I re-post this blog on three other websites, and from last week's entry I have had a number of responses, all asking me to clarify what I meant in my description of how I see God. I still don't have the mental energy for replying to each one individually, so I am putting my reply into this blog post, and I hope it will explain what I mean.

Firstly, I have for a long time been a kind of Unitarian. The way I understand the Trinity is that, just as I am simultaneously mother, daughter and friend, depending on who I am interacting with, so God is simultaneously Father, Son and Comforter in one Being.

I also believe that God is the ultimate Truth, beyond and above time. Whenever someone finds Truth in their hearts and minds, that Truth is of God. That person might say the Truth has been given to them by any one of a number of names - Yahweh, Allah, conscience, Inward Light, Jesus, Buddha, or a bolt from the blue - but Truth is Truth and is indivisible.

We all listen for Truth in our Meeting for Worship. In that context, I don't mind whether you say that you are listening to God, Mother Earth or the Flying Spaghetti Monster - your name for that Truth does not alter the fact of it being Truth.

Our names for whatever reveals the Truth to us are ultimately completely arbitrary, and depend on our upbringing, beliefs and world view. This is why I say that I believe everyone is listening to the Christian God - but if I were Jewish, I would probably believe that we are all ultimately listening to YHWH.

The point is, the names don't matter. They get in the way of our understanding that we are all listening to the one Truth. And this is why I say that Quaker worship is the best chance for peace between the world religions, and between believers and non-believers - because in silence, we are all listening to the same Truth, and we're not upsetting each other and causing rifts by using different names for that Truth.

This is the Truth as revealed to me, and I hope I have been faithful in my description of it.

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Comment by Joel Allen Berndt on 11th mo. 16, 2009 at 10:13am
I loved your statement about how Quaker worship is the best chance for peace between world religions! Especially in this media saturated world, names for things are so charged with personal emotion. Often extremely disparate people become next-door neighbors instantly online, without the benefit of actually coming face to face and, although able to virtually argue their points, lack the reality of seeing the emotions and inflections of human interaction. Words are only symbols for things that are beyond definitions. If I would ask for a piece of paper from someone who uses paper but hasn't heard the English word for "paper" we could both get more and more frustrated with each other until we both have a piece of paper in front of us and can both point to it.
If people could meet face to face, sit in silence for awhile and let the undefinable Spirit be among us I'm sure most of our ego driven definitions would not seem so important.
I am hoping that more people from all different religious backgrounds will see that the Quaker movement is not a quaint throwback to some other age but can be the most vibrant, forward-thinking movement out there.
Comment by Heather Cawte on 11th mo. 16, 2009 at 12:08pm
Thanks, Joel Allen - you said exactly what I mean :D I hope so too.


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