Some Friends make the Christian faith out to be loaded with inhumane “freight” to which its adherents do not admit.  Some Friends regard Christian faith as an unnecessary foundation of the Quaker witness, and/or a hindrance in the testimony of the Society of Friends.  And then there are those who advance the notion that Christian faith is so loaded with semantic ambiguities and contradictions that it is intellectually untenable.

I affirm the validity and credibility of Christian faith and of the Bible.  I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as expressed by the historic creeds.  I further believe that Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate self-disclosure to a fallen humanity, and that His crucifixion and resurrection, and continuing presence as Lord and Savior, indeed the very Word of God, reconcile us to God and open the way to eternal life as we are willing to enter into fellowship with Him.

The basics of Christian faith are not complicated.  One doesn’t need to be well-educated or intellectually gifted to avail oneself of the saving love of Christ or the guidance of His Spirit.  His redeeming witness is available to all, whether peasant or priest, rich man or pauper, learned or “the least of these my brethren.”  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…Blessed are the meek , for they shall inherit the earth…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Finally, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to thy Cross I cling.”

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Thanks Olivia for your words about the "love fest".  They are so meaningful and full of Light.

Upon reading them, I was reminded that Jesus believed his message was nothing more than a universal "love fest" because he saw Love as the true reality we are all called to.  Of course he spoke in the context of Jewish culture and history - he was a Jew speaking to Jewish people!   Even so, his example and being still has influenced the entire world.  His self-identification with God was a natural result of the union he felt with the Source of life in the Universe, and it is really similar in tone to many other mystics throughout the ages.  He held out the hope that his followers would also self-identify with God and do even more godly works than he did.

His message of equating God to Love was so refreshing to his Jewish followers - after a lifetime of adhering to strict Jewish codes of conduct enforced by human religious leaders.  The Love part of these Jewish religious leaders' message got lost.  And sadly, the same happens in our day when our "religious leaders" boil down this message of Love to mere biblical rules; rules that were uttered by wise men long ago who were trying to guide people into how they might manifest this universal Love in the context of their time.  What does this Love say to us in our time?

For those Friends (and others) who do not "get" liberal Quakerism's refusal to focus entirely on the person of Jesus, it is because the reality of Jesus' message was that the true reality and Source of life is a living Love that is manifested in this world as Light; a message so much more encompassing than the historical Jesus.  Jesus knew this - even if many of his followers do not.

I dun it agin!  "I am having an[other] ego problem today.  I clicked "like" to see who had liked my post, and got embarrassed by being listed as an admirer of my own post--which of course I am, but I wanted to keep that secret!

To what extent are we involved in the suffering of others when our taxes are used to buy bombs and drop them on people in the Middle East? We in the Christian West have an abundance of money, but billions are spent on invading and killing as if they were like the old blood sacrifices of the ancient Jews and other pagans...........are we not still pagans in paying taxes as well as cruel? The early Quakers went to jail by their thousands for their faith in conditions that would make our jails Today seem like Palaces, it seems like Quakerism is over as a real faith to being  just a nominal belief like others.

Olivia said:

Stephanie -- is this a situation where if you press that button again when you're on your profile page it will "unlike"?   (And if it does, do you want to "unlike" or just leave it?)   Thanks for the feedback and for your own passionate embrace of a Christianity that has integrity.

I do feel that it's important that Christianity be able to really be spoken here.

I'm also wanting to point out -- because of my own concern about those who feel like an outsider to this conversation --  that with my words I have aimed to allow space for someone who feels called to a different faith journey that gives them a chance to develop spiritually in ways that Christianity in our society doesn't support well enough:  Buddhism, for example, actually provides one profound levels of insight and experience with suffering...in ways that I feel like Jesus embodied but didn't preach as fully (or they didn't make it into the final cut of our Bible). 

