I have been thinking a lot about open worship these days. Many of the larger evangelical Friends churches no longer practice open worship in their big venues for many reasons. I guess I am searching for a contemporary definition of open worship and ideas for how other large congregations incorporate their concept of open worship into their weekly big event(s).
What canst thou saith?

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William F Rushby said:

Your attitude is unchristian, and the self-righteousness in your remarks is very unbecoming.  Say a lot less, and listen a lot more!

Thank you!  I would encourage you to read George Fox.  I think you would say the same about him.  I am so flattered that you would put me in the same status.  George was never for a loss for words.  All I did was re-state his views on hired ministers  and for people to experience the Spirit directly.  I don't go to the Methodists or Anglicans to disrupt their services to tell them about it.   People beat up George Fox and put him in jail to shut him up  when he went churches to speak.  He never let negative feedback stop him from speaking from the Spirit.  He nor I will probably win popularity contests.  I simply gave the opinion of one Quaker as he requested.

I have seen everything from people who don't believe in God at all to fundamentalist preachers call themselves Quakers and posted  here.  Good for them.  The USA (so far) has freedom of religion and speech, so I don't have a problem with anyone who says they  like Quakers to post here. 

Rev Dr asked a fair question.  I think that is great!  Most like him know everything.  Do Quakers historically seek to call themselves by titles?  Did George Fox seek to glorify himself or the Spirit?   Rev Dr labels himself as such.  Fine.  His business.  I bet that is an earned PhD degree and his steeple house wants to call him Rev.  If he wants that kind of thing that's between him and his steeple house.  Once again George Fox discussed his views on these issues.  I think if you read you will find me kinder and more tolerant.

As far as listening, I do that a lot.  I believe in non-programmed meetings and listen to the Spirit daily.  I really like the Book of John.  This preacher is asking a good question which (silly me) thinks it prompted in him by the Spirit.  I have very good friends who are Methodist ministers.  I have been to their steeple houses as a guest.  I couldn't hear the Spirit there.  Too much singing, preaching and guilt making.  I really like these guys and do some community work for them.  I disagree with their theology and have seen it harm people that go there.  Not much talk about prayer and the Spirt there, just the preachers telling God and the people  what to do.   Couldn't hear the Spirit talk there if you wanted to.   That's ok with me.  I was a guest.   It they don't want to hear the Spirit teach them that is their business.   They know I disagree with them and that is ok.  If groups of Quakers want to have preachers, 3 songs and a sermon then are you really doing what George Fox thought was important? 

Me?  I am stupid.  That's why I have to listen to the Spirit.  You can turn on the TV or go on the internet to hear preachers tell you how to live and what to believe.  Some have pretty good ideas I guess. They sure make a lot of money.   Some have earned PhDs and some don't.   I can turn on the computer and here just about any kind of music I want some bad and some good.  I don't need to go to a steeple house for that.  Stupid me.  I don't tell God what to do when I pray nor do I dress up in a business suit to go show myself off at a steeple house to make sure I am seen to be holy.  I don't tell people about Quaker religion unless asked and people do ask why I am so calm all the time.  I believe Jesus is who He said He was.  Follow the ten commandments, and silently wait for the Spirit.   I had an opening and read George Fox who spoke to my condition.   Why do you need a preacher to teach me how to do that?  Why do I need a preacher to be convinced? 

You are so correct.  I should listen more to the Spirit than just an hour a day..  Ideally, one should try to be in constant contact with the Spirit.  That is what Rev Dr. seems to be seeking.  Good for Rev Dr.  Really good for him.  Sorry I am not Christian enough to suit you.  But a few questions for your consideration.  Was Jesus quiet about his beliefs and obeyed the Jewish Priests and what he thought best for Him?  Did Jesus follow all Jewish customs.  What title did Jesus call Himself and what seminary did He attend?  Through what Power did Jesus say he acted?  Me?  I am not Jesus nor a Preacher.  Just a Quaker who waits for the Spirit instead of a preacher.   According to you I am probably wrong and most preachers would agree with you.  Silly me, I am just a dumb non-programmed Quaker to stupid to want a preacher.  One final question that I really want you to think on.  How much time do you spend listening to the Spirit? 

I would agree with Bill Rushby, my long-time QuakerQuaker Friend, that a little bit of open-mindedness goes a long way.  The Quaker pastors who have commented here have been for years very open-minded and I personally have gained so much from them.  I appreciate Wess Daniels, James Tower, and others for their wisdom, spirituality, and spirt of love.  I have read their blogs and comments for years and have always felt a kinship with them and thought their meetings/churches have been lucky to have them.

Those unprogrammed meetings that have taken a page from programmed or semi-programmed meetings to include on Sunday mornings some spiritual dialog and sharing - have benefited greatly.  We have done this for about 3 years now, and it has resulted in more participation in our core worship and many new ones coming to us.  Our spiritual diversity has increased from entirely universalist to many more Christ-oriented Friends who have increased our whole meeting's appreciation for the person and teachings of Jesus - just as these Christian Friends have come to see the Light of Christ in other spiritual traditions.

