Quakers

QuakerOatsI’m drawn to mysticism.

I don’t know how I got here, but the experience of God in the quiet of my own soul seems to be just about the only thing that matters to me religiously anymore.  Not that this experience doesn’t lead to other important things.  The active life is almost always a major part of the day to day existence of the saints.  But, as I see it, to be truly effective, the active life requires the passive life.

As Aldous Huxley observes:

“Action…should be something added to the life of prayer, not something taken away from it.  One of the reasons for this recommendation is strictly utilitarian; action that is ‘taken away from the life of prayer’ is action unenlightened by contact with Reality, uninspired and unguided; consequently it is apt to be ineffective and even harmful.”

One group of Christians who take this idea very seriously are the Quakers.  Quakers are weird.  And awesome. 

Quakers trace their decent back to a radical English preacher named George Fox.  In the mid 1600’s, Fox riled up the Church of England by passionately preaching two fundamental doctrines: (1) every human being is indwelled by the “Light of Christ,” and (2) this Light is the only ultimately reliable spiritual authority.  These ideas pissed off both the Church and society at large.  The Church didn’t like ultimate “spiritual authority” taken from priests, ministers, creeds, or the Bible, and noble society didn’t like the implication that every human being was equal in the sight of God, regardless of class, gender, etc.  Fox wasn’t a real popular guy.

I suspect, I know, he wouldn’t be popular among Evangelical churches today.  Because you just can’t put anything above the Bible.  Your “inner Light” (especially the so called “Light” of a non-Christian!) must submit to Scripture, not the other way around.

And I get that.  Scripture is concrete (at least at a surface glance); a Rock.  It’s a text, not some vague feeling.  Fox would be denounced as New Age.  And if the Christian Scriptures could hold the weight that is placed upon them by Evangelicals and the doctrine of inerrancy, I would be right their with them.  It would be nice to have that Rock.  But to Quakers, the only Rock is the Spirit of God.  The inner leading of the Holy Ghost.  And their gatherings reflect this.

Straight from the literature of a local Quaker congregation:

There are two aspects of our Meetings for Worship.

The first is the silence of group worship, in which we gather in the Presence of the Spirit to hear, inwardly, the ministry of God to us individually and as a group.  A Meeting in which this Presence is sensed strongly is called a ‘covered or gathered Meeting.’  In such a Meeting, we are led to listen most of the time in silence to the ministry of the Inward Light, since this silence may say more to us than any spoken ministry.

The second aspect of the Meeting is the spoken ministry, in which the Spirit of God moves one or more particular individuals to speak a message of ministry to the whole Meeting.  Many Friends have described the true leading to speak as a strong impulse which makes them so uncomfortable that they are unable to keep their seats but feel that they must speak.”

Like I said, weird right?  They just sit around in silence and if someone feels that they have a word for the congregation from the “Inward Light” (i.e. God), they share.  Weird.  And Awesome.  They even give themselves a weird alternate name…the Society of Friends.  Umm…cult anybody?

But I love it.  I went to a Meeting last week.  We just sat together for an hour in silence.  One man shared something about his father for about 5 minutes.  It was great.

 

There are two aspects of our Meetings for Worship

The first is the silence of group worship, in which we gather in the Presence of the Spirit to hear, inwardly, the ministry of God to us individually and as a group. A Meeting in which this Presence is sensed strongly is called a “covered or gathered. Meeting. In such a Meeting, we are led to listen most of the time in silence to the ministry of the Inward Light, since this silence may say more to us than any spoken ministry.

The second aspect of Meeting is the spoken ministry, in which the Spirit of God moves one or more particular individuals to speak a message of ministry to the whole Meeting. Many Friends have described the true leading to speak as a strong impulse which makes them so uncomfortable that they are unable to keep their seats but feel that they must speak. John Woolman described it as “that rise which prepares the creature to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to his flock”.

– See more at: http://www.tcfm.org/article/on-speaking-in-meeting-for-worship#sthash.ru9W7jaZ.dpuf

There are two aspects of our Meetings for Worship

The first is the silence of group worship, in which we gather in the Presence of the Spirit to hear, inwardly, the ministry of God to us individually and as a group. A Meeting in which this Presence is sensed strongly is called a “covered or gathered. Meeting. In such a Meeting, we are led to listen most of the time in silence to the ministry of the Inward Light, since this silence may say more to us than any spoken ministry.

The second aspect of Meeting is the spoken ministry, in which the Spirit of God moves one or more particular individuals to speak a message of ministry to the whole Meeting. Many Friends have described the true leading to speak as a strong impulse which makes them so uncomfortable that they are unable to keep their seats but feel that they must speak. John Woolman described it as “that rise which prepares the creature to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to his flock”.

– See more at: http://www.tcfm.org/article/on-speaking-in-meeting-for-worship#sthash.ru9W7jaZ.dpuf

  • bruce muamba

    sa va bien par la grace de Dieu

  • bruce muamba

    je m’exprime bien en anglais