Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
This past weekend I and many others were blessed to spend it in the company of Jim Atwell as a fellow traveler on life's spiritual journey. Jim is a cheerful and gifted Friend overflowing with love for everyone who has found a fitting home for his gifts and love within the Quaker community. Jim has a serious physical ailment which he openly discusses in his book Wobbling Home ( http://www.amazon.com/Wobbling-Home-Spiritual-Walk-Parkinsons/dp/09...) as only he can.
Actually on this past weekend there seemed to be quite a few of us wobbling home and I think that this would be a good time to remind us that not only do us two legged creatures need a solid foundation but so too do the organizations that would claim to be spiritual in nature. There are all kinds of metaphors of spiritual stability but I would suggest that we Quakers have been called to be supported by a three legged stool with the legs being fellowship, service and connection to the Divine. In my case the divine is Jesus but I don't think that the Divine cares how a meeting understands its connection to him so long as they are connected. I also think that the beauty of a Quaker fellowship is that not everyone has to be connected to the divine anymore than everyone has to be living a life of service or in strong fellowship with his or her fellow friends. Of course the stronger each leg is, the heavier the meeting that they can support, but a three legged stool is going to provide stability at least up to some size. The key is to reduce the wobble by making the legs equal. If a meeting is strong on service it needs to expand more of its energy on balancing itself. Like riding a unicycle. If it has two legs it's a bicycle or motorcycle which has to watch out for sand when it makes a turn. If a meeting is proud of its spirituality but does not feed the hungry or clothe the naked it will find itself in a Matthew 25 situation. And while too much partying is never a good thing, we need to share in the joys, trials and tribulations of our fellow travelers to understand our humanness and its need for companionship. Not only our need but the need of the underprivileged so that service flows not from a legalistic or intellectual spring but from that river within us that never runs dry. When we dwell in the glory of the Divine presence and stay there it's like damning a river. We can let it out in spurts to power the downstream villages but before we do that we destroy local villages and trees and habitat. Eventually silt starts to gather at the bottom, silt that used to provide life giving nutrients to our neighbors. Silt that kills off oxygen needed by the inhabitants of the water flowing from that God given source and then a clogging even of that source. I once tasted of the divine so much that I wanted to damn it up and I would have if the choice was mine. But one day God said it was time to move on and flow in his presence rather than float in it. Floating was easier. I didn't have to worry about direction, rocks, obstacles, waterfalls. But flowing was more useful to Him.
So no leg is self sufficient unto itself. That's why man invented the cane and God created Eve because it wasn't good for man to be alone.