"Let us labor for an inward stillness--
An inward stillness and an inward healing.
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks to us and we wait
In singleness of heart that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do His will and do that only”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Good Morning Chris:

Your view of Jesus is not the view that the Quaker founders had.  Your view is a new, modernist, interpretation.  I don't think it is supported by any evidence.  The earliest New Testament documents, the letters of Paul, are clear on the divinity of Jesus.  Likewise the Gospels articulate this message very clearly.  I don't see any evidence that the appelation 'Christ' was given 'much later'; it appears to have been used from the very beginning, even during the lifetime of Jesus.

Best wishes,

Jim
 
Chris Beauchamp said:

He was simply Jesus of Nazareth.  Christ was an Honorarium. . . given to him much later.  

He was not born Jesus the Christ. .  but studied with other Masters to fulfill this role as a world teacher.  A  role in which he tore apart people's assumptions and beliefs.  


Jim Wilson 

 

that there is one, Christ Jesus, who speaks to our condition.  

Of course Spiny. . . belief in God is imperative.   They are the same. .  God is pure consciousness.. .  God is Truth. . . .God is Reality Itself.    God is all of that and more. . There are not human words capable to adequately describe God. . . though people try.  and if they do, they do it within their limited human capacity.    And they make God human. . . which is not truth, and shows a lack of pure consciousness.  

 

We must be open to learn . . .there is always more. . . which gives us access to higher understandings.   They are not easily transferred to human words..   but we communicate in words. . so we try our best to convey something  that is almost impossible to do.    I know my words are not appropriate enough. 
 
Spiny Norman said:

I agree with much of that, Chris.  But does this experience of  pure consciousness depend on belief in God, and if so, how?

Chris Beauchamp said:

To understand all of this fully we have to get away from My truth or My reality - -(or the personal word Our)  to the actual source of truth and reality itself which is always already.   Truth is Reality itself. . . or Pure Consciousness itself.  We live it each day. . . .until we mess it up with our limited human understanding.  That's why there are religious wars and arguments and such and they're all unnecessary. 

To truly understand we have to be willing to step out of our humanness. . . and go into the silence.  Listen and observe. 

 



 

 

Well, yes, that's precisely what I'm saying. Quakers are or ought to be all Christian, which still gives plenty of wiggle room. If you don't want to be Christian, then be a Unitarian or a Muslim or Buddhist. The idea of nontheist Quakers is absurd nonsense and the tone you take is typical of the arrogant elitist (in attitude, since I know nothing of you personally) way many have with those who have the temerity to suggest that the understanding of God is more than that of humankind, that "there is one, even Christ Jesus, who can speak to [your] condition". 

The idea of it not mattering if Quakers are Christian is "pleading for sin". I wonder if an avowed racist, who is serious and honest in her beliefs would be welcomed into the NAACP? Your suggestion is akin to that situation.

However, I like to think that as a Christian I would not be condemning you for your beliefs but would be urging you to become convinced of the Truth of Christ. And, I like to think that I'd also contribute to your needs if called upon to do so. I just don't think that Christian love needs to be stupid.

Spiny Norman said:

I'm puzzled, Tim.  As I understand it non-theist Quakers don't deny Christ, the difference is that they don't assume / believe he was the son of God.   

And are you saying that non-theist Quakers have no place in the Quakers?   I came across this web-site,  it seems like there a quite a few already: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/ 


Tim Lillie said:

 Some Quakers have been trying to be generous to those who are not clear or still searching, but if anyone denies Christ, they have no business being a Quaker in any meaningful sense. They can call themselves anything they want, but that means nothing.




My thoughts on these discussions are that if you take away "Jesus",and even "God" out of Quakerism, then what becomes of the writings of Fox, Fell, Barclay, Naylor, Penn, Woolman, Kelly etc. These are the Friends that shaped Quakerism. Take any one page of the writings of these Friends and remove the words 'Jesus Christ' and 'God' and what have you left? Non-theism may deserve a home of its own, but is the Quaker movement the right place for it? Furthermore, particularly in the UK, we have a new brand of 'evangelical non-theism' that is working under the misapprehension that they are the 'new-order', and that Christian Quakerism is a thing of the past. Friends I think that the problem needs addressing.

