Quaker Struggles

My sympathy is with my Conservative Quaker friends. And I hope they have some sympathy for their Anglican friends as well. We are all struggling with issues concerning church discipline, and sometimes the debate becomes battle, which is so unChristian.

Issues they are struggling with that we don’t have to address much: modernity and paganism.

Issues we struggle with that they don’t have to address much: Ordained women and new liturgies.

I have a question for Quakers who are not Christian: how does that work? If we are waiting on the Holy Spirit, doesn’t that imply some sort of belief in the Christian trinity – God the Father, Creator; God the Son, Redeemer; God the Holy Spirit, Sustainer. Not three gods, but one God, in three persons. (I won’t venture into that too deeply to avoid the heresy of modalism. Just read the Athanasian Creed, which is the best explanation of what the nature of the Trinity is.)

Still, waiting for the Holy Spirit implies a belief in that Spirit, a Christian doctrine. God sends His Spirit to inform, lead and refresh us. We are strengthened in His Spirit. Jesus told us about the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. How can a Quaker sit in meeting, waiting on the Spirit, when that Quaker doesn’t believe in the Spirit?

I’m going to get pagan arguments, aren’t I? That there is a motivating spirit in the universe, or many spirits that wish to speak through and to humanity, that what Christians call the Holy Spirit, the Spiritus Sanctus, is just the Spiritus Mundi, the Spirit of this world. So why are you in a Christian setting if that is what you believe? There are lots of places for pagans, hundreds of groups that meet and have rituals – why clutter up Quaker meeting, where there are people who are waiting to hear from God? If it is because Quakers are people of peace and have organizations in place for social justice, that doesn’t seem fair, to ride their coattails. Go start your own social justice groups and get away from all that “Do as Christ did” Christian sanctimony.

As for nonbelievers – rational humanists – there’s theosophy societies, and the Unitarians. Unhealthy skepticism and outright, stubborn disbelief have no place in a Christian setting. If a meeting is entirely humanist and/or pagan, why are they still Quaker? Quaker, by definition, is Christian. They were Christians when they broke away from the Anglican church and took some of our theology with them. But as we say, “Lex orendi, lex credendi” – the law of prayer is the law of belief. So Anglicans kept their prayer book, composed almost entirely of scripture, as the law of prayer and belief, so we wouldn’t wander off some side road of non-Christian belief and heresy, and forget our God. It’s not a good thing to forget the God of Abrahahm. We get lost in the world, and then suffer the world’s punishment.

One thing Paul taught us in his letters – don’t argue with nonbelievers. Pray for them instead. Don’t keep them in your fellowship as they will sow doubt and dissent. Perhaps our Quaker brothers and sisters need to split their meetings again, leaving the nonbelievers to their own devices, and call the believers back into discipline. Discipline is not punishment or even correction; it is teaching, and following the right way.

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “Quaker Struggles

  1. RE:”I have a question for Quakers who are not Christian: how does that work?”

    It works fine, actually. There is no competition. Theistic Friends are not diminished by non-theistic Friends, and vice versa. Friends exist side by side, often without this chafing.

    • I still don’t see it. But then, I’m a Christian and can’t believe that nonChristians remain that way in the presence of the Holy Spirit! I guess i hear a lot from Christian Quakers, and there seems to be a lot of “chafing” on their side.

  2. Friends are only human beings. As with all human beings, I am sure there are some who cannot imagine that others actually came to their understanding with as much thought.

    • I’msure other people do come to their own faith system with thought, but thought isn’t everything. I’m talking about the experience of the Holy Spirit, the breath of God that animates us.

  3. This is sort of off topic, but I meant to share what I found doing family tree research a while ago. My earliest Newfoundland ancestor (1705) was Quaker.

    I understand what you are saying in today’s post. I have friends who claim to be pagan but still had their daughter baptized in the Ukrainian Orthodox church that the mom grew up in?!

    • I’ve known Ukrainians who professed atheism to fly home to Kiev for their child’s baptism. Not to pick on the Ukrainians or the Orthodox; certainly, we see this all the time in the Anglican church! I had a pagan friend who had an Anglican wedding to please her family.

  4. RE: “One thing Paul taught us in his letters – don’t argue with nonbelievers. Pray for them instead. Don’t keep them in your fellowship as they will sow doubt and dissent. Perhaps our Quaker brothers and sisters need to split their meetings again, leaving the nonbelievers to their own devices, and call the believers back into discipline. Discipline is not punishment or even correction; it is teaching, and following the right way. ”

    I am not sure why you would advocate for this. There are meetings, such as my own, where people are comfortable side by side with their beliefs. Why stir this from the outside?

