The title of this blog is the title of my spiritual autobiography. It's the refrain of a hymn which I heard on the radio by chance and it was just right. If anybody out there knows the rest of the hymn or where to find it I'd really like to hear from them.
My book on spiritual autobiography is called Turning Inside Out and that's what I hope this blog will help me to do - to stop being quite so introverted and talk to people about what's going on inside.
That's enough for now. I'll be back


Martin Kelley said...

Hi Gil,
Very cool. It's humbling indeed to be listed as an inspiration, as the example of your years of publishing to be quite inspirational. It's nice to know another Friend straddling the line between print and electrons.

I don't know if you noticed that I just put up a post on my blog about reading the old Quaker journals (inspired by Howard Brinton's book of that name). One of the questions left hanging is whether the era of journals is over. Why do we not have any great modern journals? (Why don't we have one from Brinton himself?).

When you presented at QUIP this April, you mentioned the mystery "Stepping Stones" hymn then and I did my darndest to try to find it, to no avail. I just tried again and found this listed on a few sites. They all say "Source Unknown." I'm not even sure if it's a hymn but it sounds like it could be. Does this sound like familiar text?

Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones

Does God ever use black angels
To carry out His plan
Does He reverse old Satan’s tactic
To change the lives of men.

I think He takes the happenings
Of life—amid our moans
And makes to us each thing we meet
Stumbling blocks or stepping stones.

I think He takes each pathway blockage
To test our mettle: be it foul or fair
And urges us to fight a good fight
And not as one who beat the air.

So if something happens to deter us
Let’s not fall down and groan
Let’s say - Lord with your help I will go on
And make of this—a stepping stone.

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David Bridger said...

Welcome to the world of blog, Gil. I'm a newcomer too, and I'm most impressed with the speed at which I've "met" other bloggers with similar interests.

I'm also a newcomer to the field of spiritual autobiography. I will seek out Turning Inside Out and I look forward to following your blog.


Gil Skidmore said...

Thanks for the encouragement Martin and for the stumbling blocks poem. I don't think it is what I am looking for as I definitely remember a repeated refrain but it's great anyway and I shall add it to my commonplace book [handwritten!]

Yes I had noticed that you had a post on Brinton's journals although I haven't yet read it in detail. Much of my spiritual autobiography work has been directed towards trying to get people now to continue the tradition - with limited effect, at least in the UK! But I think that there are great modern journals - Arthur O Roberts Drawn by the Light for example, Jo Farrow's The World in My Heart and Emilia Fogelklou's writings.

Thanks to David too. It's great to get positive feedback and I will continue to read what you have to say.

Liz Opp said...

A quick note to chime in and say Welcome to the Quaker Blogosphere. There's lots to read and lots to write, so take your time...

Liz, The Good Raised Up

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