Patricia Barber's Blog (7)

This Life or the Afterlife

A good friend of mine posted a blog a couple of days ago in which he floated the idea that to achieve an afterlife you have to "nurture and exercise your potential immortal soul to enable it to survive the death of your body," in much the same way that you have to make the effort to learn algebra in order to solve quadratic equations. (…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 2nd mo. 3, 2012 at 12:00pm — 7 Comments

On Stilling the Howler Monkeys

For my first 15 1/2 years at Quaker meeting, I endeavored mightily in silent worship to suck the incessant internal chatter out of my head in order to create that perfect "vacuum" that God, presumably, was eagerly waiting to fill. I tried all the usual techniques - mantras, short prayers, visualizations (candles, light, waterfalls), stern imprecations ("Shut up, brain!"), pep talks, etc etc etc. Needless to say, very little of this was particularly effective. The howler monkeys in my…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 1st mo. 14, 2012 at 5:02pm — No Comments

Primitive Christianity Revived - But Not By Us

I think it's safe to say that if George Fox or William Penn came to my house looking to see how their vision of Quakerism as primitive Christianity revived was progressing, they would be pretty disappointed. They would find a well-intentioned, averagely good person who is completely committed to recreating the Kingdom of God on earth, as long as it doesn't impinge too much on her comfortable life style, status in the community or retirement plans. She believes fervently that the…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 12th mo. 31, 2011 at 12:41pm — 14 Comments

"Convincement" or "Uncertainment" - A Liberal Friend's Dilemma

While I could never be mistaken for a fundamentalist, I have a childish yearning for a completely literal burning bush-type experience, or perhaps one day, while driving to New York, (Damascus not being handy), I suddenly find myself being yanked from my car and cast down upon the side of the interstate and a voice tells me in no uncertain terms that this is Jesus speaking and you, Patricia, had better take heed! Now that's the sort of experience that leaves no room for doubt. Why is…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 12th mo. 10, 2011 at 6:00pm — 20 Comments

The Odd Man at the Dinner Party Part III

Teaching First Day School in a liberal unprogrammed Friends meeting is a strange and wonderful business. Somehow you have to transmit whatever it is that is going on mostly in silence among the adults in the next room, without any hint of indoctrination and ever aware that what might be your Truth may very well not be Truth as experienced by the parents of the tender minds under your care. Teaching the Bible is this experience on steriods. You soon find yourself navigating between Scylla and…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 12th mo. 5, 2011 at 12:20pm — 5 Comments

The Odd Man at the Dinner Party Part II

While walking the dog today I came up with my theory of belief as a TV dinner. Just about every religious faith has one and, certainly, every Christian denomination. The Catholics have a very sumptuous, multi-compartment meal, with a good hunk of meat and lots of really delicious sides, beautifully presented. There are some difficult-to-eat veggies there, too, but the cook in Rome is willing to turn a blind eye if you want to shove some of them under the mashed potatoes. The Baptists' TV…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 11th mo. 27, 2011 at 10:07pm — 2 Comments

The Odd Man at the Dinner Party

When I first began attending Quaker meeting 16 years ago, I quickly noticed a notable absence. Sunday after Sunday would pass (or First Day after First Day, as the Quakers insisted on calling it) without a mention of Jesus. I mean, Quakers were Christians, weren't they? It was as if he had dropped down a rabbit hole somewhere in the Quaker past to be replaced by - well, nothing. There was no central figure, no icon, no rallying point. I brought the subject up with the folks that I figured…

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Added by Patricia Barber on 11th mo. 26, 2011 at 4:22pm — 38 Comments

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