    Paula

    • I am a Christian, and this is not “from the outside.” We are all members of the same body, the body of Christ. But how can the hand that serves other gods, or no god at all, be a member of Christ?

  5. There is that of God in everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike. Echoing the wonderful passages in Paul, reflecting on Christ with Samaritans and lepers and other such outcasts. That is Christian, that is Friends’ Testimony.

    • Certainly we are all in His image. And we are to be Christ to others. But if the ethos of my faith is to wait upon the Holy Spirit, then I am called to do so among believers: Holy things are for the Holy.

  6. I’ve noticed this issue become more and more a problem.

    Quite simply the pagans want George Fox out of George Fox’s church- which is downright cheeky.Quakerism is a Christian movement that was born out of Methodism, therefore those who join the movement cannot except the Quakers to discard of the Christian ethos and beliefs just to accommadate for them.I can’t see a group of pagans changing their beliefs for a Christian yet that is what they expect of the Quakers. It’s a one sided hyprocisy and they are bullying the peaceable Quakers.They won’t dare do it to the war-like Muslims or the once war-like Catholics.

    I wouldn’t have pagans in my church.The bible is clear on avoiding the company of pagans and idol worshipers.The bible is also clear that one can only serve ONE God and a pagan who claims to be Quaker is not doing that.

    And Paula, you a pagan of course will claim that the real Quakers are not being squeezed out by you and your pagan friends but you might like to read blogs by Quakers to see how they feel.They know that they are being pushed out of their own church by pagans and they don’t appreciate it.

    As Christians Quakers will not be unreasonable to expell these troublemaking elements.The bible calls for it.

  7. While I can see both sides of this arguement, I am feeling blessed to be reminded of why I left Christianity.

    The whole attitude of “we are too good to associate with you because our old unproveable made up stories are better than your old unproveable made up stories” business is sooooo wearying!

    Holy things are for the Holy? What? God died and left you in charge of deciding what constitutes Holiness?

    If you can only hear the Holy Spirit in the presence of people who agree with you then perhaps the Holy Spirit is not what you’re hearing, but rather an echo of your own opinions.
    If God is ok with his children seeing the Divine in different ways, then perhaps we need to seek to see as God sees.

    • Yeah, Holy things are for the Holy. Old Christian saying, goes back to the apostolic church. God did die, then rose again. It’ s not about who agrees with whom, because the presence of God isn’t settled by debate.

    • “If God is ok with his children seeing the Divine in different ways, then perhaps we need to seek to see as God sees.”

      But that’s just it, God is NOT ok with people picking and choosing which parts of his word to obey and which parts to disobey and replace with heathen practices.Look at what God had to say:

      Leviticus 26:1
      Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.

      Deuteronomy 32:16
      They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.

      2 Kings 17:15
      …They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.

      Psalm 24:4
      The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

      Jeremiah 10:5
      Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.

      Jeremiah 14:22
      Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, LORD our God.

      1 Corinthians 5:10
      9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

      Anyway why would a pagan who does not believe the gospel care what God thinks?

      Why are you validating what you do by claiming that God sees your deeds as acceptable- when you rejected God?

  8. How you can be a non-theist Quaker I do not get but I do get that we have very different ways of perceiving god. But not believing there is a god? No, that I do not get if you call yourself a Quaker. If I can’t get it, is it wrong? Not necessarily but I agree with M that Quakerism is a Christian movement I do not feel you can move too far from that and it still being Quakerism.

  9. You are all making huge assumptions about what goes on in Friends meeting and I wonder how many of you attend Friends meetings? Secondly, regarding,

    “And Paula, you a pagan of course will claim that the real Quakers are not being squeezed out by you and your pagan friends but you might like to read blogs by Quakers to see how they feel.They know that they are being pushed out of their own church by pagans and they don’t appreciate it.”

    What are REAL Quakers? By whose judgment do you use such a term? And which meetings are you familiar with that you make such declarations about how Friends feel. Rest assured we are quire capable of dealing with any of these issues should they arise. Interestingly in my meeting (indeed I am a “real” Quaker) there are people of diverse beliefs and traditions who sit down together in unprogrammed worship every First day.

    I wish you all would stop assuming so much about what motivates people. You don’t know. You can speculate, but realize that you speculate from your own perspective.

    And By the way, what do you know about my beliefs? Why assume you know my beliefs because of what I’ve posted here?

