Thousand Islands Meeting
FRIENDS' MEETING, however silent, is at the very lowest a witness that
worship is something other and deeper than words, and that it is to the
unseen and eternal things that we desire to give the first place in our
lives. And when the meeting...is awake and looking upwards, there is much
more in it than this. In the united stillness of a truly "gathered"
meeting, there is a power known only by experience, and mysterious even
when most familiar.
|I BELIEVE THAT GOD'S BEST for
another may be so different from my experience and way of living as to be
actually impossible for me. I recognize [a change] to have taken place in
myself, from a certain assumption that mine was really the better way, to
a very complete recognition that there is no better way, and that God
needs all kinds of people and ways of living through which to manifest
Light in the world.
Henry Hodgkin, 1933
REJECTION OF CREED is not
inconsistent with being possessed by a living belief. We have no creed in
science, but we are not lukewarm in our beliefs. The belief is not that
all the knowledge of the universe that we hold so enthusiastically will
survive in the letter; but a sureness that we are on the right road. If
our so-called facts are changing shadows, they are shadows cast by the
light of constant truth. So too in religion we are repelled by that
confident theological doctrine which has settled for all generations just
how the spiritual world is worked; but we need not turn aside from the
measure of Light that comes into our experience showing us a Way through
the unseen world. Religion for the conscientious seeker is not all a
matter of doubt and self-questionings. There is a kind of sureness which
is very different from cocksureness.
|CHALLENGING MARKET ECONOMICS with a Biblical
sense of the goodness of God in creation is to join a spiritual struggle.
Faith in God and solidarity with the suffering poor and all other forms of
life demand that we take a stand and say, "This destruction must
Keith Helmuth, 1990
|IT IS EASY to let ourselves slip into
"action for action's sake." Without noticing it, we
unconsciously seek to enlarge of sphere of activity; our social work
confronts us with such heart-breaking realities, with such urgent needs,
that we should like to run from this one to that...We find ourselves
eventually at the bottom of a dry well, with nothing but our wretched
little human powers...Bit by bit, we transformed what was a divinely
appointed task into work on a merely human level...because we neglected our inner
Henry van Etton, 1942
|FRIENDS ARE NOT naive enough to believe that an
appeal to "that of God" in a dictator or in an [aggressive] nation...
be successful in converting the tyrant or preventing aggression. Christ
was crucified. Gandhi was assassinated. Yet they did not fail. Nor did
they leave behind them the hatred, devastation and bitterness that war,
successful or unsuccessful, does leave. What can be claimed, moreover, is
that this method of opposing evil is one of which no person, no group, no
nation need be ashamed, as we may and should be ashamed of the
inhumanities of war that are perpetrated in our name and with our support.
Kathleen Lonsdale, 1953
HARD TO LOVE the questions when you live in a society obsessed with
answers. A believer takes a great risk in affirming the questions and
doubts of others because to be a good Christian is to have all the answers
and to never admit you have any questions. Consequently, we have a lot of
people living out a spirituality they can hardly claim to be their own. On
the surface they look good. They can sing all the right hymns and say all
the right prayers. They quote all the right verses and support all the
appropriate groups. They have even overcome great tragedy and despair and
give claim to a testimony of great victory. But deep within their being,
they are torn apart by this "spiritual schizophrenia." They have
doubts....But the Christian culture "code of silence" has forced
them on a journey of "Jesus is the answer" without ever having
been allowed to ask the questions.
|TO FIND RELIGION itself,
you must look inside people and inside yourself. And there, if you find
even the tiniest grain of true love, you may be on the right scent.
Millions of people have it and donít know what it is they have. God is
their guest, but they havenít the faintest idea that s/he is in the
house. So you mustnít only look where God is confessed and acknowledged.
You must look everywhere to find the real religion... Living with God
is not an apparition but a wordless and endless sureness. Like the silence
of two friends together.
Bernard Canter, 1962
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