I have been reading the book "The Holy Trinity and the law of Three" by Cynthia Bourgeault, a book the computers at Amazon.com said I should read apparently based on the books I have purchased from them in the past.  Not being  familiar with the "law of three" and having my own thoughts on the Holy Trinity I decided to press the button and buy the book.  Imagine my surprise to find the law of three is the basis for Quaker process.  At this point I want to make it clear that the author appears much more RC than Quaker and she makes no reference, at least up to page 160 where I left off, to Quaker Process or Quakers at all.  I'm guessing that in spite of her wealth of knowledge of the law of three and The Work and all things related thereo, she has limited experience with Quakers, so let me give you the shortest possible synopsis of what struck me as apropo.

In short the Law of three involves three (surprise!) points, aspects or parties of or to an issue.  One is the affirmer - think proponent or proposer; the second is the denyer - think doubter or contrarian; and the third is the reconciler - think Clerk.  From the interaction of these three comes a wholly new fourth - think policy or philosophy or creation .  the author uses triangles to demonstrate the law with each point of the triangle assigned to one of the above and the area within the triangle the new creattion.  Integral to the law is that the new creation is not just a compromise but a result on a higher plane than the matter from which it came forth.  The book is quite complicated and deserves more attention than I can give it.  It lost me several times and possibly for good in its last pages when dealing with the Holy Trinity where I personally found the author's reasoning to be flavored by her religious background.  However, with her extensive knowledge of the subject matter I could easily be over my head in trying to understand her writing.

The important thing I took from the book as it affects us in the Quaker community is that we have to work out our differences in the light of the law of three so that we don't just settle for compromise or just quit and agree to separate over an issue but that we must push for that new state of existence for our community that can come from trusting in the Quaker Process we claim to honor.  In her book the author points out that God is always part of the three.  She assigns the role of denyer to God but I believe that is a dis-service.  I believe in the Quaker Process God is in each of us and as we draw near to the new resolution of the question or policy before us the Holy Spirit quickens each of us and uses the Clerk to draw us all into that unity which forms one out of many bringing us into the unity of Christ at that moment.

In any event it's an interesting but challenging book and if nothing else should affirm us in our belief in the validity of the Quaker Process. 

Views: 197

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 7th mo. 27, 2013 at 11:41am

It does sound like a complex book on discernment. I agree that it's odd that she would name God as the denyer. I would have thought reconciler.

BTW, the author attended a Quaker school and is now an Episcopal priest.

Comment by James C Schultz on 7th mo. 27, 2013 at 3:33pm

I missed that.  Thanks.  I do believe she has something.  I just don't know if she is finished with it or there's more to come.  I'm going to finish reading the book and just not judge her assumptions for the rest of the book.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 7th mo. 28, 2013 at 12:05am

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts as you continue reading.

I read her book on centering prayer. That's why I knew her background. In that book, she credits her Quaker school experience as having "patterned into me that prayer was listening to God. "

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 8th mo. 6, 2013 at 7:03am

One person's "law of three" is another century's dialectic/historic process. Alas, for every one century of human existence, there be, comparatively,  just one year of spiritual growth. The "law of three" is how God relates to Friends who are spiritually, at least, but 3-5 years old.   Have fun, then, playing around. 

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 4, 2013 at 8:32pm

Dear Friend Clem:  I'm sorry, i don't understand the point you are trying to make.

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 9th mo. 5, 2013 at 6:26am

cf. "One Person's Junk Is Another's Treasure"

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 6, 2013 at 11:54am

I guess you're right   But it could be like the junk some people buy at a garage sale that turns out to be something valuable to someone who recognizes it for what it is.  I tried to finish the book but unfortunately I think by trying to do more she did less.  I still think it's a good explanation for how the Quaker Process works when it's given a chance to work.


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