This Pendle Hill Pamphlet I found when I had a moment to dig in Woodbrooke library this weekend is amazing. It's called "Getting rooted: Living in the cross - a path to joy and liberation". PHP #391 by Brian Drayton. One of those texts I where I was saying yes! Yes! to it whilst reading. Because it seems like Drayton's writing about that same Christian experience I try to witness to, badly as I do it.

Check out this bit: Drayton's writing about 1 Cor 2:1-5 (which I have belatedly realized must be one of the texts that informs the reluctance of Quakers to rely on any kindof rhetoric, preferring naked, honest speech to cleverness.)

"Two phrases in particular seem very useful for understanding what it means to "live in the Cross":
(1) knowing "Jesus Christ and him crucified," which I will adress in this section; and (2) "demonstration of the Spirit and of power," standing in the power of God rather than "the wisdom of men," which I will return to in the next section.

Friends have always preached that the core of this experience ("knowing Jesus Christ") is not a notional doctrine about Jesus's substitutionary death on the cros outside Jerusalem wiping away the pain of sin for me and you, but rather that Christ, present in spirit, continues the ministry that we see Jesus enacting in the Gospels, inviting us to cooperate. In fact, Friends have taught that if we are to benefit from the Christ event, we must experience it in our own lives, day by day, as way opens. As James Nayler said, "If I cannot witness Christ nearer than Jerusalem, I shall have no benefit by him."

The first Friends had a powerful sense of the presence of the Christ life at work in everyone - though to some degree, this life was oppressed, a suffering seed in those who were not faithful. This life of God in all could be reached and encouraged, and even the smallest positive response on our part would mean more power being made available to us - power as well as light. Isaac Pennington assures us that

as the soul turns from the power of darkness and death,
towards the power of the eternal Spirit of light; so the
power meets it, embraces it, appears to it, and manifests
itself in it, proportionable to its present capacity and
condition. And as the soul, being touched with the living
virtue, gives up itself to believe, and to trust the power
which draws; so the power manifests itself in the heart ...

To put it in other words: living in the Cross means participating in a process of liberation from things, feelings, and beliefs that may give us a sense of security, but that also keep us bound and compelled in need and fear, In a spiritual sense, it implies carrying our cross to the point of the death of some aspects of ourselves so that God can raise up new Life in us. "
--End Quote

Seriously, three of our GBP for such juicy words? And there's loads more even. I would go home, sell all that I have, and buy the field I found it in. Those who have eyes to see, ears to hear ... etc. Ok I'm joking around now, but it's the joy and liberation of hearing good truth.

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Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 5, 2009 at 2:22pm
I wish I'd seen the pamphlet; I really like Drayton (On Living With a Concern for Gospel Ministry), even though I'm not much for cross-terminology. Jesus didn't want to go there, and I'm with him on that! (Now if I can also agree that "A person's gotta do what a person's gotta do," when that gets hard to sustain!)

Well. We are talking about taking off our false selves, in the same sense as when you said that public prayer was a way to be 'spiritually naked.'

So describing this as a requirement that we hang around some nasty cross until we hurt... That isn't very enticing. The Son of Man came drinking & pigging out, for as long as they'd let him! While I can't deny that we sometimes need to suffer in that process of liberation, it really isn't one of the selling points.

There was an old 60's poster: "You can fly! But that cocoon has got to go!" Maybe more encouraging, but not much use in telling us what has to change....

Getting back to Jesus... Do we need to keep becoming like little children? But very wise little children, not so much childish as... spiritually naked?

found this this morning, from Rumi via Coleman Barks:

"If you're not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,
and sleep."


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