I am a member of Orange Grove Friends Meeting in Pasadena, CA. Our meeting is the only Friends Meeting west of the Mississippi River that was founded by Hicksite Friends from the East in 1907. We practice unprogrammed worship. Orange Grove Meeting is a member of Pacific Yearly Meeting.
Firstly, welcome to the most noble intellectual fraternity: The Anarchists. Like any Anarchist worth his high priced membership card - you are a Quaker. Although, at least once upon a time, the terms were almost synonymous.
And do not despair for you are among esteemed company. Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau are but two Anarchists of note. I'll put Gandhi in there as well since he was strongly influenced by Thoreau. And the Quaker-ancestor Issac Pennington Jr. as well...
It was once said by a fellow more perceptive than I "Anarchy is the glue that holds society together. " Since it emphasizes rule by agreement rather than the chaos of aggression.
Of course, before can we can have an Anarchist utopia, we need to prepare ourselves to handle that sort of responsibility. Hence my strong traditionalist beliefs: Prayer,loyalty,family, home and local-rule. Without this, I do not think I could ever be an Anarchist at all. Let alone a good Quaker.
So, maybe Anarchy isn't for everybody. But that's not because it can't work. Not everybody wants to inflict that type of self-discipline. Hence we get a lot of laws because we are only as strong as our weakest link. Actually I'm a little surprised that not more Quakers profess, at least their alliance with such notions, anarchy.
And...here's one I just came up with..." anywhere a voluntary agreement is made, so is anarchy ".
It is 6:10PM as I tap keys to you from my laptop in beautiful Nelson Bay. The sky has cleared after what can only be described as a deluge. Cyclonic conditions are expected by Sunday, at least in Sydney.
What to tell you? Let me mull it over whilst I eat my roast beef...I'll be back.
let me conclude, for now with...
well I'm still a Left-wing Anarchist. But I was compelled to love thy enemy as any Quaker should; in my little case it was the orthodox traditionalist. I threw myself at them and well, a lot of them are as careful and as measured as Quakers. And very compassionate! I've come to see the Truth through the beauty of my enemy. Many see love as the ultimate tradition, which I do, which they express through a focus on Jesus Christ in finding God, I do also, to my potential peril.
But if I can do that, why can’t anybody else? I haven't lobotomised myself in doing so. It would be piffle to suggest otherwise. Admittedly my faith is weak, but let me say, because somehow think I need you to know, it is absolute.
To continue on, if there can be a God, and I'm assuming you believe that absolutely - Jesus as a son of God is by comparison child’s play! Don’t you think? Many a Deist for instance, Thomas Paine realised this - incidentally his father was a Quaker - and he thought, “well if I can drop Jesus, God's a scratch”. And I can see the attraction: dump all that Jesus stuff, and maybe God too - and all you have room left for is science and logic. Its got a charm.
Which makes, I find, non-scientist types particularly, feel rather bright. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As this ‘unshackling’ exercise seems to make things clearer for some people’s thinking. Especially for those who once followed someone in a cult-like or similar manner. Say an ex-Scientologist or doomsday cult for instance, or Amway! In fact, especially in cases like these where absolute renouncement is really the only antidote.
Well that's good. I think people should feel good about themselves. But bad Christians who bombard someone’s senses with manipulative propaganda are just as unloving, unchristian and evil. As you might imagine that cuts a lot of Christian teachers down to size. I see it as a form of sloth. But honestly I don’t think Jesus was going for the popular vote when he went out to the everyday people. He should have gone to Rome for that. Though there was some theatre.
Back a long time ago, when you were fifty or something I guess Mark, I was, first let’s say, a cultural Christian, and finally a simple Deist. And wasn't I the smart cosmopolitan? With such eminent notables as Paine, Franklin and Jefferson; I was in excellent company (Benjamin Franklin being someone I almost...worship). But those Christians, especially those offensive conservative evangelical types just turned me off. Not to say they didn’t try.
“Yeah, I thought, Jesus had a great vibe BUT...it's all nuts! Australians are pretty rational about such things.
Well thankyou for your very generous praise. Can't say it doesn't make me feel well, rather happy. You're giving me a spring in my step! Quaker Quaker is just wonderful at doing that. All these good civil people in close proximity. Even if I am on the underside of the sphere, so to speak.
You look older to me. Perhaps you can teach this young-turk a factoid or three?