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.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whose tribe?

Sometimes I am at a loss. I feel silenced in faith by the movement of tribalism in our religious society. Perhaps the most pernicious example is the denial of tribalism in Christianity. Most pagan, tribal faiths declare their god to be the only one, or the strongest... Judaism did not. They said there is only one God, which we will not name. Then, they were conquered by Romans, and there was immigration by Greeks, all who needed the image, the God defined, rather than the God whose name must not be spoken, our God rather than the God.
Then, in the midst of all the swirl of passions a man, not a God, a Jewish man, said, there is no tribe in God. So... Romans and Greeks knocked Cesar from his pillar and placed the image of this man in his place, and so doing made pagan his message... yes there is only God's tribe, and without defining the voice of God in your hearts as that of Jesus, you are not a part of that tribe.
Our community of faith went through a bitter battle to free ourselves of this kind of paganism. Those who said the voice of God is heard by all, and we must be incorporative to move towards the truth were cast out by those claiming orthodoxy. Those who claimed orthodoxy more narrowly defined the voice of Jesus within, splitting again and again, until one day we came together and said this is not the way of peace or unity. Once again Friends are seeking convergence in a single notion, that the voice of God in our religious society is that voice of this objectified Rabbi, and in so doing there is a divergence between Yeshua's message of unity in a God who is close, a part of us, to the God of the strongest hand in the tribe. Once you name a thing, you own it. Once you exclude another's light, because of your laying claim to God within the society of Friends, you are the spirit of separation, the opposite of a child of light, but a servant of darkness.


At 11:49 AM, Blogger earthfreak said...

Lor -

This so speaks to my condition that I'm not sure what else to say about it.

It's my sense that practically all Jesus talked about was how to love each other, be good to each other, deal fairly and honestly with everyone. I can't find thing one that he said that encouraged anyone to cut themselves off from those who do not agree with them (okay, the thing about shaking the dust off your sandals, oops - but I guess that I interpret that to mean if you encounter those who refuse to deal with you honestly and lovingly, rather than simply not sharing doctinal beliefs.)

So I dont' understand how the vast majority of his "followers" it seems are obsessed with protecting themselves from the taint of "outsiders" (the tax collectors and prostitutes of our day?) and what's more, with condemning those people. (there is the fig tree thing, which I still dont' know what to do with..)

It seems that this always happens, though, if thee doesnt' mind me saying.... That in some different world where you or I could communicate this - that it's about love of all, rather than worship of one, really effectively, and change hearts and radically shift something.

Still, even then, in a few hundered years it would have morphed into some emptier form involving cutting off those who haven't chosen to devote their lives to Lorcan or Pam, rather than about anything we could effectively say.



At 1:25 PM, Blogger Joe G. said...


Your post reminds me of what David recently wrote on his blog:

I think doctrines are much more messy critters than all that. They perform functions within and for the group. The most well-known function is that of gate-keeper. It carves the world into us and them. This is the function that anti-doctrine folks fear the most as -- as Johan points out -- it threatens their sense of autonomy. What these folks don't quite get is their anti-doctrine stance is also a doctrine and they use it in this self-same gate-keeper way -- to exclude others.

So the doctrine (or gate-keeping function) is to ensure that no one holds to any particular doctrine? Do I have that right?

Sorry, Lorcan, but you, like many other liberal Friends, can be just as "doctrinaire" (not my original choice of a lable) as I have been accused of. What is frustrating is that you, nor others who hold similar views, can understand this point.

That is, you, like many other liberal Friends, do indeed have notions of boundaries of faith and practice (such as this post and your most recent one chiding people for "returning" to the "Christian" scriptures). When others question this, people begin to "raise" their "concerns". Nonetheless, many liberal Friends believe, what I now realize is a myth, that they have arisen and "moved beyond" all of that doctrine holding stuff (of course).

In all honesty, Lorcan, I know you write these posts from your heart and with much love and concern for others. But, frankly, it only comes across as doctrinaire. Sorry.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Hi Joe:
remember the great line in Titanic, where the hero says, "well excuse me miss, but I am not the one hanging off the stern of this ship?"
Well, sure I have pronounced beliefs, but I am not standing up in meeting and trying to convert my fellow Quakers, as several Christocentric Friends do in a mixed tradition meeting, nor am I blocking the comments on my blog of people who do not share my view of our faith, nor am I telling people that the Hicksite tradition IS Quakerism, I am simply saying that the rift was healed, and the efforts to redefine Quakerism as being ONLY Christian seems to me to be an attempt at something more than doctrinaire, I see it as being divisive in the face of important work. As thee will see on Richards blog, it sometimes stands in the way of our effectiveness as a voice of peace, and frankly I find this very sad.
When I find I am weighing a message in meeting, part of that discernment is will this speak as fully to Christocentric Friends as it does to New Age and Hicksite Friends. If it does not, I assume it is not from that God to whom we look for unity.


Post a Comment

<< Home