"Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If you are anxious, if you're trying to control everything, if you are worried about many things, you don't have faith, according to Jesus. You do not trust that God is good and on your side. You're trying to do it all yourself, lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.

"The giveaway is control. That's a good litmus test for the quality of your faith. People of faith don't have to control everything, nor do they have to change people...."

[Richard Rohr, Jesus' Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount]

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Norman, your assumptions are embedded in your choice of words, and you can't really expect anyone else to agree that putting them in that form renders them immune from examination and criticism.

I am not 'defensive' but 'offensive.' But however much I like people setting up easy shots for me, I really do feel better when they have insights to offer. 

If you have experiences of what we're talking about, fine -- and you're wondering whether you should trust them, we might talk about that. If the issue is whether we should trust what we trust, well, the answer is simply that we do.

James C Schultz said:

As a generalization I would think that most of the time, most of us are not truly seeking the truth.  This is the wisdom of quaker worship if we open ourselves up to the Spirit the truth can get 'dumped' on us before we realize what has happened.  I am inclined to believe many of the attempts to impose quaker order during worship are attempts to limit how much "truth" does in fact get "dumped" at one sitting so we can have a chance to rationalize it away.


My wife Anne & I both loved this, but that obviously can't be the intention!

The explanations I've heard go like this: "We want to have a nice, peaceful hour of worshipful silence, not have people disrupting that experience."

But if people are encountering the living God, then we can't count on that being a peaceful experience, being completed on schedule -- or being undisturbed by contrary viewpoints.

But-but if we tried to have a 'no holds barred' Quaker Meeting -- featuring the people we are, as is -- It would be a serious challenge to keep 'seeking the truth' and stop trying to  'keep holding our end up' instead. (Not even 'trying to', just habitually unable to set it down even for a moment! On religious questions? -- maybe -- but political ones? Hah!)

I'd be afraid to go to such a meeting but I'd want to. The rest of my Meeting? Hmmm, four people at most -- (but then we might get back a lot of people who've given up on us?)

That "rationalize it away" aspect? Partly, people really do need to change our minds gradually, to get used to a new outlook and see where things fit in it... but every time, whether we'd touched the heights or just limped along at treetop level: After the Meeting we all revert to our 'social selves'. I hate this! (Should we be praying for an answer, how to address that issue?)

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