"Let us labor for an inward stillness--
An inward stillness and an inward healing.
That perfect silence where the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks to us and we wait
In singleness of heart that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits,
That we may do His will and do that only”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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It's a fair question, Jim.  As mentioned previously I'm a long-term Buddhist but also feel strongly drawn to Quakers, hence my questions - basically I'm agnostic about God and I'm trying to work out how that fits with being a Quaker.  I've now met quite a few Quakers at various meetings, but haven't as yet met who have said they are non-theist - though I have experienced some wide variations in the way that people think about God.

I don't understand your point about non-theists trying to "undermine" Quakerism or being "evangelical".  Could you give some examples of how this is happening?

Jim Wilson said:

I also like the way you put it about non-theism finding a 'home'.  One of the things that baffles me about non-theist Quakers is that there are many locations where they could find a congenial home; e.g. Zen Buddhism in its western garb.  And there are secular associations where non-theists would easily fit in.  It baffles me that non-theists would join an explicitly theistic tradition and then try to undermine it in such a thorough way.  Your observation, though, that non-theists have become 'evangelical' helps to comprehend their approach. 

Jim

Have you any evidence for these assertions, Ray?  I haven't come across any of these "evangelicals".

 Lovegrove said:

Furthermore, particularly in the UK, we have a new brand of 'evangelical non-theism' that is working under the misapprehension that they are the 'new-order', and that Christian Quakerism is a thing of the past. Friends I think that the problem needs addressing.

I do apologize Spiny:

After I sent my note to you. .  I realized that what I would have preferred to say, had I had time to compose my thoughts. . and not been in a hurry. .  (as I'm at work as I send this, so only limited amounts of time to read or write back). . . was. . .

 

God (or the consciousness that is God) exists whether or not we believe .  so dear one, belief in God is at your own discretion of course.  The flower blooms whether or not we see it or smell its fragrance. ..  each of us sleeps no matter what our faiths is . .  what our beliefs are. .  we all live and breathe, and that is good.  To become free. . . .enlightened. . . or aware . . . liberated. . .however you prefer to call it. . . I accept all of that as right and proper.  Developing a quiet mind is key. . . a gentle silence. . . and an open heart.    Is this more in alignment with you then?

We're all at different levels on the path. . . and as our levels increase. . so does our awareness and our acceptance - - particularly for those not so invested in throwing their egos around.  Ego should be the first to go, of course. 

Is this more harmonious to you then?   Thank you for allowing me to clarify.   

 


 
Spiny Norman said:

Chris, from the perspective of Buddhist meditation I'm familiar with the approach of accessing higher ( transcendental ) states of consciousness, but these experiences aren't dependent on a belief in God.  It's possible that we're talking about similar experiences but using different language, but I'm still not clear as to why you think a belief in God is necessary to experience pure consciousness ( or whatever ).

chris Beauchamp said:

Of course Spiny. . . belief in God is imperative.   They are the same. .  God is pure consciousness.. .  God is Truth. . . .God is Reality Itself.    God is all of that and more. . 



 

 

Agreed Spiny.  Many cling to beliefs learned in childhood. . and never progress from that - - or minds remain child-like.  So we give up our diapers and baby bottles when no longer needed. . . but those same people still cling to outworn ideas and attitudes, much like children.   In that regard, many in this group are very much like other closed religious.  They only think they're different - - and call themselves different.  Narcissus reigns, as does competition and control.   

 

I wanted more however. . and kept searching, studying.   It is clear you did as well. 

 


 
Spiny Norman said:

I agree, Chris, and I place great value on having an open mind.  Sadly though I don't see that with some of the other contributors here.

Chris Beauchamp said:

We must be open to learn . . .there is always more. . . which gives us access to higher understandings.   They are not easily transferred to human words..   but we communicate in words. . so we try our best to convey something  that is almost impossible to do.    I know my words are not appropriate enough.  

 

 

 

It reminds me Spiny of a conversation I had with a Catholic girlfriend of many years I had some time ago.  She was still enmeshed in her 3rd grade Catholicism . . . only now she was about 60 something years old. . . so not terribly attractive were her limiting beliefs to me.  

 

I asked her if she ever saw photos of the solar system. . . and of course she had.  I asked if she saw any golden thrones up there . . . in any of those pictures. . . she turned, walked away and never spoke to me again.  My offering of something other than her locked in beliefs scared her too much.     Its very much the same thing.    

 

I love the idea of Quaker Quietness. . . but find it is just an idea. . .     Lovely talking to you.
 
Spiny Norman said:

I agree, Chris, and I place great value on having an open mind.  Sadly though I don't see that with some of the other contributors here.

Chris Beauchamp said:

We must be open to learn . . .there is always more. . . which gives us access to higher understandings.   They are not easily transferred to human words..   but we communicate in words. . so we try our best to convey something  that is almost impossible to do.    I know my words are not appropriate enough.  