I wish that language had made it in there since it would help our society to steer more clear of those who want Christianity to be a path of financial abundance and one in which you don't have to suffer WITH people and get to judge them.  

I believe that God and even Christ speaks to people in their own language and sometimes that's through a faith called one thing and sometimes that's through a faith called something else.  Christ being a Spirit and a Spiritual truth and a divine flow, not just a word.

Thanks, all, for allowing me space to name that... now please feel free to continue with the Jesus love fest which is much needed and always welcome!

Hello Stephen!

"We in the Christian West have an abundance of money, but billions are spent on invading and killing as if they were like the old blood sacrifices of the ancient Jews and other pagans"

Wow!   What an awareness...  

" it seems like Quakerism is over as a real faith to being  just a nominal belief like others."

Yes,  I see that too.  

Some of us are along for a divine ride though...and are open to the resurrection of the faith.   Hanging out here in a Quaker culture that is too established and too historical... because this culture, based on showing up and quietly listening for the Light, still seems to have the greatest chance for us to see this manifest.  

Of course, on the topic of this original post -- nothing is wrong with cultivating one's fresh surrender to God via one's scriptures.  That's just always going to be a path that few will choose, most often picking the scriptures over the fresh light within them from God:  "Too painful, why go there?  Doesn't feel divine to me!"     Or on the other end of the spectrum choosing light that doesn't have to get into their discomfort with the scriptures:  "Too painful, why go there?  Doesn't feel divine to me!"



Olivia said:

Hello Stephen!

"We in the Christian West have an abundance of money, but billions are spent on invading and killing as if they were like the old blood sacrifices of the ancient Jews and other pagans"

Wow!   What an awareness...  

" it seems like Quakerism is over as a real faith to being  just a nominal belief like others."

Yes,  I see that too.  

Some of us are along for a divine ride though...and are open to the resurrection of the faith.   Hanging out here in a Quaker culture that is too established and too historical... because this culture, based on showing up and quietly listening for the Light, still seems to have the greatest chance for us to see this manifest.  

Of course, on the topic of this original post -- nothing is wrong with cultivating one's fresh surrender to God via one's scriptures.  That's just always going to be a path that few will choose, most often picking the scriptures over the fresh light within them from God:  "Too painful, why go there?  Doesn't feel divine to me!"     Or on the other end of the spectrum choosing light that doesn't have to get into their discomfort with the scriptures:  "Too painful, why go there?  Doesn't feel divine to me!"

Christ is our annointing not some surname for Jesus or Yeshua, it is the inner light the Spirit of Truth sent into our hearts from the Heavenly Father above, who unlike Jehovah who revelled in the slaughter of millions of animals: "cares even for a sparrow that falls to the ground." Wherever this Light travels in our hearts no darkness can be found, if we follow that Light, if not our darkness is greater than that of the world.
I can see a Kingdom far greater than this world and its pitiful dictators. When we unseal the inner fountain of  Light within, it's  crystal clear translucent Light never ceases again and  flows, love, light and life into our hearts, revealing eternal truths in the twilight zone of peace and stillness, and that deathlessness we know to be ours gradually rises like a heavy mist out of the shrouded tomb  of the infinite years we have lived shrouded in darkness. So the soul rises up like the mist glowing in the morning Sun, no one knows where it goes, whence it came and leaves no track as it hastens back to the descent within the heart....to the Light of Lights, leaving no trace behind, no residue, no ashes, the many octaves of our vibrating souls condensing into the atmosphere of Spirit, the gentle breeze like a summers day sails our troubles into oblivion, far from the shifting swell of darkness below, tiny wisps like, cirrus clouds soaring ever higher in the azure heavens, returning as mirrors to the Eternal Light, our mortality swallowed up in the Undivided Life. Only Love answers the question, Why? Peace is the firstfruits of the Silence,the way of non-resistance, yes you can see the possession of darkness in people's faces,but let us be a shining Light to them.


