Quakers believe that no one person or group knows the whole truth, that religious truth is constantly unfolding inspired by a variety of sources. Quakers are guided by values called testimonies.
From a monotheistic culture without direct revelation, Laozi was trying to make sense of what was going on in his time in China, when the country was divided and fighting one another. Is it the will of heaven, or it is just the corruption of humankind?
His ideas are very interesting when compared with those of a monotheistic culture which does describe direct revelations: law given by the God without a name; spiritual communities developed by the law of the Spirit; and a new commandment to love one another according to the love of Christ.
Today’s “Christianity,” and the Gospels, do not focus on the true beliefs of the message of Jesus, but instead on his “Resurrection,” his supposed divinity, salvation, and other divine aspects. This focus tends to make the true ethical and moral message of Jesus secondary to an attempt to fulfill the Jewish messianic prophecy. It is not that divine aspects are wrong or bad, but that the message and true values of Jesus are lost to the divine message.
Our enemies are the delusions that persuade us to choose empire over love: the delusion that nothing is worse than death, the delusion that I have the right to feel good, the delusion that people should want to do what I want them to.
The phenomenon of moral injury is currently being explored seriously in the areas of military service and torture experience, and it has been recognized as a genuine challenge by leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces branches and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It is also becoming the object of broader serious discussion in areas of human experience relating to sexuality, abortion, child abuse and poverty.
Genuine spirituality demands honesty, freedom, tolerance and equality, values running counter to the religious power structures that have been dominant for so long. It is a process of rediscovering and having a renewed appreciation of our place in nature, an emphasis which contrasts with the efforts of traditional religion to set humanity apart from its natural origins and even to set us apart from the needs and pleasures of our own physical bodies.
John S. Garrison’s Shakespeare and the Afterlife is, on the surface, a study of the views and devices used by William Shakespeare in his plays and poetry in treating the nature and activities of existence after death. More deeply, though, this book is a meditation on the variety of contemporary views about existence after death….
THEMES FOR 2019
During Quaker Universalist Fellowship’s annual steering committee meeting in October, we affirmed that our focus is on Quaker faith and practice underneath a broad theological umbrella. Overarching questions are:
- How do we manifest the interaction between faith and practice?
- How do we make the transition from faith into practice, making the “and” into an ongoing process of discernment that moves between the two?
We developed five general areas in which to focus, with queries. These are the areas that are the most alive for us, and for which we have the most sense of S/spirit-led clarity.
Jesus and After: The First Eighty Years, by E. Bruce Brooks – A review. Is the Christian scripture a moving text which changes with time? The author witnesses to such changes through an episodic philological analysis of Christian scriptures.
At the moment we are all afraid. All of us. On whatever part of the spectrum of belief we stand, there is nothing else in the pubic conversation right now except fear. Some of us express that fear as anger or resentment—or hope—but fear is the taste of this age.
And it’s all based, to put it bluntly, on what “sells newspapers”—on what distracts us, out-weighing what is real in our personal lives with what we are supposed to feel afraid of.