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, August 04, 2006

Simply God

A number of times I have labored with Friends to express what it means to me to have no other God but God, and be present to God in others. Let me try to put it simply. It is about simplicity.

The most visible aspect of God most theologians note is love. Love is both attraction and responsibility, care and respect. A balance learning from and teaching. Now when all these things are predicated on a separately injected symbol, one can't truly love without Jesus, Mao, Marx, Mohammed, Baal, the Red White and Blue... one has tied the simple truth to a system, and all systems divide.

While in Canada, on the radio, I heard a fellow express a similar interpretation to my own, on the story of the tower of Babel. That the relation to God is not in the image, and those faiths which put their image forward as a singular truth destroy the message of God.

So... how do we go to simplicity? In proposing that I do not worship any symbol for God, I deeply offend people who see God through their symbol for God. Meanwhile, for the first time in human history, the world is completely interdependent, one on another to overcome the divisions between us to survive. Some faiths, such as some Christian fundamentalists teach that survival is not the goal, that in order for the rapture to happen we must abandon this planet to war and want. They express joy in the killing in the middle east, and don't worry about the expending of the world's resources in their faith that God has given us just what we need, Jesus will return and they will be swept to a heavenly existence while the rest of us will sink into our well earned torment.

This does not speak to me of love, of responsibility to that gift God has created. But, even if it is true that the only salvation is a perfect anarchy in God, how to express that without that idea becoming an exclusive system. I am fully convinced that Yeshua attempted to express that in saying there is no tribe in following God, but when later Christians tied him so closely to their worship of God, the message was lost, only our tribe in Jesus is the state of being without tribe. Oh well... I'm at a loss. Many Friends dear to my heart are deeply angered by this expression that love should be unconditioned on specific belief. So, I remain rather sad, well very sad.


At 10:54 AM, Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Thank you for writing this, Friend Lorcan. It's beautiful. I briefly lost a friend to the god of fear - she was terrified that she was headed for hell, and had to immediately change her life completely, cutting out everything that didn't come with a preacher's "approved" stamp. After a while, she realized that she had cut out everything she loved and that couldn't be right.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Canine Diamond said...

Oh, my goodness--that sounds like my mother's aunt, who is for the war (well, all the wars; I've lost track of how many we've got going right now) and opposed to all forms of social aid on the grounds that if "God wants people to suffer, it's not our place to change things." If that doesn't boggle the mind, I don't know what does.


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