Quaker Universalist Conversations

Spiritual life is physical

Classical Greeks imagined a separation between mind and body, between spirit and matter.

The Jewish missionary Paul borrowed this notion—by his time dominant in the Greco-Roman world—as he tried to translate the more holistic Jewish spirituality for non-Jewish worshipers in the first century synagogues and congregations where he taught….

Sadly, the absolute spirit-versus-matter dichotomy of the Greeks has… persisted throughout the centuries of Christian dominance and into the empirically-minded science of the modern Western world.

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Loss of shared space: the second pandemic

But, our brains are in bodies in the material world. And our bodies need more than that minimal sight on a screen in order to feel—to know in the blood—that we are really in the midst of other people.

When we begin to experience cabin fever and loneliness, when we start to feel more discouraged, disoriented, and cut off than fear of the disease itself can account for, might we be uncovering a deeper spiritual pandemic: the loss of shared space?

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Who is Jesus for me?

Bringing Jesus out of the shadows

I believe Jesus was “sent” by God in the sense that he walked fully with God – acted out of that place of love at all times, fully lived as we are meant to live. He was our model for all we are capable of being and doing…. I think Jesus had the impact he did because he was showing us what kind of attitude and behavior makes us right with the world, how the world and we really work.

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“On Mediation” by Mary Klein

“From the Editor’s Desk,” Jan/Feb 2020 Western Friend

Love and truth spring forth in all times and all places – even in the hearts of chaos and corruption. We strive to follow the Good Way, but only in vain can we define it. Dust devils of DNA whirl down the generations, rampaging, making things new, making things fit, breaking eggs to make omelettes. To our surprise, we arrive in this life. Then we do our best to do the right thing, never really knowing all the good and all the damage we are causing.

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“Love Thy Neighbor as Yourself:”
Discourse on the Nature 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.

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Whistleblowing: A Universal Challenge

The New Whistleblower’s Handbook
by Stephen Martin Kohn – A review

This is a serious book addressing the motives and the emotional burdens on whistleblowers. Kohn conveys an enthusiastic, can-do theme and attitude. He is clearly supportive of whistleblowing as a benefit to private and public good governance.

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Help for Moral Injury: Strategies and Interventions, by Cecelia Yocum – A Review

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.

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Linda Dittmar’s “A View from the Minaret” (excerpts)

Reflecting on willed blindness in modern Israel

Linda Dittmar, an Israeli-American native of Caesarea, describes a 2007 visit to her home town in northwest Israel, with her friend Deborah Bright, an American photographer who was in Israel to search out and record what little remains of depopulated Palestinian villages demolished during the war of 1948—which Palestinians call Al Nakbha (the Catastrophe).

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