The name T is encompassing of all my other names. As an agender person, I currently prefer to be called T (my preferred pronouns are ne/nem/nir). I’m a convinced Quaker and member of Third Haven Monthly Meeting. I am also a Buddhist: I formally took my Buddhist Refuge, Bodhisattva, and Precept vows on July 21, 2010 and was given the dharma name Tenzing Chödrön (“Truth light holder of the teachings”) by Easton Meditation Group. I take both of my religions seriously and try to live up to the ideals of both Quakerism and Buddhism. I find that the practices of Buddhism help me to better follow Jesus’s teachings; that meditation practice allows me to better discern a true Leading of the Spirit from a “leading” of my ego; that the Quaker Testimonies of Equality, Simplicity, Peace, and Integrity work well and are aided by the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path; that the traditional Quaker doctrine of perfection and the Buddhist belief that anyone can become enlightened rest upon a fundamental optimism about the human condition that appeals to me; overall, that I would be dishonest were I to deny either of these religions that are so central to my faith.
Sometimes, it is the New Testament that speaks to my condition. Sometimes, it is the writings of early or contemporary Quakers. Sometimes, it is meditation or the Tibetan Buddhist practice of tonglen that opens me up spiritually and allows me to grow. I was also raised Catholic, and that has remained influential to my faith today. Theologically, my faith probably falls within the ideas of panentheism.
My sexuality (bisexual) has encouraged me to question duality. My disabilities (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and autoimmune pancreatitis) have been instrumental in forcing me to not take anything for granted and in constantly discerning what is truly important in my life (and what isn’t). I am also transgender and identify as agender. (Preferred pronouns: ne/nem/nir) My ethnicity (half Armenian-Lebanese) shows me that life doesn’t always need to be quiet to be wonderful: that music, food, and dancing are best enjoyed in the moment. I’m a member of the board of directors at Chesapeake Cats and Dogs and have a special affinity with cats that often inspires me.
I seek to see that of God in everyone, everything, and every activity. I strive not to take any moment of my life for granted. I try to treat every person with respect, grace, and love. I believe the best way to live is in the moment, for there is no other time available to us. I attempt to do whatever I can to end suffering, both in myself and others. I pray to God every night, as I have for years, though my concept of God has changed since I began this tradition. I value the Bible for its insights, but do not take it literally. My favorite books in the Bible are Ecclesiastes and the Epistle of James.
In the beginning, I wrote in this blog daily, as a daily reminder to me to focus more on my faith. Then, I wrote in this blog only as I felt called to do so, though I tried to write a couple times a week. This blog at that time became another form of ministry for me (written instead of vocal) and, like in Meeting for Worship, I tried only to share when I was being called to do so. Now, I am uncertain of this blog’s purpose, but I would like to be more open, honest, and active. I do struggle with my faith and would like to start sharing some of those struggles instead of writing only when I feel called to do so.