Has anyone else listened to Ben Pink Dandelion's presentation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRO-lGD9emM

It was a very challenging critique of modern Quakerism. I found myself agreeing with most of what he said. I've seen the link to the lecture posted on several sites, but few people are commenting on it, let alone discussing it.

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I've listened to the lecture a couple of times and thought Ben's analysis was sound. The tradition has been recast according to secular individualism, and as a result the theology that has undergirded our core insights has been "unpicked" and the insights lost. The modern Liberal values of diversity and uncertainty of belief, coupled with an unfamiliarity and lack of understanding of the tradition, weaken the Society to where it no longer can hold up the standard of Truth to a suffering and chaotic world.  It is, as Ben said, a "world not attuned to the life of spirit, and runs on different rules and different values." Sadly, that worldliness has made inroads into our Society. Ben's referring members back to the Book of Discipline is a step in the right direction, I think, but recovering the power of the original Society would require - on a wide scale - an inward deepening and refining of spiritual discernment  that can't be prescribed by another but must originate in the conscience out of sense of necessity for truth.

What are your thoughts on the lecture?

The lecture was a sound critique of liberal Quakerism, particularly concerning our use of testimonies as a set of values or beliefs rather than how we are called by God to live in this world (this may be my paraphrasing rather than an exact quote). 

Sadly, I see many people coming to Friends desperate for a spiritual community, but unable to let go of secular individualism. And most meetings shift to accommodate the newcomers discomfort rather than introduce them to another way of living. 

I was saddened by the decision at my own meeting to use the educational hour to only look at modern Friends rather than our history and early writings. 

Patricia Dallmann said:

I've listened to the lecture a couple of times and thought Ben's analysis was sound. The tradition has been recast according to secular individualism, and as a result the theology that has undergirded our core insights has been "unpicked" and the insights lost. The modern Liberal values of diversity and uncertainty of belief, coupled with an unfamiliarity and lack of understanding of the tradition, weaken the Society to where it no longer can hold up the standard of Truth to a suffering and chaotic world.  It is, as Ben said, a "world not attuned to the life of spirit, and runs on different rules and different values." Sadly, that worldliness has made inroads into our Society. Ben's referring members back to the Book of Discipline is a step in the right direction, I think, but recovering the power of the original Society would require - on a wide scale - an inward deepening and refining of spiritual discernment  that can't be prescribed by another but must originate in the conscience out of sense of necessity for truth.

What are your thoughts on the lecture?

I just received my copy of the lecture and look forward to reading it. I suspect it is enjoying a higher profile in the UK. I fear that here in the US we're likely to avoid any controversy in favor of avoiding any awkward emotions. 

Jeff said:

If you haven't already done so I can highly recommend the book version. It is more expansive than the spoken one and very very rich. My Meeting is about to use the excellent study guide in five sessions which we feel will enrich us as a community. Most of us have already heard and read it. As a result one of our Attenders has applied for Membership. Both this lecture and last year's speak to the condition of BYM as prophetic voices calling us to reclaim and reinhabit our core insights and identity.

What I liked about it is that it confirms that the spirit is speaking the same message on both sides of the pond.

Thanks for the information about the book version, Jeff. I'll look for it. That's good news that your meeting will be studying the guide. I hope that you'll post on Quakerquaker about what happens there. Maybe it would encourage some meetings here to study the same material.

Stephanie, I also see Friends desperate for community. Half the messages I hear in meetings are ones that laud the community for providing a sense of belonging and security to them as individuals. It's tribalism, a smaller version of nationalism. There's a verse from Scripture that comes to mind that asserts that the appearance of Christ (Christ Within, of course) will make such tribalism/nationalism obsolete: When the Son of man appears, "shall all the tribes of the earth mourn."

Thanks for reminding me,   Patricia,  that other humans cannot completely fill the void.  Nevertheless.   .    .  as accustomed as I am becoming to solitude,  I still have hope in the words, "He Puts The Lonely in Families".    While  looking for that scripture online I found the following website,   about the Christian called to solitude. http://www.singleness.org/solitary.shtml   Maybe that will be helpful to me or others, don't know. I will explore it more. 

Nevertheless, there are those of us whose human  personalities function better in community.  I am one of those people.   I wish to be in community not only because my personality functions better that way, but because of my desire to serve others, which can be done more easily by committed people in a group, responsive to Jesus and acting as the arms and legs of a loving God.


 
Patricia Dallmann said:

Thanks for the information about the book version, Jeff. I'll look for it. That's good news that your meeting will be studying the guide. I hope that you'll post on Quakerquaker about what happens there. Maybe it would encourage some meetings here to study the same material.

Stephanie, I also see Friends desperate for community. Half the messages I hear in meetings are ones that laud the community for providing a sense of belonging and security to them as individuals. It's tribalism, a smaller version of nationalism. There's a verse from Scripture that comes to mind that asserts that the appearance of Christ (Christ Within, of course) will make such tribalism/nationalism obsolete: When the Son of man appears, "shall all the tribes of the earth mourn."

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