I've posted on my blog a short piece that should be of interest to the Quaker Quaker community. It's about an exercise that a diverse group of friends did at a workshop conducted by Marge Abbot, of our Multnomah Monthly Meeting and Peggy Parsons of Freedom Friends. You can read it at theredelectric.blogspot.com.

My little essay begins with God's describing himself to Moses thus: "I am that I am."


Views: 42

Comment by Forrest Curo on 6th mo. 15, 2009 at 8:04pm
Quakers may be only what we are... but we may also be called to become more than that.

The meaning of what Moses heard... was far more than "I is what I is."

To say that it means "I am (the fact) that I exist" is to get part of the message, that the God we need but can't see is an existent reality. Moses in the story is, after all, asking for a name to inspire confidence in a whole group of people he expects will prove resigned to their slavery, unable to believe that anything whatsoever exists able and willing to free them.

But what it ultimately means is a lot easier to get than it is to say (and not that easy to say.) The fact of your existence... not the existence of that human being we see from outside, called "Rick" (or "Forrest" or whomever), but the existence of what looks out from your eyes, sees these typed words, considers them (perhaps) nonsense--whatever you may be like, whatever you may be seeing or thinking about it... God, in one of Raymond Smullyan's dialogues, describes himself as ~"more like the act of seeing than like anything you might see." If you turn around to see him looking, he turns to look and there's nothing to be seen, only the looking.
Comment by Rick Seifert on 6th mo. 16, 2009 at 12:42am
First, I have a very practical question that is quite remote from Forrest's response. I have managed to misspell Marge Abbott's last name and would like to fix that. I went to the edit box at the corner of my post as it appears on my home page and nothing happens after I click it. It doesn't allow any corrections. Am I missing something.

Forrest, thanks for your thoughts. I'm sure you agree that God (or "God" as I prefer in my aversion to naming the unnameable) is more than sight. "I am that I am" is every conceivable sense and every inconceivable sense. The known and the unknown. When I write "we are that we are" I don't mean simply Quakers. I mean totality. That unity, that oneness, that joy in the paradox of our polarity. The paradox is that we are one as we explore and understand our polarities.

The workshop, titled "Are we still a dangerous people?" was great, by the way. It addressed fear and slavery and freedom as well as the "enjoyment of paradox."
Comment by Alice Yaxley on 6th mo. 16, 2009 at 5:04am
Hystery >> Still spinning after all these years! I read Mary Daly along with mystic mediaeval saints when I studied at Woodbrooke. Such rich good stuff. You come across Schussler Fiorenza's 'Bread not Stone'? My paraphrase: we as women need to know that God is for us not against us; wants to give us bread not stone.


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