Post below reposted and adapted from my comment to the discussion following Richard Gordon Zyne's recent post here about his translation of the Taoist scripture.
I'm interested by my reaction to people posting extensively or leaning heavily on from other holy books - not our own scripture - here on Quaker Quaker. I wanted to ask for more explanation of why that is relevant to in this space where we are attempting to be Quakers together, and I guess I didn't do that in a very skillful manner.
It's when we start talking about "how does this help us be Quaker" that's when this place gets interesting for me. If the Eternal Source is Universal, why not speak from the scriptures that have been entrusted to us? It's a model I'm finding useful at the moment that a deeper engagement with our own tradition can teach us as much, if not more, as importing other texts. When I find an inspiration from another faith, the obligation I feel is to come back to our own faith and find where it is. Even saying "I find the Tao speaks to me of xyz which I find it hard to hear in scripture" is an attempt to engage with the reality of the Quaker church, our root in Christ.
The promptings of love and truth in me invite me to stay close to the root, Christ Jesus amongst us. My queries about this come from a love of our rich spiritual heritage and a confidence in the possibility of finding that Life amongst us. I think words are important, to encourage and remind each other to return to the Word amongst us; without the words we can all get lost in an empty or nihilistic silence, rather than a pause immersing ourselves in the Living presence of the Risen Christ. The richness comes for me when we honestly engage our differences so we can change each other; I think it's too easy to lapse into quietism, dismiss the importance of the words we use and sit alongside each other in silence unchanged by each other, missing the possibility of communion in Christ.
I think we have an amazing rich heritage. If we don't love and use our own scriptures we risk abandoning them to those who use them for evil, distorting them for the oppression of the weak and the poor and the sick and the disenfranchised. We have been entrusted with a gift of our christian heritage, I don't think anyone else will look after it if we get busy curating the holy scriptures of other faiths? (I'd love to read your fresh Gospel translation or exposition?)
It matters to me that the Way of Jesus is alive. It matters to me that it is Jesus's Way, and I'm part of your community as well, I hope you can hear that I too am attempting to live from the source of Love and Truth. For me, the body of Christ includes all of us, none of us are unwelcome, all will be transformed when we touch the Eternal Source of his living presence.
I guess I don't see that transformation of touching the living source together as an automatic thing. I think we have to all be attempting to do that, and it helps me when I see words used as road signs or flags to indicate that is the attempt. I'm asking you to say more about how it fits in to being Quaker to broaden the stream, to get into the inclusive river where everyone in our church can be part of a conversation, not just those who are deeply involved in interfaith matters.
A big part of my spiritual journey at the moment is about trusting that I can speak from the truth I understand and that others can hear because you are also practicing to stay close to your guide.