Friendly Witness: The Spiritual Ground of Quaker Social Action4th mo. 19, 2023 from 1pm to 6pm
Quaker Theological Discussion Group 202312th mo. 1, 2023 at 8am to 12th mo. 2, 2023 at 10am
Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Friends and fellow seekers discuss the Bible and its role in their spiritual life. Tag: bible
Latest Activity: 5th month 2, 2020
Started by David McKay. Last reply by Forrest Curo 4th month 18, 2016. 17 Replies 1 Like
Started by Stephanie Stuckwisch. Last reply by David L. Hoffman 3rd month 10, 2010. 12 Replies 0 Likes
Started by John Michael Wine 12th month 18, 2009. 0 Replies 0 Likes
Started by Forrest Curo 5th month 24, 2009. 0 Replies 0 Likes
Started by Rachel Findley. Last reply by Elizabeth Bullock-Rest 4th month 23, 2009. 6 Replies 0 Likes
Hello, Rodney Pharris! After having lived most of my adult life among Mennonites, my impression is (in comparison) that the Society of Friends does not have many outstanding Bible scholars. Reducing reflections on the Bible to "Listen to your Teacher, that is all you need to know" illustrates the problem! This attitude seems to bespeak an anti-intellectual attitude, dismissing the role of serious Biblical scholarship. So, we get what we pay for!
Brian Drayton, ( _On Living With a Concern for Gospel Ministry_):
"...We are often unsure of what the gospel is, and whether it should be preached, or its life encouraged; and we have a constricted view of what it may be."
I've found your last example [from Revelation] the clearest (ever since you brought it to my attention a few years ago) -- clear in its implication that ultimate Love is in the process of taking charge of the world, that the ultimate Power at work here is is absolutely loving. (For this to mean anything, one really needs must simultaneously cop to The Bad News: that much of our love is lacking strength, that the powers most visibly active in our world are utterly loveless. That is, we need to confirm for anyone we address that yes, it is this very world of impotent love and triumphant cruelty we're talking about -- yet great Love is Powerfully at work within it.
There is an old story — not entirely sure if it was true — that a judge some time back in the 70s or 80s, when ruling on an obscenity case, commented, "I may not be able to define obscenity/pornography, but I sure enough know it when I see it!" Oddly enough the story keeps coming back to me whenever I get into discussions about spirituality or, as has happened more recently, the gospel. We have this visceral sense of what is or is not gospel (i.e. good news, glad tidings).
Those of us comfortable with a complex system of interconnections between politics and spirituality welcomed the observations of people like John Dominic Crossan who dared to observe that the Bible uses the word gospel in a very political kind of way. There was the gospel proclaimed by the early church, but that sense did not stand on its own. It was in some sense a deliberate distortion of the way the word was being used by the Roman Empire in the lands it conquered.
And I think it was Lewis Benson (or perhaps Douglas Gwynn) who observed the early Quaker use of the phrase "everlasting gospel" — which comes not from the Gospels but from the book of Revelation — the Apocalypse. These diverse articulations of the "gospel" are all approximations, attempts to get close to one of those, "I know what when I see it" kinds of experiences. Unfortunately we live in a world where "close" only counts in horseshoes and in global nuclear war.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
(Mar 1:14-15 NRS)
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger."
(Luk 2:10-12 NRS)
As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' (Mat 10:7 NRS)
For "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever." That word is the good news that was announced to you.
(1Pe 1:24-2:1 NRS)
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you." For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.
(Gal 3:8-9 NRS)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Rom 1:16 NRS)
Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-- to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."
(Rev 14:6-7 NRS)
Maybe the trick is looking at how a passage speaks to the individual, understanding that this can change over time. Sort of a group lectio divina?
Now & then I'm pretty sure I killed it, being all things to all people in a way that generally ticked them off.
I've got one old friend who (irrately) tells me he "can't take the Bible seriously enough to joke about it" and other friends who hold their interpretations too strongly (me sometimes, perhaps) to consider that God may have other plans... There's the whole internet dampening-effect, where too-little-or-too-much likemindedness seems to shut off exchanges; plus people who care about it at all (almost as much as politics) get so very _personal about their takes.
I don't know, Forrest. The Friendly Kwakersaurus Bible Study had a fairly good run. It just seemed to lose something over time. Maybe the trick is to do it for short periods then move on to other stuff. What matters is that we are centred enough that we can disagree respectfully. And listen with a willingness to be changed. It's not Quaker but the Prayer of Saint Francis works quite well as an netiquette covenant, I should think.
What probably derails online Bible studies is probably the unavoidable tendency to think of "what the Bible means" in terms of whichever traditions, ideas, methods each person has been given to help learn whatever he has from it. It's got to be easier to reconcile -- or at least coexist with divergent ideas in a face to face group. Online, one thinks of ideas. Face to face, one thinks more of the people.
I think that thee and me came to Quakers about the same time and self identify in similar ways. Though I have been absent from the Quaker soup for some time now.
Given that this group is about Friends in the Bible the most likely directions we could take with this group would be to conduct a kind of online Bible study or to read a quicker book together with a focus on its use of Scripture. My best guess is that's been tried before with less than stellar results. So I am open to other suggestions.
Yes David, many of the groups are idle. If you have any ideas for getting this one going, I'd like to join in.
Hello Friends. You have a remarkably quiet little space here! Last comment seems to have been 5 years ago. Seems kinda dusty for a group with 96 members...
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