At the time of the early debates regarding the Eucharist, the all-too-commercial desire for a win-win arrangement was harnessed by having/controlling the Real Presence of Christ. The Catholic Church claimed an ordained mandate to "Transubstantiation". In particular, a "win" for priests having the ability to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, as well as a "win" for communicants receiving/possessing Christ - by hand rather than by heart.

Wrongly interpreting Luke 17:21 as "the Kingdom of God is(now) within you", instead of the accurate translation "the Kingdom of God is in your midst", the win-win benefit was propagated for Catholic worship. Protestantism corrected this expediency regarding Jesus' response to the self-justifying Pharisee by postulating "Consubstantiation". But, it did not take long for the Win-Win to re-appear as "(that of)God in everyone".

Now, all that is necessary to have/possess the divine/Christ is to look within oneself.

"The Presence in the midst" is seen as a religious entitlement rather than a disturbing reminder of our original poverty/sin. And, the desire to justify ourselves with a win-win arrangement is the same hypocrisy that allows us to claim both our ability to have and to use Christ in our worship of Self.

"For what is thought highly of by men is loathsome in the sight of God."(Lk. 16:15)

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Comment by Tony Smith on 9th mo. 1, 2014 at 11:10pm

I found your Win-Win article to be thought provoking and highly controversial. It is obvious that you are a student of theology. So the details of your statements may be beyond the scope of the casual reader on this forum. I am surprised you did not receive more comments. Nevertheless, I found your challenges of the basic doctrines of Quakerism to be quite troubling especially by characterizing them as hypocrisy. As a follow up question, can you suggest what corrections you would make to the Quaker doctrine to be in line with Luke 17:21 but still maintain the Win-Win equation?

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 9th mo. 2, 2014 at 7:14am

It is with the other Lucan reference that we cross the line and want to have our cake(direct access to God) and eat it too(but only what we want, when we want it), as contemporary "Win-Win" theory.

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 2, 2014 at 2:38pm

the expression "That of God in everyone" doesn't necessarily imply access to God or that God is enjoying being within any particular person or group of persons.  If God is in everything he created by either His word or breath that doesn't put us in any better a position than a slug.  I don't think anyone wins when God is in everyone because it puts everyone on the level of the lowest sinner, which maybe is a win win for God and anyone who wants to preach the need for redemption.  As for transubstantiation I think the Catholic Church only talks about that to its older members who are not aware of dna tests.:)

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 2, 2014 at 10:44pm

Hey, Tony Smith: is the phrase "Quaker Doctrine" a sort of oxymoron?  I was expecting you to make jokes about woman's suburban fashion, by the way.  Yeah, that would be within the scope of my blunted awareness, I guess, suburban fashion!  Proper suburban fashion.  I kind of though, Tony, that you were a bit of a jokester by some of your replies to Clem, but you seem serious here The odd thing is, the purpose of a discussion website is to discuss.  But here we are,  Quakers.  If we were in Meeting,  I would restrain myself when someone spoke, and try not to get into a theological argument. Alas here,  attempts at restraint have failed on my part many a time.  Sometimes I wonder when I hear someone's message and I don't want to reply, it is the Quaker practice, respectfully sitting in silence.  Also the tradition of not wanting to make this a "faith of scholars"  (Help me scholars, with who said that and how they said it exactly.)

Anyway, Clem,  I did hear in silence your commence about Presence in the Midst, and the difference between that and the cozy feeling of self-love in meditation.  I mean that's what I took from it and felt comforted by.   

Comment by Forrest Curo on 9th mo. 3, 2014 at 12:00am

That God lives within each person is simply true by intuition and observation. What people make of ideas and metaphors about this actuality -- is another matter.

"God is not a concept of God"; so trying to fit our concept of God into a concept of what human beings are or of what we suppose human beings ought to be -- can easily confuse people unnecessarily. Far too easily.

If you find "Who is this I really am?" -- at a level deeper than "who I think I am", then you've got something worth talking about. That has nothing to do with collecting experiences, not of any sort, but with seeing and knowing what sees and knows. This might conceivably mean knowing that reality perfectly -- but is far more likely, for most of us poorsouls, to mean an imperfect, but developing, reliance on God to provide whatever it takes to bring us closer.

Comment by Clem Gerdelmann on 9th mo. 3, 2014 at 8:21am

Laura, "Tony" is just Antin-omy personified(he knows what I mean). Glad you found the correct understanding/comfort in this post.

Comment by Tony Smith on 9th mo. 3, 2014 at 10:00am

Very good!!

antinomy[an-tin-uh-mee] /ænˈtɪn ə mi/ 1. opposition between one law, principle, rule, etc., and another. 2. Philosophy. a contradiction between two statements, both apparently obtained by correct reasoning.

Discussion is a good thing. But to make that happen your writings need to connect with more readers. It is painful (for me) to see that articles here about women’s summer fashions will have 10-20 times the view counts and responses than the articles you have posted. Hook them with something entertaining then add the serious thought provoking subject matter.

Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 3, 2014 at 11:00am

Sorry Tony that you are bothered by the concern about how some Friends express their testimony in how they dress.  Let us hope you won't have the calling of peculiar dress put on you!   

Comment by Forrest Curo on 9th mo. 3, 2014 at 1:48pm
Comment by Laura Scattergood on 9th mo. 3, 2014 at 2:03pm

The thing is, I sometimes feel that let's say certain religious bodies, that will remain unnamed, perhaps they might publish a sort of employment offered ad on their web page, perhaps looking to hire a Deity, if that Deity, can show themselves worthy.  And the Deity would have to pass certain tests, make certain statements that were in harmony with the mission and values of the unnamed religious body.   If the Deity had a different agenda from time to time that Deity would be of course summarily dismissed!   I have said before that there are certain times in certain Meetings that I go away so starved.   I realize that a lot of people come to some form of "Quakerism" because they have been mistreated by often twisted representations of Christ in other religious groups, and therefore there is a sort of  Christophopia.   I have also said, that if I just want to sit in pleasant silence with decent, educated, progressive, kind persons, who I am likely to agree with on a majority of social and political and philosophical points, and to calm myself and be with my own counsel,  I might as well sit all day in the library.  Not that there isn't some nourishment in this quiet taking of one's own counsel, it is just that it isn't enough.  Also, my experiences with what I will refer to as an unnamed "Deity", well it turns out that a lot of unexpected and amazing things have happened that I don't think I would have ever initiated or consented to, in that reassuring quiet counsel of my self.  I do not disrespect the "Self" for what it is, and for what it can do and create, it  is just that I don't think,  "that's all there is."   I remember the worst song that used to play on the radio when I was small,  "Is that all there is?" This nihilistic whine about is that all there is to life?  Is this all there is to the Divine?  What we can imagine, compartmentalize, control?  No, indeed.


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