Part of my responsibilities as clerk of Ministry and Worship are to compile an annual report. In it, my Monthly Meeting seeks to attain the Spiritual State of the Meeting. The past several years, we’ve relied upon an online survey to gather information from members and regular attenders. It has encouraged greater participation and honesty. The anonymity of the internet produces strongly felt opinions one would not ordinarily hear in day-to-day conversation. 

Our challenges are not uncommon to many urban Meetings. Though small by orthodox Christian standards, the Meeting is one of the ten largest in the North America, if not the world. Perhaps unavoidably, a wide divergence of opinion fragments the Meeting into factions. Here, the Christian sits uneasily on benches beside the damaged-by-Christianity. The adamant theist speaks into the same silence as the agnostic seeker. In theory, each of these sub-groups is made stronger by the presence of the other. In practice, the effect is often more isolating than unifying.

I have to say I've never believed in all of the ideals of conventional liberalism. It is important, I agree, to provide Friends an avenue to personal expression and communion with God. Yet, I must also concede that we now live in an increasingly Post-Christian world. Our grandparents memorized certain scriptural passages, spent many Sundays at church, and were thoroughly familiar with Christian language and biblical stories. Now, I fear we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

One could make a case that, even then, many people went through the motions, without much conviction toward God or any belief in a higher power. But in any case, it is true that much of my generation has been raised to not see much value in religion. Generations that follow me are even more skeptical, more inclined to see religion as a destructive force that stifles individual liberty. Right-wing Christianity is said to speak for all of Christendom, which is simply untrue.

Centuries of helpful Christian spiritual tools and modes of belief are simply not available to people who are too busy running away from Christianity. What bothers me most are those who have cut themselves off from a potential loving source of great Spiritual contentment. I am afraid that liberal Friends are becoming a group of people who think that Quakerism has no firm and fixed beliefs. In this way of thinking, as long as one does no overt harm, he or she is okay in this world.

The hectic pace of a workaholic city, if not a workaholic culture provides us little time to discern a spiritual infrastructure. Ego and unbelief is destroying us, because some of us have opted to choose God on our terms instead of seeking the Light of the Divine. The Light will reveal itself beyond our human, imperfect requirements of what God must be. We must fight the impulse to think that God must be tangible and provable, despite the fact that the mystery of Divinity is central to our faith. 

In effect, it is not Light we are seeking, but instead the hope and desire that we will not have to see the Light. If we live in darkness, we are off the hook. And should we keep this attitude, we will be utterly blind to any sort of Divine impact in our lives. Any human concept of God is, at best, an approximation and an Idol. Doctrine and Absolutism is idolatry. God can only be found in mystical experience, though we must first search for him.

Views: 128

Tags: God, Light, Spirit, cabaretic, liberal, report

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 2nd mo. 7, 2013 at 6:59am

Indeed, the ancient book is again our guide to seeing the futility of building upon wagging/different tongues(Tower of Babel story) to connect with our higher purpose. Hope is only sustained by the truth(verifiable from within each person, not automaton) that God takes the initiative in loving and seeking us - even as we run to the mall.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 2nd mo. 17, 2013 at 12:18am

Thee speaks my mind, Kevin.

Comment

You need to be a member of QuakerQuaker to add comments!

Join QuakerQuaker

Tip Jar

If you learn more about Friends and find joy and spiritual growth in the conversations here on QuakerQuaker, please consider supporting the ministry with a monthly subscription.


You can also make a one-time donation or get us something from our Amazon wishlist.

Latest Activity

Anne Lee updated their profile
2 hours ago
Paul Klinkman commented on Kevin Camp's blog post 'Today's Untouchables: Sex Offenders'
"We're discussing the worst child abusers here.  A dumb kid who goes much too far on a…"
9 hours ago
Diane Dicranian liked Martin Kelley's video
9 hours ago
Clem Gerdelmann commented on H. Wayne Williams's blog post 'Let us practice positation'
"It's not just coincidence that commercial advertising calls upon the childish as the Kingdom…"
11 hours ago
Profile IconQuakerQuaker.org

Choosing the food we eat (and the chemicals it's soaked in) for "Eco-Lent"

Cherice Bock continues her series on food and ecology: "Although Friends don't practice the… See More
12 hours ago
Profile IconQuakerQuaker.org

True peace and the Inward Principle is still with us

Keith Saylor talks about connecting with the spiritual message of a 17th century Friend: "It is… See More
12 hours ago
H. Wayne Williams posted a video

Hoot's Pastoral Care Plan

for ESR's Pastoral Spirituality Class, Thanks Brent Walsh for many of your images, too!
14 hours ago
H. Wayne Williams posted a blog post

Let us practice positation

"But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer…See More
15 hours ago

Seen on Twitter

Quakers

© 2014   Created by QuakerQuaker.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service