Friend Ray:

The point you make about the consequences of removing God and Jesus from the Quaker tradition is, I think, a significant one.  The point of view of non-theism (and, to a lesser extent) Universalism cuts Quakers off from their past, leaving them uprooted.  The primary consequence of doing this is to defer to the dominant culture's view of the world.  I believe that is one reason why so many modern Quakers see their tradition as primarily one of political involvement; because the dominant culture regards political involvement as central.  Cutting Quakers off from their past leaves them without the means for maintaining an alternative point of view, let alone maintaining a distinct identity. 

I also like the way you put it about non-theism finding a 'home'.  One of the things that baffles me about non-theist Quakers is that there are many locations where they could find a congenial home; e.g. Zen Buddhism in its western garb.  And there are secular associations where non-theists would easily fit in.  It baffles me that non-theists would join an explicitly theistic tradition and then try to undermine it in such a thorough way.  Your observation, though, that non-theists have become 'evangelical' helps to comprehend their approach. 

Jim

The interesting question about Jesus would seem to be: "What view of Jesus does Jesus have?" One can find strong hints of that in the synoptic gospels but the trail gets cluttered with footprints even there.

Is God "a Christian"? Not if "Christian" means what some people mean by it; we may not agree as to which people but we can agree that what it means is far from clear.

How about: "God [ie Spirit, Mind etc] is the foundation of the universe; and it loves [nourishes, benefits, means well towards] each person [even where it isn't clear to us what each person, 'alive' or 'dead' from our limited vantage, needs or is receiving.] That seems to be the picture of God that Jesus presents to us, God as Jesus introduces us to 'Him'. And I think you would find many 'believers' in the other religions who would agree that this is how it is.

The trouble with atheism is twofold: That it's Bad News, and untrue Bad News at that. Even if most of us have come to believe it in some operative sense -- it's just as untrue and just as useless. We humans have collectively painted ourselves into the corner of an alligator pit; and the unaided intelligence that's put us into this position isn't going to get us out of it.

I don't know if I'm getting your meaning entirely Tim.  These words sound harsh and unforgiving. 

You know of course that Jesus was Not a Christian.   So who was it then that started Christianity in the first place? 

I wonder if Jesus the man were standing in front of you if you would accept him as the real thing.  It does not sound to me like you would.    You might want him to prove himself as Lord to your tough standards. 

Clearly you want to contain God in a box. . and that does not work for anyone, Quakers included.

You might want to read the last sentence of your last paragraph again. . .and consider it closely.   
 
Tim Lillie said:

Well, yes, that's precisely what I'm saying. Quakers are or ought to be all Christian, which still gives plenty of wiggle room. If you don't want to be Christian, then be a Unitarian or a Muslim or Buddhist. The idea of nontheist Quakers is absurd nonsense and the tone you take is typical of the arrogant elitist (in attitude, since I know nothing of you personally) way many have with those who have the temerity to suggest that the understanding of God is more than that of humankind, that "there is one, even Christ Jesus, who can speak to [your] condition". 

The idea of it not mattering if Quakers are Christian is "pleading for sin". I wonder if an avowed racist, who is serious and honest in her beliefs would be welcomed into the NAACP? Your suggestion is akin to that situation.

However, I like to think that as a Christian I would not be condemning you for your beliefs but would be urging you to become convinced of the Truth of Christ. And, I like to think that I'd also contribute to your needs if called upon to do so. I just don't think that Christian love needs to be stupid.

Spiny Norman said:

I'm puzzled, Tim.  As I understand it non-theist Quakers don't deny Christ, the difference is that they don't assume / believe he was the son of God.   

And are you saying that non-theist Quakers have no place in the Quakers?   I came across this web-site,  it seems like there a quite a few already: http://www.nontheistfriends.org/ 


Tim Lillie said:

 Some Quakers have been trying to be generous to those who are not clear or still searching, but if anyone denies Christ, they have no business being a Quaker in any meaningful sense. They can call themselves anything they want, but that means nothing.




