Some Friends make the Christian faith out to be loaded with inhumane “freight” to which its adherents do not admit.  Some Friends regard Christian faith as an unnecessary foundation of the Quaker witness, and/or a hindrance in the testimony of the Society of Friends.  And then there are those who advance the notion that Christian faith is so loaded with semantic ambiguities and contradictions that it is intellectually untenable.

I affirm the validity and credibility of Christian faith and of the Bible.  I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as expressed by the historic creeds.  I further believe that Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate self-disclosure to a fallen humanity, and that His crucifixion and resurrection, and continuing presence as Lord and Savior, indeed the very Word of God, reconcile us to God and open the way to eternal life as we are willing to enter into fellowship with Him.

The basics of Christian faith are not complicated.  One doesn’t need to be well-educated or intellectually gifted to avail oneself of the saving love of Christ or the guidance of His Spirit.  His redeeming witness is available to all, whether peasant or priest, rich man or pauper, learned or “the least of these my brethren.”  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…Blessed are the meek , for they shall inherit the earth…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Finally, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to thy Cross I cling.”

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The problem is that it's not complicated.  The elite always have looked down on the fishermen among them.  All I can say is what you wrote works for me.  I pray that our fellow Quakers have something that works as well for them.  And when I say "works" for me, I mean no anxiety, no guilt, with lots of joy and peace.

Amen!    You'd said "And then there are those who advance the notion that Christian faith is so loaded with semantic ambiguities and contradictions that it is intellectually untenable."

I agree with James.  The Light IS intellectually untenable.  One is not supposed to contain, rationalize, or size up "the Light".  I believe that authentic spiritual experience will by its nature transcend language and thought. 

Coming from a Christian orientation and being a mystic, I find mystical Christianity pierces through to my core -- and that's definitely not an intellectual / rational level but perhaps more of a contact sport.  It's what comes through in that crazy silence (was it Isaiah sharing that story about God's voice being found in the shattering silence, not in the wind, not in the thunder, not in the hurricane...)

It's a devastating inner silence (and peaceful...but some notions will be devastated along the way, like the belief that we can reduce God to something comfortable and to any sort of words or rational ideas.  I have come to think of what I experienced as the Holy Spirit / the Christ / Jesus / God...  all that...but never the words or ideas about those words.  It was simply something unfathomable by the intellect, really.  I'm sorry to go all mystical on you, William, but I guess it's all just to say YES!  

Actually, if a person wants to have a deeper faith...I think knowing that you don't believe in the faith or the miracles or even the God is some good material to work with.  One's own disbelief and intellectual clarity gives a person a lot of room to practice letting go of the ego, letting go of the intellect, and even letting go into something more unruly and Divine than our own limited thinking.  My struggle with my Christian faith over the years has given me much spiritual practice at surrender!   Why not try believing in Christ as the Messiah for the sheer spiritual healing power of letting go of all your objections and ego issues.   It's a great spiritual path for those who need to keep trying to get over their ego about all these details. 

Perhaps "outsiders" would like to know that Christian people who let go into God or love Jesus Christ as Messiah or (fill in the blank) aren't necessarily any different than you!  Just may have been practicing letting go, of the very same beliefs and doubts against the Christian faith, longer than you have.

Is this coherent, this stuff I'm saying?  I hope so. (not rational but at least coherent?)

After letting go of all concepts and books and doctrines and theories and theologies, I am left with the same yearning and awe that I suppose Jesus also had (has).  It has always been there inside me, as it is within all of humankind.  I am drawn to that Love and Light as my home, my comfort, my true being.  And when I need images for my mind to refocus on that, I see the radiance of the eternal Jesus before me, and I am grateful for that.

This says it all for me, leaving me spiritually full and satisfied.

Yet, within me I have developed a humility that I believe Jesus had (has), where when encountering others that exhibit that eternal Love and Light - I have no need to wonder if they use the same image I do of 'the radiance of the eternal Jesus' when their intellect/mind needs an image of that Love and Light.  This "humility" aspect is what for me distinguishes liberal Quakerism from so many other faith traditions within Christianity.  And that is why I am drawn to it.

