Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
[From Brian Martin's World Conference observations]
"Another big difference was the expectations for worship. For me and other Friends who practice waiting worship, the lack of silence was difficult. When the conference as a whole tried to practice waiting worship, it was unusual for there to be more than two to three minutes of silence between the giving of testimony. I have little doubt that Friends who practice programmed worship found waiting worship a little strange and difficult. One of the speakers, Carmela Lao from the Philippines said something that really illustrated what it was like for them. She said something to the effect of ‘We are like rock stars, we don’t hold it in or bottle it up inside, we dance and sing the word out, and share it openly.’ So here is illustrated how programmed Friends, and outsiders in general might misperceive unprogrammed waiting worship. Speaking for myself, the silence serves as a way to discern what God wants me to know or do right now, and to give it enough room and time to try to determine if it is coming from God/the Light within me, or if it is just coming from somewhere else within me. Once I have the clarity that it is from God, action needs to, and does often follow. I will admit, though, that truly following a leading once I have one is still difficult for me. To have 100 percent commitment and trust is still hard for me. Because there was never an opportunity to become fully spiritually settled in worship, a few of us from unprogrammed meetings felt the need for some serious silent worship, and so one of us set up a scheduled time each day to truly sit in silence together."
Is anyone else wondering?-- Could Lao's perspective here be equally valid, perhaps more so? Does our practice 'bottle it up' until our Meetings run too dry?
I agree with your question. Lao's words to me sounded like a good thing -- all except the language "rock star". It's an odd quote from her that leaves me unsure whether she actually was saying this as a negative about not bottling up, or as a positive.
If she is saying this as a negative, it seems to suggest that:
-- it's better to bottle things up, and that
-- the alternative to bottling things up is to be like a "rock star" (which sounds pretty self-focused/narcissistic), not God-focused.
Instead my own impression is that when people stop bottling things up, God happens. And what kind of faith is it anyway that believes that God wants one's truth bottled up? A very faithless faith I think.
Sometimes there are the fundamental differences between Liberals and Evangelicals (not talking Quakers specifically, but society in general) in which the Evangelicals hold some focused belief that we are sinful at our core, and the Liberals, intent on Liberation for all of our Souls here and now, can believe that at our core we are Holy....that what is in us can be trusted. If Lao is of the more Evangelical (or at least programmed) persuasion, maybe she doesn't realize that Holiness can be the result of letting go (even of self) and letting God...and that the result can be trusted.
(I'm such a lefty Liberal Christian! It's so exciting that way! )
She isn't, for one thing, saying that anyone should be a 'star' in the sense of self-importance, etc., those 'bad' connotations that we readily think of, about having the ambition of overshadowing so many others bound to lose out in the scramble for that kind of 'success'.
What I think she's talking about is the willingness to get up before the world and carry out whatever inspiration God has put in your hands. Not to covet that role, but to carry it out with grace and gratitude.
Because, in those moments, you're out there without any visible means of support; and you have to fly on that...
I'll have to try to reconstruct that poem...
On a Line From Rumi
with a knife!" Don't hesitate
when you know
it is God's truth you are given;
proclaim it! Don't be humble;
you can't possibly
be humble enough!
has need of a donkey,
the child of a donkey.
I am baffled as to how to interpret the original post then -- and according to your sense of it I must have missed the author's intended tone. But I did enjoy Lou's sentiment and yours as well, via the donkey poem. [though speaking truth the power(s) within us doesn't make you an ass.... :-) ]
"Instead my own impression is that when people stop bottling things up, God happens. And what kind of faith is it anyway that believes that God wants one's truth bottled up? A very faithless faith I think."
I think you interpreted it just right, then! But didn't think she was saying that?
No -- It must have been the author of the paragraph that quoted Lou -- not Lou herself. That must be where my confusion lay -- but I'm fine now since we're only talking about viewpoints of Lou and you and I!