    Good grief.
    Paula

    • I don’t have to assume. I have discernment in the Spirit when the Lord chooses me to have it. Some of us are drawn to the Friends because of the early Christian Friends. We are looking for that renewed experience of the primitive church, which the Quakers exemplified. And we are not finding it in meeting nor in contemporary Quaker writings, except among some Conservative Quakers. And is your meeting more real than ours?

      We do know about your beliefs by what you posted here. If the things you say are not the things of your heart, why are you saying them? To be devil’s advocate? To defend a liberal meeting?

      I write what I write to chalenge, not comfort. And I am trying to say that some of us will not commit to the Friends because of those liberal meetings. We want to be Christians among Christians. The early church tolerated seekers, and instructed them in the faith. But they did not tolerate atheists and pagans in their meetings.

  10. I was raised without religion. I would LOVE to believe in the Christian God, or any god. I try over and over to find a church of some sort that doesn’t profess hate for anyone who isn’t a member of it and already a believer in everything they believe. I mean, I sure won’t go to a church where I am not wanted. Quakers say to sit and listen for the Holy Spirit. They don’t spout hate. None has ever said a thing to me about cluttering up their meeting, or being unwelcome because I’m not already holy. So I go to meetings, sometimes, listening for God and hoping to hear him.

    I read your blog because I dress Plain — dressing Plain led me to begin trying to find a church, and to reading about Christianity. If you think I’m not holy enough for your holy place, though, I can go read something else.

    • Why can’t you commit to Christ? Are you too comfortable sitting there in a non-discerning meeting? And why dress Plain if thee is not a Christian? It’s like putting on the clergy collar when you are not ordained, or the burkha if you are not Muslim. How can you be waiting for what you do not believe in? I am a prophetic Christian and a priest, set aside for this ministry even when it is painful for me and others. The holiness of a Christian is internal, soul-filling. I tis not where we are or what we are doing, in particular, but the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

      And in reading about Christianity are you reading the scriptures? Read about the people who suddenly came to believe in Jesus Christ because he was amongst them. He is with us now in the Holy Spirit. I go to Church every First Day where I am not wanted. I have preached in churches where I was not wanted. I was called to do it by the Lord. I don’t care if other people are uncomfortable with the Word or my presence. If thee wants to hear God, then look for Him where He can be found, in His Word.

      • I can’t commit to Christ because I can’t commit to something in which I don’t yet believe, as much as I wish to. I dress Plain for a variety of reasons, as do many people. I think it is possible that I am being led to do it, but I don’t know it, and I don’t know how to be sure. I have read the scriptures, but they are confusing to me, and that reading brings up questions which only seem to make people angry when I ask them. I want to believe, but I don’t. I keep praying to be one of those people who suddenly come to believe, but am not one so far. I understand you going to or preaching at a church where you might not be wanted because you are sure of your faith and know you are supposed to be there and that you are doing what God wants you to do. I don’t have that sureness, that belief, that faith. I was raised by atheists who taught me that religion was an evil cult that made its leaders rich, or at best a benign brainwashing or crutch for weak people. I have seen enough in my life to disagree with that by now, and have long felt that I had been ripped off and denied a connection with a religious fellowship and God. So I’m trying, as best I can, to find Him, or hear Him, or to at least believe in Him at all. You are a priest, have found a path to God, and presumably help others on it. Me, I’m out here being hassled by friends and family who are all horrified by my interest in Christiantity and making only half-joking comments about cults and deprogramming. I’m sorry if you think I’m a bad person because I didn’t have a religious upbringing and am trying to find my way now, and that you don’t like it that I also wear a simple dress, apron, and cap while I’m doing it.

    • Kim, for me finding my faith was a journey so I can relate as I really wanted to believe but could not for a long time. For me, stopping the ‘trying’ and just waiting helped a lot. I do not know what will do for you, but I think that perhaps what I say could be an eye-opener. Faith is not so much about trying to believe but letting god lead us. If you wait and allow Gud to do this, I really think your struggle will get easier. Just my little thinking…

