In this essay the author reflects on the nature of reality and the origins of the Western monotheistic tradition. He, then considers the conundrum posed by this and raises questions regarding the nature of boundaries of Quaker universalism and where non-theists place fits in relation to it.
The author, who from her lifetime immersion and experience of Quakerism , being given by nature to “march to a different drummer”, shares her discovery that it is not only a safe place to be but also an immensely enriching one. She reports on finding that “the resulting tensions between individualism, universalism, freedom and community are mediated by trust.
Let the first concern of the friends of Jesus be to cooperate with and to encourage, rather than to convert, anyone who is already promoting the Realm of God on earth. Let us look forward to a new millennium when all humankind’s great religions will collaborate full-heartedly in the mutual building up of a civilization based on love. Let us recognize that while spiritual life in its externals often presents us with a bewildering diversity, the saints of each spiritual tradition are practically indistinguishable from each other in their lives, their way of being. Though their theological concepts may be different, their feelings and conduct are amazingly similar. They dwell in love, and God dwells in them because God is love. In the beautiful prayer with which he closes his final discourse in the Gospel of John, Jesus acknowledges that he came so that “all might be One.” Increasingly in this modern age, the capacity to apprehend the One in the many constitutes the special responsibility of those who would dwell in love. As we embrace our heritage for the new millennium, may this capacity to apprehend the One in the many, and the love it expresses, be our special gift as the friends of Jesus to people of all faiths everywhere!