[This is from my reaction to a discussion re George Keith on facebook. Thoughts?]
The core implication of the scriptures we have: "God talks to people. Here are examples, illustrative stories, some wild ideas we've gotten that way." The Bible also includes examples of people misunderstanding what God had in mind.
This isn't the sort of communication you'd find in a technical manual: 'Figure this out and your gadget will work.' But that's how people try to use scriptures when they think of them as a source of authority, as if there could be any authority apart from God. It also seems as if w'all [isn't that a nice coinage, so much like 'wall'?] try to use our collective agreements in an analogous way... and hence we end up with Meetings (and churches) where few people believe God exists -- yet they follow a process that [like reading scriptures] requires God's participation to work right.
How to describe an enlightening usage of scripture and personal intuition, in which we neither make an idol of scripture nor wander aimlessly away from what God might tell us through it? The reconciliation of Keith & Bownas?