Do not Borrow or Steal in the face of ridicule, innuendo, and characterization.

When the measure of presence or illumination of the inshining Light is so strong and bright that identity, meaning, and purpose, is complete in the Light ( or inherent self-existence) itself without reference to any other outward forms, traditions, feelings, ideologies, institutions, practices, etc., then ridicule, mischaracterization, innuendo, caricature, and illusions, do not deflect or turn from direct Witness (or inherent self-existence) itself in itself. That is, the heritage of inherent self-existence is not enchanted.

When our Witness of the sufficiency of the inshining Light itself in our conscious and conscience is darkened by the enchantment of outward weapons like ridicule, our Witness is further darkened by reflections in the mirrors of anger, frustration, hurt, and on and on. These mirrors manifest through ridicule and innuendo which are engendered and nurtured by the person or people who ridicule. We then further lose our Witness by focusing upon these mirrors of anger, frustration, and hurt. In watchfulness, we are able to recognize our enchanted conscious and conscience, and then, acknowledging the reality of these mirrors before us, we re-turn to our faith in the Light itself by entering into patient and quiet waiting. In this waiting, we gaze upon the manifestations of anger, pain, and frustration, that others have successfully transferred upon us through their ridicule and accusation. In holding to the Quiet itself, the inshining Light begins to re-fill again into dark spaces and corners of our conscious and conscience. Only then, when our Witness of the sufficiency of the direct and unmediated experience of the inshining Light itself in itself, are we in a position to respond. However, even then, the only true opening to respond comes when the Light itself remains and guides the conscious and conscience in the very act of speaking and writing the response. The relative increase, decrease, or stasis, of the Light itself anchoring our conscious and informing our conscience is our guide. The extent to which we are unable or able to respond in the sustained Light itself, in the very activity of responding, is the extent to which we are open to respond.

To respond outside the covering of the Light itself, is to borrow or steal from the underlining anger of those who ridicule as an excuse to response. Ours is not to borrow or steal from others to excuse turning from our Witness of the sufficiency of direct and unmediated experience of the inshining Light itself anchoring our conscience and informing our conscience as our guide. Ours is to hold and to sustain in the inshining Light itself is all circumstances and in all things without regard to person.

This is the peace of Heaven on earth. The Kingdom is come and is coming.

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Comment by David McKay on 3rd mo. 30, 2016 at 6:35pm

I'm sorry. Perhaps I've had a very long day (and I have) and so this is a contributing factor. But I'm not really getting what you're trying to say here. The metaphors seem untethered from specific instances. Or perhaps I'm just unfamiliar with the instances that they refer to. Do you feel clear to clarify your sense for me a little?

Comment by Keith Saylor on 3rd mo. 31, 2016 at 12:01am


It is as much likely the I have not expressed in a meaningful way. Please feel free to question me about specifics of the content and I will do my best to clarify.  

I look forward to working through this with you.


Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 10:00am

I'm not altogether sure where I might begin. Much of what you have to say is metaphorical, and I find it densely metaphorical — that is to say metaphor follows on that metaphor before I can get a handle on how the metaphor hooks up with my lived experience.

Let's start with your phrase, "inshining Light". I'm familiar with the term, Light, as used in Quaker circles. You might have noticed that I tend to use the term "Inward Christ" in lieu of the word Light. To some extent I'm aware it's an affectation. I know why I do it — though it's unlikely that those who read me are aware of why I do it. I'm wondering how the word "inshining" modifies the word "Light" because I sense that it is important to you in the same way as my use of the phrase, Inward Christ is to me.

Then, "is so strong and bright that identity, meaning, and purpose, is complete in the Light" — you seem to be affirming that the sufficiency of our experience of the Light/Inward Christ. While I can affirm that to an extent doctrinally I am not yet at a place where I am so firmly fixed. And so my lack of experience in this area may be what is impairing my ability to understand much of what you've shared here. In my own experience, where convictions are often tentative and always at least in principle subject to future revision, a sense of certainty is actually a liability. The Light so to speak, may be pure, but my experience and interpretation of it is muddied by my own personal history and my current lived situation. And while I am attracted to the writings of the mystics, I am not such a mystic that I believe God is calling me to peel away the me that is been constructed through my biography. It is in fact in the middle of my living my biography that the Light shines.

I could of course go on. But I think that gives you a flavour of my difficulty.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 11:15am

I had the same difficulty trying to connect the engine of the metaphors to wheels...

but this time around, it seems to be pretty-much straightforward advice to not fall into whatever emotional storm has been self-perpetuating between you and people you want to respond to in this sort of conversation. (These things do sometimes get heated; and I've found that hitting the ball back when that happens, no matter how well, simply keeps the game going.)

