Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Our experience of the presence of God is our entire experience, including all internal and external senses and our awareness of experiencing.
We can't say that some subset of our experience is the presence of God.
Some aspect of our experience may come to symbolize or represent or indicate the presence of God to a person, but that's an agreed 'codeword' between God and that person: "When I feel ___ then I know You are here & open for business." God is always here and open…Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 8th mo. 26, 2018 at 7:01pm — No Comments
You don't do the Bible, or any human being greater honor, or understand them better, by taking them literally.
To take something "metaphorically" doesn't mean that we treat it as just a fluffy literary decoration.
In mathematics there's a term for what a metaphor does: it's called "a mapping." A useful metaphor says that one thing has a similar structure to another thing; they behave alike in analogous circumstances. One of them can be taken as a useful hint toward…Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 20, 2017 at 12:33am — No Comments
The word 'spiritual' gives a lot of people problems, and I'm not going to define it. I'm not even going to claim I understand all that it entails.
But one description that works: "If you can't define something; if you can't reduce it to a combination of some other categories or interactions between them" -- words like say, Truth, Beauty, Love and the like come to mind --
then it very likely is spiritual.
Friends have a lot of trouble with the word 'Truth' anymore. It…Continue
If a Meeting takes a stand on any significant issue whatsoever it excludes (and temporarily alienates) people who see the matter otherwise.
If a Meeting can not take a stand on matters causing great suffering (and there is always disagreement about these, or someone would have simply corrected them) we seem to fall short of a basic Christian duty.
A possible resolution to this might look like what we did (as I heard it) with the Quaker House in Ulster. Of two warring groups,…Continue
[Thanks to C. Wess Daniels for the nudge!]
People have come to think of a concern for ideas as pathological.
When ideas come to matter more to us than our love for each other, it is pathological.
But people die when the ideas they love and the truths they live under fail to match; bad ideas can kill people as surely as intentional violence.
We have got to resolve our differences; we have truly got to resolve our differences — not smooth them over, not crush them…Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 26, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments
I first encountered the fact of this in the 1960's, when I was flailing through a life already hijacked by God, reframed by mind-striping drugs, immobilized by conflicting ideas and ideals.
In search of a group I might really belong with, I stayed overnight with people who kept the air thick with pot smoke amid the bewildering sounds of a record I'd never heard of: 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter,' by the Incredible String Band. Among many intricate, confusing lyrics, one mad…Continue
Although I believe poetry (and worse) sometimes belongs here, the format-editing capabilities of the site don't lend themselves to proper single-space line divisions,
so here's the link.
Added by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 24, 2016 at 1:09pm — No Comments
What Early Friends shared with their Puritan antagonists was a theology in which natural human will was an evil to be overcome. Our own will was innately in rebellion against God -- was capricious, heedless, insatiable -- downright wilful -- and the bulk of George Fox's contemporaries agreed that it could only lead to trouble.
In Puritan systems, not even Jesus could make that will good, but merely achieve posthumous forgiveness for the inevitable lapses.
Quakers objected that…Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 2nd mo. 17, 2016 at 1:38am — No Comments
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
"You will say, 'Christ saith this, and the apostles say this;'…
Added by Forrest Curo on 11th mo. 7, 2015 at 1:37pm — No Comments
For a very long time now I have not been able to see any very good reason to study the Bible. Yes, it's a collection of writings one needs to come to terms with, to account for, to find some meaning in -- but once you have, why read further?
After wrestling with…
We know various meanings -- perhaps none of them sounding quite right to us -- for phrases like "The Kingdom of God" or "The World of God."
Could people find a better sense, at this point, in a phrase like 'The Activity of God'?
[I'd tried to start a discussion on this, found that for some reason new discussions don't seem to get posted in 'Latest Activity'. Is this a new dysfunctional default on…
Added by Forrest Curo on 1st mo. 3, 2015 at 7:42pm — No Comments
God made music;
God made thought;
God made notions
to think we ought.
God made dogmas of
having no dogmas,
idols of duty and
hammers of beauty.
God made silence;
God made noise;
such varied toys!
God made food
and God made hunger
& wistful thoughts
of being younger.
God made laughter;
God made woe.
God winds us up
to help us go.
[last line revised.]
Words can also be obstactles
but telepathy fails
because most people can't
read their own minds.
Added by Forrest Curo on 9th mo. 16, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments
First off, the disclaimer: “Capitalism, as an economic system, is not intrinsically evil as such.” [How I hate having to say that!]
Now, the disdisclaimer: “Capitalism, Socialism, or any blend or variant thereof, becomes intrinsically evil the moment it becomes an object of worship. Thou shalt hold no economic and/or political system above the Lord thy God.”
There is no question but that capitalism (of the worst sort) has become the major object of worship for some large but …Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 3rd mo. 26, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments
Jesus starts preaching: The Kingdom is arriving; it is within reach. And then the Sermon on the Mount. Why?
This, properly understood, is how we are supposed to let the Kingdom happen around us.
Added by Forrest Curo on 12th mo. 8, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments
The heart of the Quaker revelation is that 'Christ is here to teach his people himself.'
It is not the idea that Christ is here to teach his people himself; it is Christ teaching us.
It is not the rejection of ideas about God; but it does entail recognizing and embracing God's ongoing process of teaching and cultivating each person; it entails resisting the substitution of ideas about God for facing God.
It isn't the worship of experience without…Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 11th mo. 29, 2013 at 1:09am — No Comments
I have started a blog where I would like to see discussion of some of those questions that keep coming up and keep being oversimplified here: Making Peace With the Bible.
The first post: 'From a Discussion Sheet at a Liberal Quaker Potluck is precisely what it says. I had hoped to entice a group of Liberal Friendish…Continue
Added by Forrest Curo on 10th mo. 4, 2013 at 12:58am — No Comments
[I was invited to talk about Quakers for my wife's adult Sunday school class at St Mark's Episcopal Church nearby, which I normally attend on my way to Meeting. What I told them is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, but is not a description agreed to by any official Quaker body.
This post was short enough to read in the first week's session, together with short portions of George Fox's Journal and Pacific Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice. The next post…
I’m in the process of transferring an old, inherited Bible study blog to wordpress.
That’s Reading The Light Through the Pages. It was started by a Quaker but has always been open to a range of comments and contributors.
As the last active participant from the old site, I intend to aggressively recruit new people, likewise from a wide range, but with the…Continue