All is One, and there is One Source of that eternal Love and Light.  We all come together in it.  Our awareness of that for our own reconciliation to it, is the great universal message of our dear brother Jesus.  And a beautiful message it is!

I am having an ego problem today.  I clicked "like" to see who had liked my post, and got embarrassed by being listed as an admirer of my own post--which of course I am, but I wanted to keep that secret!

Did God like it? (Not to say that God didn't like it... but isn't that a more important question than whether or not we did?)

There's also chewing one's cud, ie going over good phrases in one's head afterwards to see whether they were really that good! Or whether they were maybe somehow flawed, open to unexpected misunderstandings! Not necessarily a vice -- but one could spend so much time thinking about what one just thought that one never, ever gets time to think the next thought. (I'm so glad I'm not like that!)

Hi William!

a) What a perfectly appropriate post to have this issue arise on!  Right as we were talking about ego exercise!  ha   I have made the same mistake myself.  The internet gives us plenty of opportunities to humiliate our egos too!

Good for laughs and thank you for sharing.

Also b)  When I see someone liking their own post, I consider the circumstances (on some online sites you have to "like" it to get the system to share your post with others).   On QQ I usually like to imagine that the person was filled with the Spirit and... with the innocence of a child...just joyfully liked their own post. 

You're welcome to all of that, the ego and the innocence.



William F Rushby said:

I am having an ego problem today.  I clicked "like" to see who had liked my post, and got embarrassed by being listed as an admirer of my own post--which of course I am, but I wanted to keep that secret!

Hi Bill,

It's good to like yourself!  Just for the record, I like you too and all the spirit-filled things you take the time to share with us!   Thank you for being our F(f)riend!

Howard


 Thanks, Howard, for the kind words.  I hope we are able to meet face-to-face someday.  Bill Rushby

Hi Bill,

I agree the basics of Christian faith are not difficult / intellectual (or should not seen to be), but I am often reminded being a disciple and discerning (that many of us Friends place a lot more emphasis on in comparison to other denomination) is sometimes even harder still.

However, is this not why QuakerQuaker exists, to help us revive primitive Christianity again … or have I misunderstood something?

Blessings

Christopher

Thank you Olivia for your passionately open embrace of Christianity. And thank to Christopher for the reminder to balance with discernment. 

William, I just made a worse blunder with the 'like' button. Thought I was reviewing my previous likes and ended up liking my own profile. I guess it's good to like oneself, but I sure wish there was a undo button. 


 Hello, Stephanie!

I noticed that you made the same mistake, but it called your profile to my attention and I enjoyed reviewing it.

Stephanie -- is this a situation where if you press that button again when you're on your profile page it will "unlike"?   (And if it does, do you want to "unlike" or just leave it?)   Thanks for the feedback and for your own passionate embrace of a Christianity that has integrity.

I do feel that it's important that Christianity be able to really be spoken here.

I'm also wanting to point out -- because of my own concern about those who feel like an outsider to this conversation --  that with my words I have aimed to allow space for someone who feels called to a different faith journey that gives them a chance to develop spiritually in ways that Christianity in our society doesn't support well enough:  Buddhism, for example, actually provides one profound levels of insight and experience with suffering...in ways that I feel like Jesus embodied but didn't preach as fully (or they didn't make it into the final cut of our Bible). 

I wish that language had made it in there since it would help our society to steer more clear of those who want Christianity to be a path of financial abundance and one in which you don't have to suffer WITH people and get to judge them.  

I believe that God and even Christ speaks to people in their own language and sometimes that's through a faith called one thing and sometimes that's through a faith called something else.  Christ being a Spirit and a Spiritual truth and a divine flow, not just a word.

Thanks, all, for allowing me space to name that... now please feel free to continue with the Jesus love fest which is much needed and always welcome!

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