Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church. by A.W. Tozer

I just received  Tozer's posthumously published collection of essays challenging the "business-as-usual" attitude of evangelical churches: *Rut, Rot or Revival*.   I suspect that Tozer is relatively unknown in unprogrammed Quaker circles.  He was (and is by reputation, even in his decease) a distinquished "outlier" among Christians.  His persistent questions and outspoken commentaries on "we've always done it that way" smugness need to receive serious consideration.  Friends are particularly prone to self-congratulation for what is in fact a rather spotty record of faithfulness in our religious calling.   Even with sometimes acknowledged shortcomings in reporting membership statistics, it's not hard to see that the Society of Friends is a declining religious movement; a "tired church" if you will.

Some who read this lament will not want to admit that we have a problem.  But for those who do admit this, what do you think needs to be done to turn things around??  Can you cite examples of meetings where spiritual life and vitality are indisputedly on the upswing?  What can we learn from these trend-challenging fellowships?

What canst thou say?

  

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Dear William,

I am minded to agree with your comments on self-congratulation, and many of us having a somewhat rose-tinted/blinked view of our work / faithfulness.  I have been guilty of this many times (and will be in the future), however my hope (and faith) is that we re-learn on how to identify, share and support our spiritual gifts.

I self-label as a convergent Friend, hoping to rejuvenate / re-invorgate our spiritual lives whilst staying (or trying to) faithful to our traditions and being rooted in the living spirit of Christ and letting Christ into our lives so that he may teach us/show us the way. 

I have been enjoying leading semi-programmed worship in an ecumenical setting, a bit hit and miss at ties, but very occasionally we can feel the spirit of Christ amongst us and I feel there is a thirst for more knowledge about and experience of being in the presence. I am not saying this is the way forward, but I am often told and have come to realise one of my spiritual gifts is in supporting fellowship and bringing people together.

One area that I do see a real need for based on my "limited" experience , is a ministry of healing and how we deal with conflict and abuse/misuse of privileges both within our Worship groups, but also in wider society. From experience, a healing/healed heart is an open heart, one ready to support others in their spiritual lives / journeys.

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Christopher Hatton said:

Dear William,

I am minded to agree with your comments on self-congratulation, and many of us having a somewhat rose-tinted/blinked view of our work / faithfulness.  I have been guilty of this many times (and will be in the future), however my hope (and faith) is that we re-learn on how to identify, share and support our spiritual gifts.

I self-label as a convergent Friend, hoping to rejuvenate / re-invorgate our spiritual lives whilst staying (or trying to) faithful to our traditions and being rooted in the living spirit of Christ and letting Christ into our lives so that he may teach us/show us the way. 

I have been enjoying leading semi-programmed worship in an ecumenical setting, a bit hit and miss at ties, but very occasionally we can feel the spirit of Christ amongst us and I feel there is a thirst for more knowledge about and experience of being in the presence. I am not saying this is the way forward, but I am often told and have come to realise one of my spiritual gifts is in supporting fellowship and bringing people together.

One area that I do see a real need for based on my "limited" experience , is a ministry of healing and how we deal with conflict and abuse/misuse of privileges both within our Worship groups, but also in wider society. From experience, a healing/healed heart is an open heart, one ready to support others in their spiritual lives / journeys.

Christoipher Hatton:  Thanks for your reply!   

William F Rushby said:

+++++

Christopher Hatton said:

Dear William,

I am minded to agree with your comments on self-congratulation, and many of us having a somewhat rose-tinted/blinked view of our work / faithfulness.  I have been guilty of this many times (and will be in the future), however my hope (and faith) is that we re-learn on how to identify, share and support our spiritual gifts.

I self-label as a convergent Friend, hoping to rejuvenate / re-invorgate our spiritual lives whilst staying (or trying to) faithful to our traditions and being rooted in the living spirit of Christ and letting Christ into our lives so that he may teach us/show us the way. 

I have been enjoying leading semi-programmed worship in an ecumenical setting, a bit hit and miss at ties, but very occasionally we can feel the spirit of Christ amongst us and I feel there is a thirst for more knowledge about and experience of being in the presence. I am not saying this is the way forward, but I am often told and have come to realise one of my spiritual gifts is in supporting fellowship and bringing people together.

One area that I do see a real need for based on my "limited" experience , is a ministry of healing and how we deal with conflict and abuse/misuse of privileges both within our Worship groups, but also in wider society. From experience, a healing/healed heart is an open heart, one ready to support others in their spiritual lives / journeys.

Are Friends really self-congratulatory about their spotty record, though?

As someone who has not personally met that many Quakers, I can't say. Maybe that's a real trend.

But the few Quakers I have met and practiced with have been the opposite of self-congratulatory about Quaker history and belief. That attitude is what kept me interested. So, even if it isn't commonplace, it is still there to be found. So far, I've been quite inspired by Quaker attitudes. They may not be perfect, but I find them admirable... at least something I hope to personally realize, if possible.

A lot of believers pat themselves on the back. I have found Quakers the least prone to do this. But, again. I'm working with a small sample size.

I don't want the Quaker religion to die out or anything, but I'm not troubled at all to see it "whither" or pass out of popular practice (or "rot" if it needs to). Maybe that's a good thing. To keep it humble. To keep it real. I just want to see Quakerism alive. It doesn't have to be perfect. It can be small. It can be flawed. It always has been flawed hasn't it? George Fox was flawed, wasn't he?

Some evangelicals are open to things. It is schisms as is case for any religions course. 

https://mfsaweb.salsalabs.org/giveoutday2021-june302021-a_copy1_cop...

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