To wait for some inspiration toward redirecting that... works better, when I remember to.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 1:02pm

Hello David,

I appreciate your questions and thoughts. I will reply to your second paragraph, then, when there is a sense of understanding (not to suggest agreement) between us relative to my use of the term "inshining," I will then return to the content of your third paragraph.

I use the term "inshining" for three reasons. 1. It is a term used by some of the founding Quakers. 2. I too often used and use the term "inward." However, of late, I use the term inshining because I found my use of the term inward somewhat habitual. When I write and speak the term inshining, meaning is not lost through the habit of use. 3. I suspect use of the term inshining will catch people's attention, in that they are not familiar with its use. 

Yes, the term inshining is used to modify Light, or Spirit, or Presence, or Christ, or God, etc. The term brings home the experience of the Light as larger or outside the context of any one individual. In other words, the inshining Light is not  created by or in individuals. The inshining Light in the conscience is not about individualism.

"Inshining" is, historically, a Quaker modifier as is "inward." However, inshining is out of fashion now. I have begun advancing it again to break through the habitual "inward." 

Please feel free to question me further on this specific matter before we move to the next. I am trying to take this step by step with the hope this will facilitate understanding if not agreement.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 3:40pm

I'm thinking the term 'inshining' was often perferred because it suggested that this Light was coming in from someplace Else,

and thus helped avoid the persistent misunderstanding that ~"This 'Light' you people keep nattering about is merely your personal conscience and reasoning, set up as an idol to encourage your uppity ways!"

The misunderstanding that usage perpetuated was the common conceptional gulf between God and the selves God manifests through.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 5:26pm

Per previous comments I tend to draw the line between inward and outward in a different place than Keith does.  That's just my language; we use our words differently. 

Keith's use of "enchanted" is also somewhat alien to my ears.  Not a problem.  No one says we all have to toe the same party line as Quakers.  We each evolve our own personal language.

Ridicule, satire, rhetoric in its many forms, all come under "the power of the pen" which may be "mightier than the sword" (a stock saying).  I recognize wielders of the pen among my heroes: Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis... a long list. 

The sword, a gun, sticks and stones, their use against others, comes under the heading of "outward weapons".

In espousing a Peace Testimony or Non-violence Testimony, I am not thereby relinquishing all use of pointed language. 

For others, the commitment may be different which is why I sometimes feel a need to distinguish myself from "other Friends".

More writing on this inward / outward distinction, as I draw the line:


Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 5:43pm

Thank you Keith for the clarification. So I am using, "Inward Christ" for similar reasons that you are using "Inshining Light". We both seem to like both ourselves and others to think about the words we use.

Kirby: I too have qualms about the boundary line between inward/outward. I think sometimes Christ — yes the "Inward Christ" speaks to us from within others who are seeking to be faithful (or sometimes who are not seeking to be faithful but end up being so anyway). And the metaphor — because it is still a metaphor — of interiority tends to make us locate — no let me correct that — tends to make me sometimes locate the source of guidance within my body. I am mindful that when the Gospel says the kingdom of God is within you that "among you" is a valid translation of the same Greek word.

Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 5:45pm

I suspect given the inclinations of folks here: myself, Forrest, Keith and Kirby that this could quickly degenerate into a discussion on the philosophy of language. I hope not. I think that my books by Ludwig Wittgenstein are still in storage!

Comment by Kirby Urner on 4th mo. 2, 2016 at 6:11pm

I think that my books by Ludwig Wittgenstein are still in storage! -- David McKay

Hah hah...

I have about forty-file books by and about Wittgenstein on my most visible living room book shelves. Many are on loan from Alex Aris, the elder son of Aung San Suu Kyi.  Alex is a friend and fellow Wittgenstein fan -- we also both read Nietzsche).[1] 

Here's a picture of one of my more obscure tomes: -- the screenplay for  Wittgenstein the movie.

Nabil Shaban plays a Martian in that move, the child Wittgenstein's "secret friend" (he appears throughout the movie as LW remains in touch with his inner child).  Nabil is also a Facebook friend.

I'll keep your concerns about degeneracy in mind then.  Perhaps a best practice in this context is to point to other writings, rather than reiterating points already made:

@Coordinating Committee Planning meeting
Eastside Friends Meeting
Bellevue WA

[1]  (Alex, me, and the late Dr. Bob Fuller, Suu Kyi's 6th grade science teacher, at a Cuban restaurant in Portland -- Alex's dad was born in Cuba).


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