1870's "Mission Meetings"(referenced in 1993 James Backhouse Lecture, "Living The Way: Quaker Spirituality And Community") were to Quaker Outreach as today's Mission Statements are to Branding.

Somehow, silence is both needed for deep connection to Truth and forced on shameful false-advertising.

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Silence is a need, not a panacea. The nature of a particular instance of 'silence' can vary all over the map, can even constitute the misuse of silence -- as a poor substitute for listening or for openess, for being-with.

As O'Shea concludes, it isn't so much institutional fixes that will determine whether the Quaker movement renews itself and survives, but how well we turn to and respond to God.

An exFriend who was at the time intensely devoted to recruiting new members produced a poster once:

a wholesome, cheerful face with the caption ~[something like]  "I'm a Rocket Scientist and I'm a Quaker!"

which I think illustrates the identity-problem that bedevils all efforts to share what we collectively don't share all that well ourselves.

Hello, Clem!  I don't understand the import of this post.  Obviously, there is a lot of context that is not described.  Would you please explain further?

Thanks for asking, Friend. I was intrigued by the development, in Ursula Jane O'Shea's "Living The Way", of "Mission Meetings"(in England) as an outreach to those "uncomfortable with silence" in Meeting; and wondered if there could be a parallel with programmed Meetings and/or branded, as cause-orientated, versions of Quakerism. If silence be the culprit, then how is planned pursuit of Truth and integrity working for us?!

Thanks, Clem, for the clarification.

The Home Mission movement in GB during the last half of the 19th Century was, I understand, very successful in recruiting working-class people into the Quaker movement.  They generally confined their involvement to the Sunday evening mission meetings but, I read somewhere, their descendants sometimes became regular members of London Yearly Meeting--and now would be considered part of the old aristocracy of British Quakers.

The dramatic liberalization of British Friends, which began at the Manchester Conference of 1895, helped to terminate the mission meetings.  They were evangelical, and the missioners were often subsidized financially, which might have led to a paid ministry.  For both of these reasons, the ascendant liberals opposed the mission meeting movement.  It might have declined anyway, with changes in public education and use of leisure time in the 20th Century.  The larger unprogrammed yearly meetings now have paid leadership, in the form of extensive church bureaucracies.

I would love to see someone do a good historical analysis of the home mission movement in London Yearly Meeting.  It might enlighten us on the gentrification of unprogrammed Friends.

Bill Rushby

I'm thinking that the value of silence is the opportunity it provides for God to slip in some word in that wouldn't otherwise have emerged from human notions, emotions, thought processes.

Since those processes also embody God's participation in the world, I'm not at all clear of the nature of the distinction between them and what God is doing in the state we call human 'silence'. Perhaps making silence is like providing an artist a blank canvas, a writer an empty notebook (?)

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There's the background on which any experience might potentially be experienced, the bare fact of awareness. God is in that background, and likewise in the mysterious creation of each actual 'thing' that appears coherently in its order within our experiencing. Both of these aspects of existence utterly baffle me!

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But it does seem clear to me that forms of worship are intended by God for the benefit of the human beings who practice them -- that silence is one among many valuable practices... including verbal interactions [when we do those in the right spirit.] That Adam had all the silence in the world, until he'd reached a point when God intervened, because "It's not good for the Man to be alone."

Instead of just telling ourselves "Our way of worship is better than theirs", shouldn't we (and they) tell each other: "Here's another thing that may help you know God better" ?

Life in the sustained, direct, immediacy of Presence (renewed conscious and conscience), there is no outward form of worship. The Life itself is the Form. The Life itself is the Practice. The Life itself is Worship. Worship in the Life is not predicated on outward forms and practices. When daily life itself is immersed in Presence in all circumstances ... that is the Kingdom manifest. In the Life, the question is not one of a particular form or forms, the Life itself is iconoclastic. Presence is iconoclast.

Forrest Curo said:

I'm thinking that the value of silence is the opportunity it provides for God to slip in some word in that wouldn't otherwise have emerged from human notions, emotions, thought processes.

Since those processes also embody God's participation in the world, I'm not at all clear of the nature of the distinction between them and what God is doing in the state we call human 'silence'. Perhaps making silence is like providing an artist a blank canvas, a writer an empty notebook (?)

--------

There's the background on which any experience might potentially be experienced, the bare fact of awareness. God is in that background, and likewise in the mysterious creation of each actual 'thing' that appears coherently in its order within our experiencing. Both of these aspects of existence utterly baffle me!

------

But it does seem clear to me that forms of worship are intended by God for the benefit of the human beings who practice them -- that silence is one among many valuable practices... including verbal interactions [when we do those in the right spirit.] That Adam had all the silence in the world, until he'd reached a point when God intervened, because "It's not good for the Man to be alone."

Instead of just telling ourselves "Our way of worship is better than theirs", shouldn't we (and they) tell each other: "Here's another thing that may help you know God better" ?

Adam had the reality you describe; and it led him to this condition we're in now. I can hardly imagine that this progression was a mistake (although it has proved dreadfully unpleasant and inconvenient for many of us so far.)

Whatever 'walking humbly with your God' is supposed to look like in practice... it doesn't appear to be as simple as people [me included] would hope. There's no room to return to the Womb, nor does self-annihilation seem to lead anyplace viable. As with growing up or with settling into a good marriage, developments develop. Meanwhile, a relaxed sort of alertness might help one avoid getting  stuck in some rigid persona along the way...

Though it was not your intent, your words were transformed by the power of inward Presence and I spent the evening and morning in praise and jubilation. I am the new Adam through Christ's inward Presence illuminating conscious and conscience. I am the spiritual Adam as are all who know the inward Light in all moments and circumstances. What a blessing to know and live the Life. This day and everyday will be spent in praise of the immediacy of Presence and the revelation of the spiritual Adam.

Forrest Curo said:

Adam had the reality you describe; and it led him to this condition we're in now. I can hardly imagine that this progression was a mistake (although it has proved dreadfully unpleasant and inconvenient for many of us so far.)

Whatever 'walking humbly with your God' is supposed to look like in practice... it doesn't appear to be as simple as people [me included] would hope. There's no room to return to the Womb, nor does self-annihilation seem to lead anyplace viable. As with growing up or with settling into a good marriage, developments develop. Meanwhile, a relaxed sort of alertness might help one avoid getting  stuck in some rigid persona along the way...

Jim Corbett's 31st Annual J. Barnard Walton Memorial Lecture entitled "Leadings" offers: As a religious 'societas'(from Latin meaning "partnership" as contrasted to 'universitas', as organized "collective"), the meeting needs to join with others in service to the Peaceable Kingdom on the basis of a common ground, not a common cause. True leadings don't really tell us where we're going, just how to get there.

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