  11. Hi there,
    Just remembering a conversation with Arthur Berk who is rather an expert on George Fox and has written some good pieces which can be found on Quaker conservative sites. It was about 3 yrs ago, maybe 4. Arther lives in New York, or did at that time. He told me that the name of Jesus could not be said in his meeting; that is would not be tolerated. I was stunned, but told this is not all that unusual in some areas. These people who are trying to separate Quakerism from Christianity and think they are practicing true Quakerism have neglected to read a good selection of books on the early Quakers. These people were jailed and many were tortured and died for their Christian faith and these Quakers knew the Scriptures and believed in them. They used them in helping them to discern the Spirits, which we are clearly told to do. They died because they believed one could be led by the Holy Spirit ( novel thought back then) and because they practiced the scriptures to the point of offending those who ignored certain passages of scriptures. Like, not showing no respect for persons ( James 2:9 A “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin.”), not taking oaths ( Matthew 5:34), being careful for what one says ( Matthew 5:37 ” let your communication be, Yea, yea: Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these comething of evil.” Matthew 12:36 ” But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account therof in the day of judgment.”) and I could go on and on. Being a TRUE Christian was the aim of these early Quakers. No question at all about whether or not they should be one.
    Joanie

  12. As someone who was Pagan for 15 years and now has found Quakerism and God.. still working on the whole Jesus person ( a whole entry to itself ) AND as someone who attends Quaker meeting that welcomes EVERYONE .. pagans,Christians and such.. it works very well for us..

    We have quite a wide range of folks in the Nashville Meeting.. from folks who drive over 2 hours to get to us who are “plain” to folks that live around the blog that show up in bare feet and jeans..

    Why I think it works? Because of God.. because we are a community of folks that believe in a higher power.. and that higher power, no matter what you call it .. guides us in the silence.

    Its a Living God and Spirit speaks directly to us and our heart…. not the written word..

    There maybe some in the Fellowship House that may disagree with what I’ve written .. and that’s ok.. and I know it would be ok with them to let me believe in what I do.. why? Because of respect for one another as a community of spiritual folk..

    What I have found so far in our House is we embrace George Fox and Woolman etc.. but we are growing and learning as we go..

    Are we perfect? No not by a long shot.. but we make it work because we feel that our spiritual family is important.. so we work at it ..

    That person maybe a pagan now.. but if welcomed into the Fellowship of your community maybe they will hear God ( as you hear him ) and take up his yoke ..
    A fellowship can’t change a person’s heart .. but God can..

    IMHO there is room at the Quaker table for all.. We don’t have to agree.. but shouldn’t push each other out ..

  13. P.S. to joanie, really they couldn’t speak Jesus name in their meeting house?

    I don’t understand that.. to me that is unheard of ..

    heck we have a book study going on right now about ” Who was Jesus?” ..

    Maybe I’ve been very lucky to fall into a Fellowship House that sees the importance of being open and welcoming to ALL folks.. including Christians ..

    • Not an issue in my Meeting either. Nobody’s head spins around if someone says God, Jesus, Christ, bible or any of those other apparent pagan trigger words.

      Paula

  14. “Perhaps our Quaker brothers and sisters need to split their meetings again, leaving the nonbelievers to their own devices, and call the believers back into discipline.”

    I have some sympathy with this advice, but also some mixed feelings. A couple of years ago I tried to describe (here, scroll down a bit: http://johanpdx.blogspot.com/2007/09/open-hearts.html) the relationship I see between hospitality, intimacy, and boundaries. To me, evangelism with integrity requires both hospitality AND boundaries, which to me implies that Christians and non-Christians are unlikely, in most cases, to flourish in the same spiritual community. And, in fact, we see that most Quakers in the world are very much in one tradition (the Christian) or the other, with the majority being evangelical Christian.

    BUT I have also seen examples of Friends congregations that seem to thrive with a mix. What explains their success? Perhaps there is a culture of honest dialogue, something along the lines of Douglas Steere’s “mutual irradiation.” Or, less positively, perhaps there are tacit agreements not to irritate each other, which might mean, sadly, that the spiritual temperature might not go any higher than the most prickly among them will tolerate.

    At their best, maybe such mixed communities have a vocation to show us that love ultimately trumps all boundaries. But even such success stories would not be able to convince me that I should forgo a passionate and humane Christianity in favor of a synthetic Quakerism.

  15. RE: Real Quakers are Christians.That is what Quakerism is about.Quakerism is an anti-pagan Christian group.

    Interesting. Here I am, a Friend, a member of Meeting and I thought “Real” Quakers were the ones who petitioned the Meeting to become members, sat with a clearness committee, and were examined to that end. I must update my Meeting that you have found the real criteria for what makes a REAL Quaker.

    RE: “We do know about your beliefs by what you posted here. If the things you say are not the things of your heart, why are you saying them? To be devil’s advocate? To defend a liberal meeting?”

