For too many of our Meetings, the Light's on but nobody's home for us. The Light has taken us to school, but no one is there for our return. We have so many things to tell and share about the experience of being taught; yet, though many are listening for the Teacher, few care to hear from the student.

Where to go, and what to do about this latch-keyed danger?

Jennifer Elam in "Dancing with God Through the Storm" writes, "A container is a safe environment in which to be with the(mystical) experience. For some, the energy of the opening is too intense for them to contain it without help."

How to process the highs and lows of spiritual awakening, when left to one's own devices, literally!

If we can get into spiritual matters beyond our abilities to control them, what's stopping us from getting into trouble?

My heartfelt warning to Friends and Meetings alike: If there's nobody home for your excited and distressed "schooling in the Spirit", be the seeker of a safe house of respite.

Latch onto the key to nurtured safety. 

Views: 68

Comment by Forrest Curo on 2nd mo. 3, 2014 at 10:42am

What makes 'schooling in the Spirit' so stressful is that spiritual matters are in fact 'beyond our abilities to control them' -- and it's a mistake to try. People who have locked themselves down break loose... and the Friends who ideally would provide earthly reassurance -- are too often still locked down themselves. Why does God repeatedly harden Pharaoh's heart? -- How would you persuade 600,000 Jews & their friends to walk out of Egypt for freedom and an untried destiny?

Certainly we ought to share more about our seekings, struggles, and findings... But these do cut across the grain of the civilization that formed us; people are afraid to say, "Yes, I'm one of those crazy folks who thinks God talks to us... and I don't always get it right; but all your arguments that say this can't happen are piffle!" We're such inadequate Messengers!

Being children of this age, we'd like to have institutional means to facilitate helping each other hatch! So far as we can do that, it certainly looks like helping in God's work, except that we keep wanting to think out the means.... "Hey, how would You like us to approach this?"

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 2nd mo. 4, 2014 at 5:53am

You nailed it, Friend; it's the "Why am I feeling this riot of emotion?" of James Joyce's "The Dead".

Comment by Keith Saylor on 2nd mo. 4, 2014 at 12:50pm

The blessing of being present in the Presence is the safe house is right there in every specific place and every specific moment. It is such joy to know there is no need to go anywhere to find the safe house ... just turn to the Light illuminating the consciousness and conscience.

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 2nd mo. 6, 2014 at 6:58am

The words of Isaac Penington seem apt: Oh! wait on the Lord, that he may give you to understand these things; for the apostacy{sic} from God is very deep, and most provoking where it is most inward and spiritual.

It's a waiting in the no-thingness of being as opposed to the go-thingness of consciousness and conscience.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 2nd mo. 6, 2014 at 11:24am

Dear Clem,

I sought out your Penington quote to gain better context. Here is the full quote including the phrase left out:

Oh! wait on the Lord, that he may give you to understand these things ; for the apostasy from God is very deep, and more provoking among the Protestants than among the Papists, yea, most of all provoking where it is most inward and spiritual.

Source: The Works of Issac Penington Vol. 2

https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output...

Clem, just before your incomplete quote, Penington writes:

Indeed this is the true religion, to feel God beginning the work, and to wait on him for his carrying it on. The feeling of God's Spirit beginning somewhat in the heart, the heart's waiting on him for more of his Spirit, and walking on with him in his Spirit, as he pleaseth to quicken, lead, draw, and strengthen; this is the spiritual and true religion: and there is no duty or ordinance of the gospel out of the Spirit; but it is easy crying up and observing the likeness of any of them out of the Spirit, into which observance a strange spirit easily enters; and then that which was of God in the heart soon withers, and a contrary building is raised, and the state of the heart changed.

It is a blessing to know the workings of the Spirit within consciousness and conscience.

Your quote above is taken from a beautiful answer Penington gives to the question:

Quest. But how may my poor soul, who have long mourned, and groaned, and been sick of love after my he- loved, but could never attain to the satisfactory enjoyment of him, come to walk in his path, that so I may meet with, and lie down in, the power of life and salvation which the gospel holds forth to the true believer, and which I have been long sensible of the deep want of?

Here is a link to the full answer:

https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output...

I'm grateful to read Penington's advice in full.

The working of the Presence in consciousness and conscience is fundamental to discernment. Penington is clear and personal experience confirms. Here is what Penington says concerning conscience. Keeping in mind the term conscience carried a dual meaning during the time of the early Quakers. Conscience was not merely related to morality but also included consciousness or self-conscious. Please see:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ME36XOI32OZZQLqyG_mJqPKPO4xN2ns...

Here is what Penington says:

Quest. How is man converted?

Ans. By the operation of the light and power of God upon his conscience.


Quest. In what condition is the conscience before God works upon it?

Ana. Hard and corrupt; hardened by selfish reasonings and dark imaginations, against the convictions of the light and operations of the power of God, and corrupted with the sin and iniquity that dwell in it.


Quest. What doth God make it in his working upon it?

Ans. Gentle and tender, it to receive the impressions of his Spirit. By the influence and power of his Spirit on the conscience, he openeth the ear to hearken to his voice, and prepareth the heart to follow him in his leadings.


Quest. How doth God carry on his work in the converted soul?

Ans. By keeping it low and tender, out of the self-wisdom and hardening reasonings of the human understanding: by this means he keeps it pliable to the light and power of his Spirit.


Quest. Is only the tender conscience then fit to be wrought upon by God?

Ans. Yea, indeed, that alone. The heart that is hard is inconsiderate of the voice of God, and stiff and stubborn it against it; having ever nt hand some wisdom or will of the. flesh, to withstand the voice and leadings of God by.


Quest. Who is it that preserves the conscience tender?

Ans. The Lord of the conscience. He who made it knoweth the proper temper of it; and his light and power is alone able to preserve it in that tenderness which he formed it in.


Quest. What is it that hardens the conscience?

Aus. The wisdom of the flesh. Man, having gained a wisdom out of the light of God, by the imaginations, reasonings, and strength thereof, hardens himself against God.

Please follow this link for citation and the full text.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cgm_-xncrum3bDGUc-xER_8lwEQZjMI...

I am thankful for the workings of the Presence within my consciousness and conscience in quiet and patient waiting ... there is the safe house where I am not left to my own devices. 

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 2nd mo. 7, 2014 at 7:55am

You should know, dear Friend.

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