Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Friday, January 20, 2006

When are we Quakers?

Many Friends are talking about Rob's entry this week "A Crisis of Faith Tradition". I have to say, I discovered Richard's blog when it was very new, and was really joyful to find that he was coming to New York, a while ago. His journey has spoken to my heart again and again on his blog.

In my most comment, to the above thread on Rob's blog, I made a comment, which I feel I need to go deeper into, without taking space in his thread. I wrote about a Friend who said we take too many people into meetings who are not yet ready.

So, I felt I might sound like I am saying meetings make Quakers. We do not.

When a Friend becomes a Friend, it is internal and a state then recognized by other Friends. We are not a faith of hermits, though, we are builders of the Peaceable Kingdom through our joint efforts in the Lamb's War, that struggle in each of us, and together as Friends and together in the world. We hold each other up and together we remake the world.

But on the individual level.

There is that of God in me, in thee, and I am as present to God in thee as to that God in me.

There we are. That is the process. All flows from that, one can say others said it, in other words, Hill el, certainly did, in "Do nothing to another that is abhorrent to thyself, that is the Torah and the rest is commentary"...

This simple statement of relationship calls us to observations and actions. The observations sometimes are stated in the Testimonies, and actions sometimes are stated in advices.

But, it is the understanding of the relationship in the acceptance of presence to God in others that makes thee a Quaker. We are human, and struggle to be present, we sin, we atone, we heal. The sin does not remove us from that relationship, the atonement does not restore us to that relationship, it moves us towards rest and righteousness. As Yeshua is reported to have said, to Thomas, in answer to "how do we know the Children of light?" We know them trough movement and rest." Humanity is not born to not sin, humanity is called to walk with righteousness before our God, and to do that, we must be present to God in all things. We can only know our sins, when we know God in that which we sin against.

Meetings only are a coming together of Children of Light, present to God, and trying very hard to walk, together with righteousness,


At 4:33 PM, Blogger Contemplative Activist said...

I think one of the things I value most about Quakerism is the ability to be present to God in one another, whatever way that is understood. The recognition of one another as sacred and the welcome offered to all people to share in quiet communion together.

At its best it can be a unity based on deep love and recognition of that of God in all of us. (Or as the Hindus say - Namaste, I honour the God in you).

Like that story you sometimes tell about the Indian chief walking into a Quaker meeting where they didn't attack back and then he says the Great spirit is here (or something - remind me, I love that story!)

I think that honouring of one another as Quakers, and also to people who aren't Quakers brings a unity and togetherness which is far stronger and more stable than if we held fast to a creed or a religious ideology.


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