Jesus' (and our) Father wasn't some 'other' God, or even 'some other concept of God'. What I see in the Bible is a long period of people sorting out their changing sense of who that One really is, from "Your fathers kept me in a tent for all the generations since they left Egypt; why should I want a house to live in?" to "Thank you for building Me this lovely House (& thanks for all the sheep!)" to "If you keep stealing each other's land and doing injustice in My name, I'm gonna tear this building down!"

The changing vision doesn't stop developing with that, nor does it change all that abruptly when Jesus comes into the picture. People keep finding new distortions of (and creative developments of) what Jesus said & how God wanted that understood. For Paul, 'the goyim' he's bringing 'into Christ' aren't usually pagans, but mostly Israelites who've been living largely Hellenistic lives in enclaves within foreign populations (with ongoing suspicion and periodic mob violence between them and their pagan neighbors.) He starts out preaching in the synagogues because that's where he can find an audience who knows roughly what he means by 'Messiah.' But the people who join increasingly come to include literal goyim with a sympathetic curiosity toward this group where they find God manifesting more strongly than in the other cults they knew.

Yet even today, we find "Christians" who still think of God as a 'smite your enemies' kind of Being...

We're inconsistent; we learn and we change; and hence there is hope for us!


True Forrest Curo it is not a different God but a slow evolution of  man's understanding, at the end of the day, they are still concepts of what is clearly beyond our intellect.
Forrest Curo said:

Jesus' (and our) Father wasn't some 'other' God, or even 'some other concept of God'. What I see in the Bible is a long period of people sorting out their changing sense of who that One really is, from "Your fathers kept me in a tent for all the generations since they left Egypt; why should I want a house to live in?" to "Thank you for building Me this lovely House (& thanks for all the sheep!)" to "If you keep stealing each other's land and doing injustice in My name, I'm gonna tear this building down!"

The changing vision doesn't stop developing with that, nor does it change all that abruptly when Jesus comes into the picture. People keep finding new distortions of (and creative developments of) what Jesus said & how God wanted that understood. For Paul, 'the goyim' he's bringing 'into Christ' aren't usually pagans, but mostly Israelites who've been living largely Hellenistic lives in enclaves within foreign populations (with ongoing suspicion and periodic mob violence between them and their pagan neighbors.) He starts out preaching in the synagogues because that's where he can find an audience who knows roughly what he means by 'Messiah.' But the people who join increasingly come to include literal goyim with a sympathetic curiosity toward this group where they find God manifesting more strongly than in the other cults they knew.

Yet even today, we find "Christians" who still think of God as a 'smite your enemies' kind of Being...

We're inconsistent; we learn and we change; and hence there is hope for us!

Quakers went to jail in the 1600's and early 1700's because what they advocated for was illegal to advocate - period!  There are still very engaged Quakers in all kinds of traditional Quaker beliefs. Yet, it is not illegal for them to advocate for those beliefs.  Therefore, they don't go to jail or make news headlines.

It is easy to glorify the good ole days of Quakerism.  But as our Friend Bill Rushby points out from time to time to me when I start glorifying the good ole days, everything wasn't so peachy internally within the Religious Society of Friends.  From the beginning there was internal dissent, many disownments, and yes intolerance towards each other.

So, are things among Friends better today or back then?  Who knows?  Except that I would never have lasted as a Quaker back then, and I would have missed the opportunity I have had to have a transformed life from being a Quaker.  I relish that no one among the Friends in my meeting have judged me, disowned me, or coerced me to do the meeting's bidding.  Instead, they have labored with me, loved me, and cherished me for who I am; all the while being the willing and loving instruments of the Spirit to help me to the place God would have me be.

A great testimony to the real power of our religious society in the twenty-first century.

Elijah.

1 Kings 19:11-13.



Olivia said:

(was it Isaiah sharing that story about God's voice being found in the shattering silence, not in the wind, not in the thunder, not in the hurricane...)

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