Sunday, January 29, 2017
In the Midst of Quaker Meeting Fragmentation
the good, the just, the right, the compassionate
be an active witness of "truth to power" and to billions of humans in the midst of more severe trials
if its own
How can we bring peace to others if we are caught in the mire of conflict?
How do we 'wrestle' in a loving way with others who understand differently?
Spiritual movements including organized religion, both formal
and informal, traditional and creedal, and revolutionary
and inclusive, indeed ALL human philosophies, lifestances,
worldviews of serious thought and action,
seem given to divisive fragmentation--
to one extreme or another; almost always
leaving us unbalanced, often distorted in our quest for truth.
Yet the Quaker movement itself swings back-and-forth-and-diagonally to 4 sides--
4 different poles of Light, seldom seeming to walk in wholeness.
An excerpt by Howard Brinton:
Quaker Thought and the Present
"Through the three centuries of Quaker history the four primary elements present
in all religion have at different times
exerted their influence in varying degrees."
"During the first century an a half mysticism and evangelicalism were
in balance in the group as a whole though many individuals tended to stress one or the other;
during the nineteenth century mysticism and evangelicalism were in conflict,
each pressing the other to extremes
in the group as a whole, though in many individuals the two were in balance;
and during the past half century rationalism and humanitarianism
have assumed greater prominence, sometimes becoming dominant,
though here again there
are some individuals in whom the four tendencies are in balance."
"The best type of religion is one in which
the rational and
are so related that each exercises a restraint on the others.
Too exclusive an emphasis on mysticism results in a religion which is individualistic, subjective and vague;
too dominant an evangelicalism results in religion which is authoritarian,
creedal and external;
too great an emphasis on rationalism results in a cold, intellectual religion which appeals only to the few;
too engrossing a devotion to the social gospel results in a religion which,
in improving the outer environment,
ignores defects of the inner life which cause the outer disorder."
"In Quakerism the optimum is not equality in rank of the four elements.
The mystical is basic."
To purchase this powerful book check with Quaker Books--
Brinton goes on to warn against "vitalism which worships the life-force
in its biological sense"
and the other distortions of
About the only point where I disagree with Brinton is when he says
the 4 qualities "each exercise a restraint on the others."
Look instead at the four poles--that when most bathed in the Light,
the 4 different aspects,
(parts of true spiritual reality, the Transcendent), can bring reconciliation,
giving a redeeming uplifting of each other
and are the Seed of essential fulfillment,
the true purpose and goal of human beings.
Read Friends for 300 Years or the book's update, Friends for 350 years
Be not only intellectually enlightened, but raised up in the Light
to bring reconciliation, justice, and truth to the world!
In the LIGHT,