Trying this doesn't mean a meeting needs to diminish or abandon their solid hour of unprogrammed worship.  It just means that a meeting might want to commit some time before worship to a spiritual sharing that allows Friends to go to a deep place spiritually before the core unprogrammed worship begins that they usually have on Sundays.  I think this was perhaps the original idea with having paid facilitators (now called pastors) in some meetings. 

We call the 30 minutes before worship, "Circle of Friends".  A facilitator prepares some spiritual inspirational material for Friends to consider and then share with each other how this material affects them.  Some other meetings may call it, "Adult Religious Education" or something else.  We have structured this in a manner that people attracted to unprogrammed Quakers would find palatable.  In other words, the facilitator does not give a 'sermon' and he/she does not dominate the sharing with his/her thoughts.  This time allows everyone present to go to a very deep spiritual place that prepares them to be open to the Spirit during the ensuing hour-long unprogrammed worship.  Friends of old prepared similarly as families before they came to worship.  Since that doesn't happen in the 21st century, perhaps the meeting could offer that preparation.

I suggest that programmed meetings might want to try something like this occasionally as a way to introduced their Friends to 'open' worship.  I wonder how their Friends in their meeting/church would re-act to the pastor facilitating this type of interactive sharing instead of giving a sermon that Friends sit and just listen to.  I am wondering if the same type of spiritual deepening would occur because the congregation of Friends are engaged interactively.  Perhaps this could occur for 20 minutes, and then perhaps do a song or two (as an interlude) before going into 'expectant waiting' worship for 30 minutes.  I do think 30 minutes is the minimum amount of time needed for 'expectant waiting' worship to become very deep and very gathered.

The first time this is tried it could be billed as an experience in how the old-timey Quakers first worshipped.  If it does not go over well with Friends, then just abandon it.  If it is well-received, perhaps it could be continued occasionally.

Unprogrammed worship does take practice.  It's not easy; yet very rewarding - especially if Friends have had an opportunity to deepen spiritually before worshipping in this 'old-timey Quaker' manner.

This is just a thought I have had, based on my own meeting's good experience with having a little bit of programming with our Circle of Friends before our hour-long unprogrammed worship.  I don't really know if this would work for programmed Friends.

What would you say to George Fox?  How would you judge George?  What lectures would you present to him to correct his beliefs?

Q.M.Without.Titles: You're not him.

There are many people listening to the Spirit, some hearing better than others.

Talking loudly really does work to disconnect those little amplifying ear bones from your eardrums; this is so your own voice doesn't literally deafen you.

It also means that when you're talking too loudly about how bad other people be, it works to shut your earlids down tight.

Please think about that awhile, and ask the Spirit again when you've settled a bit...



Forrest Curo said:

Q.M.Without.Titles: You're not him.

There are many people listening to the Spirit, some hearing better than others.

Talking loudly really does work to disconnect those little amplifying ear bones from your eardrums; this is so your own voice doesn't literally deafen you.

It also means that when you're talking too loudly about how bad other people be, it works to shut your earlids down tight.

Please think about that awhile, and ask the Spirit again when you've settle

How interesting!  I just noticed this post was originated in 2009.  I guess the Rev Dr. got what he needed.

You guys know everything.  I am going to let you win.  For sure you are all the best, most perfect Christians in the World.   So open minded!  So flattering to me.  Doing just what the Church of England did to George Fox to me.  You do me great honor!

I am just going to let you beat me to a pulp because the most you beat me, the more you beat George Fox. Yep I am just going to keep being a simple Quaker waiting  on the Sprit to teach me.  I would much rather let  the Spirit guide me than what I have heard here.   I will leave you theologians to your great works.  Thank you so much Rev Drs.  I hope you enjoyed kicking me in the teeth, obviously you are much more holy than me.

Hi all: "Quaker Monk" sent a a flurry of emails last night demanding to be taken off the site. After reading some of the threads I was happy to fulfill his request. I'm leaving this note so that those of you who did try to engage with him arent left wondering about his disappearance. 

Martin/Quakerquaker

I wish we could have engaged "Quaker Monk" in a more open-hearted conversation.  Martin, I hope the opportunity to participate in QQ can remain open to him should he experience a change of heart.

I also commend the brother in Kansas for enduring the abuse without complaint!!

I woke up this morning thinking that I would send QM a private message to engage one on one, as his writing suggested a history of hurt feelings. Hopefully I (and others) will have that opportunity at some point.

William F Rushby said:

I wish we could have engaged "Quaker Monk" in a more open-hearted conversation.  Martin, I hope the opportunity to participate in QQ can remain open to him should he experience a change of heart.

I also commend the brother in Kansas for enduring the abuse without complaint!!

Hello, Adria!

I tried to "friend" Quaker Monk a few days ago, so I could carry on a private conversation with him.  He never confirmed my friend request.

Bill

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