Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
In John Punshon's _Encounter With Silence_, he says that being distracted by questions of ritual can easily be explained "if we view the central theme of the Bible as resistance to revelation."
In that sense, the modern prevalence of "nontheism" among Friends becomes merely another example.
Sometimes, certainly, 'Nontheism' is merely refusal to endorse misleading images of God. But I also see this, in some people, as a strong resistance against recognizing any truth in descriptions of the universe as the voluntary ongoing functioning of a conscious, powerful, loving sentience.
There was certainly a time in my life when I didn't view such a model of life as even possible. But I did want it to be true, and increasingly found God's influence on my life to be as incredibly loving and forgiving as Jesus said.
But sometimes I get the impression we've got people who'd rather die -- than wake up in Heaven and find out they'd been wrong. Maybe they're just too much afraid of the disappointment if they ever let themselves hope that God is real; I really don't know. But certainly they don't want to talk about it.
And since unprogrammed Quaker worship doesn't demand the willingness to cop to nuthin, liberal Meetings provide a comfortable environment for people taking that stance.
But since any hope for this world, viewed as a closed system of the secular processes we see at work around us -- can have at best a probability of roughly a snowball unit -- what could a religious society without religion have to say to anyone outside our own comfortable circles?
Forrest who?? Yes, I've heard of him, that boat rocker!!
Good Post! Will be in touch later.
If by the word "God" you mean imminent or inherent Presence itself in itself established in the conscious and conscience of each human being? ... then yes God is absolutely real. I have witnessed the great power of this Presence over the past four months as I gave witness to this different way of Being as the foundation of meaning, purpose, and identity. In this Presence, we wake up in Heaven every single moment of every single day.
Well, that is certainly a way in which God can be experienced -- but what can you conclude about the nature of this Presence and what it does aside from being present in you?
This spring and summer I have been testifying to the sufficiency of imminent Presence as a different way of being on this earth without regard to political and religious institutions, ideologies, theologies, ways, and practices. It happens that it became my habit to give this testimony in the context of political rallies and demonstrations in various locations and some churches. I shared that the essence or nature of this experience is the anchoring of meaning, purpose, and identity anchored in Presence itself in itself; so that, for example, outward political and religious ideologies and institutions no longer anchor and inform our conscious and conscience.
It is a surreal experience to share this testimony with someone carrying a Black Lives Matter banner or with a Trump supporter at one of his rallies or in a Church. (By the way, I have not had the strength yet to stand up in the middle of a sermon and offer to the congregation that there is another way from what their pastor is professing. However, the day is coming when I shall.) I mean, honestly, most of them look at you like you are crazy. However, some of them are open. They become engaged and curious. I have been asked: "You mean to say purpose, meaning, and identity is possible outside the context of outward politics, religion, civics, and society?" I answered: "Yes, I mean to say." So many people's very identity, meaning, conscious, and conscience are shaped in the context of outwardly given political and religious forms, practices, traditions, ideologies, theologies, and practice, that their inward eye is blinded. Some, just upon the hearing of another source of meaning, purpose, and identity that is not of the nature of the reflective intellect or conscious, manifest an immediate recognition ... inward Presence manifests. What manifest presence does is wean people from a dependency upon outward forms to be conscious. Their very identity, meaning, and purpose, becomes anchored in Presence itself in itself and the curtain of the outward temples of politics and religion and the body is torn in two. The veil of outward forms is removed, and the conscious and conscience is no longer anchored in and informed through the outwardly given ideological, theological, traditional, and practiced forms of politics and religion. This is what the direct inward experience of Presence itself in itself does for all people who are open. I have experienced and witnessed the power of immanent Presence changing the lives of people. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share this different way of being with others. Just in the sharing, there is meaning and I am born again in Presence manifest.
Finally, while I do not use the particular word God when testifying to the witness of God (that is imminent Presence), I am talking about God.