John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and several steps in my Sickness contains both the phrases “no man is an illand” and “for whom the bell tolls.” The 1623 spelling may be unfamiliar to many. Unlike many of the quotations I chose for this book, where true origins are unknown or debatable, there is universal agreement that this is Donne's image. His assertion describes a major tension between conservative and liberal worldviews. Are we autonomous beings who make choices freely (conservative)? Or, are we incontestably a part of a whole (liberal) and unable to act in isolation? Should our responses deal with individuals (conservative) or society (liberal)?

John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit,
because apart from me you can do nothing.

John Donne's words, in their original context and in common use, speak of how humanity is always in the processes of uniting and dividing. We cannot escape it because we are not unto ourselves and therefore we constantly need to seek new equilibrium with those we are in relationship with. Jesus' words are often reduced to speaking of the unity of humans with God but such a reading misses the implicit human-to-human connection that the vine and branch image implies. Jesus’ words include the notion of our interconnectedness. There is no doubt that Jesus considers no one to be an island. What's more, he is in the centre of the island we are all part of, if not actually being the island.

Views: 329

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 10, 2017 at 7:56am

Just remember that sometimes people have to be voted off the Island.  See Matthew 5:29

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 10, 2017 at 9:44am

~"If your way of seeing makes you do wrong, you need to stop looking at things that way. It is better to renounce one convenient bad habit than let yourself be utterly corrupted."

Rather than literally throw away an eye or two, you've read Matthew through a metaphor of your own, far less appropriate, that would make you throw away an occasional sinful human being, deny that he and you are being created by the same hand?

I don't think Jesus ever votes anybody off the island. They might try to exile themselves from it, might take themselves very far out to sea. But it's wet out there, you know.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 4th mo. 10, 2017 at 11:23am
I am the island and the water. Part the water, I am there. Cleave the island, and there I am. Break the vine, I am there. I am in all things and all things are in me. I am with you in the water and on the land and within you. Speak my Name ... I am is there. If you would own who I am, simply speak my Name and own my presence which is discovered to you, and then you will know and be known of the white stone.!
Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 10, 2017 at 4:30pm

I think Jesus proved that He is incorruptible.  Unfortunately I am not able to say that of myself so I will keep the verse in mind until I achieve incorruptibility which I understand will come eventually. :)

1Co 15:35  But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
1Co 15:36  Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
1Co 15:37  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
1Co 15:38  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
1Co 15:39  All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
1Co 15:40  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
1Co 15:41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
1Co 15:42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
1Co 15:43  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
1Co 15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Co 15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 11, 2017 at 1:10am

Jesus was willing to associate with, and to stand up for, people whom the highest-ranking (by Earthly reckoning) religious authorities of his nation (like the Roman authorities whose interests they served) considered to be worthless creatures, ill-behaved and impious -- whose impoverishment and suffering was due to God's no-doubt deserved curse. Jesus called them "blessed"; and denounced instead those people who  lived in luxury on property taken from their poor neighbors, in clear indifference to "the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness."

The religious authorities, considering his influence subversive and dangerous, dealt with that influence by turning him over to the Roman rulers, who killed him in a painful and shameful way (as they'd done with a great many of his countrymen.)

That was supposed to end his influence, clearly demonstrating that God supported them and not Jesus. The importance of his resurrection, then, was not whether or not he was personally "corruptible" or not -- but whether God favors Jesus and his interpretation of what God truly wants of us.

What he himself said about being "perfect" -- was that the important thing was to emulate God by showing love to all our fellow poorsouls, "just" or "unjust." You wouldn't be necessarily able to have a functioning church that included them all... but we don't get to read anyone out of being the same species, connected to the same God as us.

Comment by James C Schultz on 4th mo. 11, 2017 at 8:47am

There's a balance to everything.  I agree we shouldn't judge people based on their state in life, however there are "toxic" relationships that an individual has to avoid.  These relationships vary with the individual.  Drug addicts don't do well dating other Drug addicts.  Alcoholics shouldn't hang out with non-recovering alcoholics.  The same for Nigerian Princes, etc.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 11, 2017 at 11:50am

Yeah, you aren't supposed to dive in after everybody you see drowning, not unless you're a great swimmer with the right sort of training. [Business and governmental liars would likely bring out the worst in me. But I'd have to concede that there, but for the grace of God, might have gone I.]


You need to be a member of QuakerQuaker to add comments!

Join QuakerQuaker

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.

You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Helen updated their profile
9th month 8
Keith Saylor posted a blog post

Established in the living and continuous presence of Jesus Christ

We live in social contexts (the world over) wherein human relations are guided, informed, and…See More
8th month 29
Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Thumbnail History'
"Hi William -- If one regards voting as a civic duty, then it's difficult to avoid aligning…"
8th month 19
William F Rushby replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Thumbnail History'
"Hello, Kirby! I feel that Friends should steer clear of partisan politics, avoiding alignment with…"
8th month 19
Kirby Urner posted a discussion

Thumbnail History

When it comes to the European experience, we already tell the story of the United States as one of…See More
8th month 15
M. E. B. Cannon liked William F Rushby's blog post A Quote from (Mary) Flannery O'Connor, 20th Century Novelist
8th month 14
M. E. B. Cannon updated their profile
8th month 14
William F Rushby posted a blog post

Advice From Mother Theresa

From *Brethren Life and Thought* by Joel Shenk: "People are often unreasonable, illogical and…See More
8th month 14

© 2021   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service