Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

In the 3rd verse of the 3rd chapter of the prophet Amos we are asked:

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?  There have been more than a few nights where I cried this scripture out to God because of personal desires to end a relationship.  I would wail in the night with moanings and groanings  citing this scripture thinking it justification for ending a twenty year marriage that had created three children,between the ages of 19 and 14 at that time only to be redirected to Paul's letter to the Corinthians where Chapter 13 reads as follows:

13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The problem encountered by all the Yearly Meetings and Monthly Meetings who insist on severing their association(s) with others is not their lack of agreement on how to interpret the Bible but their lack of "Love one for another".  The same Holy Scriptures that we use to justify our position for leaving (such as my attempt to use Amos 3:3 to divorce my then wife) says in verse 7 above "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."  Some would interpret "all" to mean "almost" even though they can't find a version to justify that interpretation.  No the problem isn't how much we believe in our interpretation, it's how little we love one another.  That's why the "World" doesn't see Christ in us - we don't "have love for one another".  Jesus doesn't ask much of us.  Just to love one another as He loved us.  Paul writes in another place " But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). If He who was without sin could go through the agony of dying on a cross for us with all our weaknesses (even now that we know what He did for us) how much more should we be willing to love a Friend who is willing to break bread with us in spite of having a different understanding of our spiritual journey even to the extent he/she might not acknowledge such a spiritual journey exists?  Jesus never said "they will know you are my disciples by your Theology or Bible knowledge or your degrees".  No it's by our love one for the other.  Adam didn't love Eve when he threw her under the bus back in the day and here we are.  If we ever want to get this thing right it's time to walk the talk, not cite it!

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Comment by Adria Gulizia on 11th mo. 11, 2015 at 10:10am

YES! Thank you, Jim! When we "love one another as Christ loved us" and "in humility count others as better than [our]selves," we'll see a lot of these problem melting away! Having each Friend (or each meeting) independently go by his own (or its own) conscience is Ranterism, not Quakerism, and it certainly isn't following the way of Christ. Individual discernment, corporate discernment - including the shared discernment of a Yearly Meeting - and the witness of the Bible and the lives of the saints through the centuries are the three-legged stool of Quaker discernment.  Cutting even one leg off the stool makes it unable to bear weight. Even if all the elements of discernment are there, if we move forward without love, we are not followers of Christ - period. Being "right" doesn't cut it.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 11th mo. 19, 2015 at 11:03pm

Thank you, James and Adria.


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