Greetings Jim:

This would be the first time I've been called modern.   I can tell you that 'modernist' does not fit me.  I'm old as dirt . . .and my beliefs and attitudes are likewise. 

So I would ask. . . are you sure?  And then I would suggest you go back and research some more. .   It is out there dear one.  Continue to research and you will find that and much more.  

 



Jim Wilson said:

Good Morning Chris:

Your view of Jesus is not the view that the Quaker founders had.  Your view is a new, modernist, interpretation.  I don't think it is supported by any evidence.  The earliest New Testament documents, the letters of Paul, are clear on the divinity of Jesus.  Likewise the Gospels articulate this message very clearly.  I don't see any evidence that the appelation 'Christ' was given 'much later'; it appears to have been used from the very beginning, even during the lifetime of Jesus.

Best wishes,

Jim
 
Chris Beauchamp said:

He was simply Jesus of Nazareth.  Christ was an Honorarium. . . given to him much later.  

He was not born Jesus the Christ. .  but studied with other Masters to fulfill this role as a world teacher.  A  role in which he tore apart people's assumptions and beliefs.  


 

I agree, Chris, and I place great value on having an open mind.  Sadly though I don't see that with some of the other contributors here.

Chris Beauchamp said:

We must be open to learn . . .there is always more. . . which gives us access to higher understandings.   They are not easily transferred to human words..   but we communicate in words. . so we try our best to convey something  that is almost impossible to do.    I know my words are not appropriate enough.  

 

 

 

This is a complicated matter, and issues of fact need to be sorted out from issues of opinion.  Of course, the difference is not always clear cut.

Here is an issue of fact: "He was simply Jesus of Nazareth.  Christ was an Honorarium. . . given to him much later.  

He was not born Jesus the Christ. .  but studied with other Masters to fulfill this role as a world teacher.  A  role in which he tore apart people's assumptions and beliefs."

Another issue of fact: "Your view of Jesus is not the view that the Quaker founders had.  Your view is a new, modernist, interpretation.  I don't think it is supported by any evidence."

An issue of opinion: "Some Quakers have been trying to be generous to those who are not clear or still searching, but if anyone denies Christ, they have no business being a Quaker in any meaningful sense. They can call themselves anything they want, but that means nothing."

To advance the discussion, it would help to address these and other matters involved one at a time.  Simply labeling those one disagrees with as "narrow minded" or "ignorant of the facts" doesn't shed much light on the dialogue.

 

  

Friend speaks my mind.

Thanks,

Jim



William F Rushby said:

This is a complicated matter, and issues of fact need to be sorted out from issues of opinion.  Of course, the difference is not always clear cut.

Here is an issue of fact: "He was simply Jesus of Nazareth.  Christ was an Honorarium. . . given to him much later.  

He was not born Jesus the Christ. .  but studied with other Masters to fulfill this role as a world teacher.  A  role in which he tore apart people's assumptions and beliefs."

Another issue of fact: "Your view of Jesus is not the view that the Quaker founders had.  Your view is a new, modernist, interpretation.  I don't think it is supported by any evidence."

An issue of opinion: "Some Quakers have been trying to be generous to those who are not clear or still searching, but if anyone denies Christ, they have no business being a Quaker in any meaningful sense. They can call themselves anything they want, but that means nothing."

To advance the discussion, it would help to address these and other matters involved one at a time.  Simply labeling those one disagrees with as "narrow minded" or "ignorant of the facts" doesn't shed much light on the dialogue.

 

  

Chris, from the perspective of Buddhist meditation I'm familiar with the approach of accessing higher ( transcendental ) states of consciousness, but these experiences aren't dependent on a belief in God.  It's possible that we're talking about similar experiences but using different language, but I'm still not clear as to why you think a belief in God is necessary to experience pure consciousness ( or whatever ).

chris Beauchamp said:

Of course Spiny. . . belief in God is imperative.   They are the same. .  God is pure consciousness.. .  God is Truth. . . .God is Reality Itself.    God is all of that and more. . 



 

 

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