A Friend After 50 Years

A record of one journey into a peculiar type of Quaker Christianity, and a bit of silliness to boot.

Location: Arkansas

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Self Will / God's Will

Could it be that at bottom, human will is the same as God's? I don't mean that God wants me to do everything that catches my fancy. But what if my everyday wants are proxies for what I really want? Maybe I don't believe that I can achieve what I really want -- or maybe I'm not even clear on what that is. Suppose that's why, whenever we do get what we "want," the satisfaction is fleeting? Perhaps our heart's desire lies at the very heart of our desire. What if we looked there? And patiently listened?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Let's just be quiet and talk

In my meeting, we have very little vocal ministry. Usually the hour is completely silent. But once the hour is over, it seems we immediately break into conversation, jokes, discussions of business, and announcements as if nothing significant had just happened. I usually feel the need for some sort of transition, at least.

I read a passage by William Penn recently in which he said that Friends used few words. It seems to me that today Friends could benefit from adhering more to Penn's description (was that diplomatic enough? :) On the other hand, a hopeful sign for our meeting: our clerk announced that many Friends had told her that they want our Meeting for Business to be more worshipful. And last Sunday it was: not entirely, as we're all (myself included) in the habit of speaking without being recognized and engaging in cross-talk, but it was an improvement.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Subvocal ministry

Words that almost rose to the level of vocal ministry during meeting for worship, but for (1) obedience to the spirit or (2) disobedience to the spirit, did not:

When the lion lies down with the lamb in our own hearts, then we will be peace-makers in this world.

This is the holy moment.

We'll do the right thing when we understand.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Deepening liberality

Some blogging liberal Friends describe themselves using some iteration of "conservative", e.g. "conservative leaning" or some such combination. Conservative in this sense refers more to the religious realm than the political. Reading their posts, I am often in sympathy with the desire for deeper and more authentic spirituality. However, without getting to hung up on terminology, I prefer to think of my own quest as "deepening liberality." With all the beatings "liberalism" is taking these days, I guess I want to stand up for it and assert its essential seriousness, and yes, even morality. On the other hand, the deeper we go, the more we find the essential unity. I guess when you get right down to it, I don't see a conflict between true conservatism and the liberal spirit. Its unfortunate that these terms get frozen into stereotypical notions.

'What can I do?' - SiCKO