New Essay at Abiding Quaker: The Best Gift of Life

The following excerpt is from an essay titled "The Best Gift of Life." The full essay can be found at Abiding Quaker.

For more than half a century, clear-sighted Friends have been pointing to signs of spiritual distress in our Society. Many of them have been scholars, who have offered sound analysis of the cause and progress of this decline, but we’ve had too few personal stories documenting it. This account is one but is typical of many, as Adria Giulizia points out in her description of the steps by which contemporary “managers of vineyard” (Mark 12) silence the prophets among them. She writes:

When the prophet challenges us with uncomfortable truths, rather than using our discomfort as an opportunity for reflection and discernment, we tell her to tone it down, complain that she is “unwelcoming” and, if she doesn’t get the message, we run her off (“Welcoming the Gifts God Sends Us”).

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Comment by Keith Saylor on 3rd mo. 19, 2019 at 1:55pm

A response to Adria's article:

Hello Adria,

While I am not part of the visible Church, I am a member of the invisible Church through the appearance of the immanent Presence of Christ in my conscience. This inshining experience is discovered to me a different way somewhat expressed in 1 Cor. Chapter 13. I am come to sometimes express this way as the christonomous way. The christonomous way is come into an experience of the immediate presence of the Spirit of Christ in the conscience and consciousness as sufficient itself in itself to rule and govern and organize relationships and interactions between people. This is not a communal way nor an autonomous way.

In the immediate and constant (relatively speaking) presence of Christ in our consciousness, christonomous people experience that self sustaining presence itself in the conscience as sufficient in itself, so that the outward instrumentalities manifested through gifts of the spirit no longer serve a place for them personally. The inshining Spirit itself in itself is the christonomous persons's guide, teacher, prophet, etc. Mark: Instrumentalities no longer serve a place for those who are come into the sufficiency of the Life itself to guide and inform their relationships and interactions. This is not to suggest that the gifts of the spirit, and those through whom those gifts are manifest, do not have a place and are not valid; especially in the visible chruch and those who participate and identify with it. Paul even begins 1 Cor. Chapter 14 with an admonishment to "covet spiritual gifts."

Through the gift of the immanent and self-sustaining presence of Jesus Christ in my conscience I am come out of the process of being guided and informed through outward prophesy, teaching, tradition etc., through outward instrumentalities, in my relations and interactions with people. Christ's immanent presence is my church (meeting house), prophet, teacher and so on. I am come to "know even as I am known" in the face of God ( 1 Cor. 13:12.)

For many people in this world and some who call themselves by the name Quaker, it is not that they deny or oppose the instrumentalities of Christ. It is that the inshining Presence itself in itself has discovered to them a different immanent way that is brought them out of the very process of being guided and informed by outward instrumentalities. Through the inshining Light, Christ is become prophet, teacher, and leader immanently or inherently and the influence of instrumentalities has passed away.

It is true, opposition to the gifts of the spirit of Christ manifested through instrumentalities works toward hindering the spiritual impulse of Christ, so to does opposition to those to whom it is discovered an immanent manifestation of the Spirit directly and sufficiently itself in itself in the conscience trample the prerogative and impulse of Christ to rule directly without the mediation of instrumentalities. There are a people in the world who are come into this immanent and experiential (christonomous) relationship with Jesus Christ. To my understanding, it is the process of coming into opposition against the insturmentalities that manifests a spirit of contention and strife out of the life itself. Likewise with being in opposition to those who are led out of the process of identification with and participation in outward instrumentalities to guide and inform their relationships with people and God.

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