Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
The QuakerQuaker team has long kicked around the idea of sponsoring "Quaker Carnivals," monthly themes that bloggers are invited to write about. Wess Daniels over at Gathering in Light brought up the idea again a few days ago.
I thought it'd be good to go topical and talk about Rob Bell. His Nooma videos are popular with many Convergent Friends and the new Twitter/Blog firestorm is unlikely to die down. The paradoxes around Christian Universalism is an issue that brings seekers to Friends. It also is one of the causes of conflict within some of our yearly meetings.
To Friends totally out of the loop, we'd be introducing them to Rob Bell. I've long hoped to see Friends more actively engaged with the wider spiritual debates of our time. I've been very influenced by Quaker historian Jerry Frost's 2000 FGC Gathering lecture, Three Twentieth-Century Revolutions:
By and large, FGC Friends are not much interested and, therefore, have been only slightly influenced by post-liberal major theological emphases - Neo-Orthodoxy, Christian realism, the New Yale Theology, narrative theology, process theology, liberation theology, feminist theology, and deconstruction.. Even when our history should have made us major players in new theological developments, such as feminist theology, Friends have been consumers rather than shapers. Our pioneering of new social concerns has not been paralleled by sensitivity to new intellectual developments.
The Friends movement has had a lot to say about Christian Universalism from the beginning. Robert Barclay touched on it in a number of his Propositions. In 2004, Bill Samuel did a good job introducing Barclay's views and parsing out the different meanings ... among Friends today.
I think Friends have a lot to share with those on all sides of the Rob Bell controversy. As a model, I was happy when Scott Wells, my favorite Christian Unitarian Universalist blogger, responded to the bruhaha last week with "Fresh Crop of Universalists?" I'd love to see Friends of various stripes check in on this.
Logistics then: if you write a blog post about the Rob Bell controversy or Christian Universalism, you can do one of two things: the best is to bookmark it in Delicious using the "quaker.robbell" tag. If you don't use Delicious then you can leave the link as a comment on the main Carnival page to let others know what you've written.
Let me try to explain . . . to anyone about the love of God.
If you have never been with God . . . then . . . it will be difficult to understand the (controversy) principle of Christian Universalism. A majority of people that have been with God . . . taken out of their bodies . . . and transported to Heaven . . . will not freely talk about their spiritual experience . . . because of the unbelief and persecution from the traditional main stream Sunday go to meeting groups.
But anyone that has been with God . . . not just merely viewing God at a distance . . . but actually being with God . . . easily crosses over to the Universalism side.
The greatest commandment is Love the Lord God will all your heart, soul and mind. Jesus tells us this is the foundation of all the law.
Jewish culture and Jewish fables have so distorted mankind's view of God and his laws, that it makes it nearly impossible for the average person to break free of its nasty chains of ignorance . . . and enjoy the Love of God . . . to all of his creation.
God's loves is superior to parental love.
And any normal parent would never throw their children into a volcano and walk away and never look back.
Now . . . a looney crazy parent has been known to destroy their children. Why . . . because they are insane. They do not have a handle on reality.
The life of Jesus on earth proves to us . . . that God is not a destroyer.
There are many scriptures in the collection of old writings of men, that indicate God will not lose one person in the end.
Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
(Luk 7:42)And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
Frost's talk made a big impression on me. It shaped how I think of Quaker service. I'm always looking at the decisions Friends are making through a historical lens. A lot of what I do is trying to address Frost's concerns and make a space where Friends can be more engaging.
The other last effect of Frost's talk is that I spent the Q&A sitting next to this cute young woman I had just met. We both laughed and groaned at the same parts--cute and a lover of theology and an idealistic cynic. Three kids later we still mostly talk theology around the dinner table.
I don't have a blog, but I wrote something. Can I post it as a discussion in this group?