    No you don’t know my beliefs. You have assumed and presumed. Why would I defend a Liberal Meeting? Because I am a Quaker and I believe in inclusion. Because I know my own Quaker history and we have learned from history not to go about pointing at people and condemning them because we just can’t see why they believe what they do. Because I know I should see to the beam in my eye before condemning the mote in someone else’s. Because Friends believe that there is that of God in everyone. Because that is not how we roll.

    RE: “I write what I write to chalenge, not comfort. And I am trying to say that some of us will not commit to the Friends because of those liberal meetings.”

    I am not looking to you for challenge or comfort. If the mere existence of a Liberal meeting is such a threat to Thee. And if Thee feels that save for the existence of a liberal meeting thee would be a Quaker I would counsel Thee to think further on it.

    RE: “We want to be Christians among Christians. The early church tolerated seekers, and instructed them in the faith. But they did not tolerate atheists and pagans in their meetings.”

    Maybe that’s why I’m not an Anglican, and am instead a Friend. Because I am Friend to all. I tolerate all in my Meeting. I accept ALL in my meeting. I worship with ALL.

    RE: “Are you too comfortable sitting there in a non-discerning meeting? And why dress Plain if thee is not a Christian? It’s like putting on the clergy collar when you are not ordained, or the burkha if you are not Muslim. :

    No religion owns plainness and simplicity. There are plain dressing religious, and plain dressing non-religious. As a Friend pointed out last First Day, Quakers did not invent these concepts. It is a testimony for many people. Their motivations are profound and personal.
    Thee does not own it.

    RE: “Quakers say to sit and listen for the Holy Spirit. They don’t spout hate. None has ever said a thing to me about cluttering up their meeting, or being unwelcome because I’m not already holy. So I go to meetings, sometimes, listening for God and hoping to hear him.”

    Kim, you are always welcome, no conditions, no qualifications, no requirements period.

    Signed Paula Roberts
    Baltimore Yearly Meeting

    • “Interesting. Here I am, a Friend, a member of Meeting and I thought “Real” Quakers were the ones who petitioned the Meeting to become members, sat with a clearness committee, and were examined to that end. I must update my Meeting that you have found the real criteria for what makes a REAL Quaker.”

      George Fox, the founder, was a CHRISTIAN.ALL early Quakers were CHRISTIAN.The early writings of Quakers were on CHRISTIAN themes and topics.Quakers are so serious in their faith and in removing pagan elements from their lifes that they do not call the days of the week by their popular terms because they are based on pagan “gods”.

      Therefore you as a pagan cannot be a Quaker because Quakers are Christian- and Christians only worship God.Sitting on committees does not make you Quaker, attending Quaker meetings does not make you Quaker.
      If you want to be a Quaker you first need to become Christian because Quakerism is a CHRISTIAN movement.

  16. This is a very interesting discussion. I do have some idea of what pagans believe and am surprised that they would want to attend a Quaker or any other Christian church. After all, these are not the times when they have to hide their beliefs and “pass” as Christians to keep their lives.

    You say: “If we are waiting on the Holy Spirit, doesn’t that imply some sort of belief in the Christian trinity – God the Father, Creator; God the Son, Redeemer; God the Holy Spirit, Sustainer. Not three gods, but one God, in three persons.”

    As a Mormon, i.e. a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, we have a little different take on the Trinity. We believe that they are three distinct personages. I am sure that belief is part of why many people refuse to believe that we are Christians and still some persecute us in this day and age.

    I DO believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and that he died to satisfy justice, by taking upon himself all of our sins, so that Heavenly Father can show us mercy. While Mormons do a lot of service, it is done in the spirit of by our fruits you shall know us. We cannot return to Heavenly Father’s presence without accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. We have what we call Sacrament, and what you probably call Communion, every week to remind us of our baptismal covenants.

    Just my 2 cents.

  17. Venera, if you don’t mind my asking. I was at a Mormon wedding today and someone said that Mormons did not view Jesus as the son of God? Merely out of curiosity, as you have identified as Mormon in this discussion (holding no judgment at all, simply wanting clarification), was this person correct, incorrect, over-simplifying things, or something else? This person was not Mormon.

    • Jesus Christ is most definitely the Only Begotten Son of God. I don’t know how the person who said we believe otherwise became so confused about our belief.

      You can take a look at our beliefs at http://www.mormon.org/

      We have something called the 13 Articles of Faith. Rather than take up space here, you can see them at http://www.mormon.org/articles-of-faith/ It is a short list of our basic core beliefs.