 

 

 

Chris Beauchamp wrote:

"Agreed Spiny.  Many cling to beliefs learned in childhood. . and never progress from that - - or minds remain child-like.  So we give up our diapers and baby bottles when no longer needed. . . but those same people still cling to outworn ideas and attitudes, much like children.   In that regard, many in this group are very much like other closed religious.  They only think they're different - - and call themselves different.  Narcissus reigns, as does competition and control."

Wow, Chris!  More judgments of others per square inch in this post than in the posts of others you would accuse of being "closed-minded"!  Dogmatism can cloak itself in many different kinds of garments.

   

Sorry Dear William.  It would not offend those to whom it does not fit.  Insult or injury was not intended. . just stating fact as I observe it. . . since fact is All Important here - - whether or not facts are known or can be proven, they are demanded!    Its absurd really.     

Dogmatism is unimportant to me.  It is only a means of control. . . and I have no interest in controlling anyone.  Nor am I interested in being controlled by anyone.  I'm too old for such nonsense. . . and so are many here.  . . . its just a worn out useless game. 

Hopefully you were not offended by my above words.  If they bring about awareness to anyone, that could be a good thing. 

 

Hello, Chris!

Actually, I am offended by your words because they belittle the genuine convictions of others.  You wrote in very general terms, so one cannot be sure what you mean by "childlike minds" or "outworn ideas and attitudes", or who you think is stuck in an infantile frame of mind.  The tone of your posts strikes me as being very arrogant, and you condemn others without bothering even to explain the specific reasoning behind your denunciations.

Bill Rushby

And Bill you can choose to be offended if you prefer.  It is your choice.    Unless we are sitting down in conversation. . most words spoken here are general at best.    That's all they can be.  And there is no emotion in a word. . .or a sentence..  or phrase.

 

Not very much offends me. . life is too short.  Acceptance is much gentler. 

 

When someone does not understand... . . they see it as arrogance. . which it is not.  If memory serves, Jesus was also often seen in the same light. . not that I'm comparing myself with him. . but I am named after him.   

 

I'm sharing words, that's all. .  words.  They actually have no meaning at all, but what we, individually, give them. 

There have long been people who say that the Truth is not the Truth. In the old days we might have said they were sent by the Enemy.

Chris Beauchamp said:

Greetings Jim:

This would be the first time I've been called modern.   I can tell you that 'modernist' does not fit me.  I'm old as dirt . . .and my beliefs and attitudes are likewise. 

So I would ask. . . are you sure?  And then I would suggest you go back and research some more. .   It is out there dear one.  Continue to research and you will find that and much more.  

 



Jim Wilson said:

Good Morning Chris:

Your view of Jesus is not the view that the Quaker founders had.  Your view is a new, modernist, interpretation.  I don't think it is supported by any evidence.  The earliest New Testament documents, the letters of Paul, are clear on the divinity of Jesus.  Likewise the Gospels articulate this message very clearly.  I don't see any evidence that the appelation 'Christ' was given 'much later'; it appears to have been used from the very beginning, even during the lifetime of Jesus.

Best wishes,

Jim
 
Chris Beauchamp said:

He was simply Jesus of Nazareth.  Christ was an Honorarium. . . given to him much later.  

He was not born Jesus the Christ. .  but studied with other Masters to fulfill this role as a world teacher.  A  role in which he tore apart people's assumptions and beliefs.  


 

More nonsense.

Spiny Norman said:

Chris, from the perspective of Buddhist meditation I'm familiar with the approach of accessing higher ( transcendental ) states of consciousness, but these experiences aren't dependent on a belief in God.  It's possible that we're talking about similar experiences but using different language, but I'm still not clear as to why you think a belief in God is necessary to experience pure consciousness ( or whatever ).

chris Beauchamp said:

Of course Spiny. . . belief in God is imperative.   They are the same. .  God is pure consciousness.. .  God is Truth. . . .God is Reality Itself.    God is all of that and more. . 



 

 

I am sorry for you Chris and will do my best to pray for your eventual convincement of the Truth. It is really incredible to see the notion that words mean nothing, yet from the same person the assertion that those they don't agree with are "childish" or that people's words show them to be not "open minded".

Do you really think that Christ is a sort of 1960s flower child, who wants to accept everyone as they are, who does not demand that people at least try to stop fooling themselves and that the Truth is not the Truth?

Yes, it's hard to be Christian and I have a long way to go and maybe will never be an example to others. But at least I am not trying to lead people away from God and towards an ethic that is only human.

TL

Chris Beauchamp said:

And Bill you can choose to be offended if you prefer.  It is your choice.    Unless we are sitting down in conversation. . most words spoken here are general at best.    That's all they can be.  And there is no emotion in a word. . .or a sentence..  or phrase.

 

Not very much offends me. . life is too short.  Acceptance is much gentler. 

 

When someone does not understand... . . they see it as arrogance. . which it is not.  If memory serves, Jesus was also often seen in the same light. . not that I'm comparing myself with him. . but I am named after him.   

 

I'm sharing words, that's all. .  words.  They actually have no meaning at all, but what we, individually, give them. 

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