      Mormon.org is a website put up for non-LDS people to help them understand our beliefs. The website for LDS members is http://www.lds.org The for LDS site can be overwhelming in the amount of information that is there . . . even for those of us who are LDS.

      Feel free to check out either or both.

      • That’s what I was thinking myself. I’d had Mormon friends in college, and was even gifted a book of Mormon. But it wasn’t the place to argue (at our friend’s wedding) and with neither of us LDS the irony of us arguing LDS belief wasn’t lost on me.

        Thank you for explaining.
        Paula

  18. Hi Denise,
    I can only relate what Arthur Berk told me. He appears to be well respected and he gave me the impression he gets around ( I believe he is a member of the Ohio Conservative Yearly Meeting – he told me he traveled there when he could). You might want to track him down and ask him about this in further detail. He did talk to me about it, but it has been a few years ago and I can’t remember all what he said. Just the gist, which was he could not say the name of Jesus Christ without causing an upset and that this was not uncommon. This is a big country and there are a lot of meetings, you know. I have heard others say rather similar things, just don’t remember which forum.

    Joanie

  19. Paula,

    I was raised Mormon, was Mormon for over 40 years, and Mormons do indeed believe Jesus to be the literal son go God, who died for the sins of the world and was resurrected on the third day.
    Their being considered by some to be “not real Christians” has more to do with their not accepting the Catholic church as the ‘mother church’, not having a paid ministry etc.

    Non-Mormons telling others what Mormons believe works about as well as Anglicans telling Quakers how to run their meetings. Leads to confusion.
    God must spend a lot of time rolling his eyes about all this. “Oh, these kids!”

    • I don’t think I’m trying to tell anyone how to run their meeting – but clarifying my answer to the question, “Why aren’t you a Quaker?” Yes, that’s the reason.

  20. magdalenaperks,
    I sympathise with this whole conversation and comments following. I am a disaffected Baptist Anglican/Quaker sympathizer. I, like Kim, suffer from an inability to commit to any one religion. I am moving to the UK soon and I’ve not committed to any church for some years. My new husband is a Quaker and I’ve been to Quaker meeting, however, like you I crave the sacramental presence of the Lord. I do not understand why pagans want to be Quakers. I can see being Unitarian or Universalist, but not Quaker. What I see in these mixtures of religion is the desire to come to God without Christ. The thought process is something like…God is more ethereal and indefinable than Christ, therefore, if we have a problem following Christ, dispense with Jesus and go straight for the Spirit. The point everyone misses is that in Christian theology there is no INDWELLING Spirit but through the death and resurrection of Christ and this is the key to Christianity. Sure there is a general Spirit of God that the world has access to, but there is only one Holy Spirit, sent to guide us into truth. Generic Quakerism, Universalism, Paganism, etc. is like drinking skim milk when there is more nourishment in whole milk. I don’t mean to demean anyone’s path, but there is a point where a line has to be drawn and the point is Jesus Christ, who is the stumbling block. Many of us want to be spiritual and even religious, but many of us do not want to commit to the person and Spirit of Jesus. I have great respect for Quakers and their worshipful silence and peace testimony.
    Still discerning the call,
    MOI

    • I’ve been reading a book by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, called “The Dwelling of the Light.” He has written very clearly about the Trinity and the nature of Jesus Christ. It is in the context of the icons, and although it is a slim book, worth picking up for just that reason.

      My intent in writing that post was to explain why I was not in Meeting and why I stayed in the Anglican church, despite invitations from Quakers and rather rough treatment from the Anglicans. People took it as an attack on how they worship, and accused me of having no right to say anything. But prophesy is never well received!

      • Religion, much like some peoples’ politics, runs so deep in the human psyche that to be questioned about one’s beliefs means being attacked. I don’t hold my beliefs so closely to the core of my being unless I’m absolutely sure I couldn’t possibly be wrong. That doesn’t leave much to be sure about, but when it comes to my encounter with Christ; of THAT I am sure and I will defend that. All the rest is how we choose to worship or live out that call. Now some may say they don’t need Christ, but that’s when we can say; then what’s the basis of fellowship?

        You are doing a job no one would take willingly but someone must do in the church. Blessings on you for it!!

      • I try to do it without hurting people, but I know that sometimes I may hurt “feelings” a bit. I also have to pray a lot not to fall into hubris. I know I could be quite wrong about a number of things, but after many years as a Christian and in the church, I hope the Lord has blessed me with some insight. I can’t say it is divinely inspired, just education and experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s