The fact that religious systems include a substantial element of magic thinking and mythology does not disprove their usefulness in a difficult world. Religious belief has been common in all cultures since the beginning of human time because, from an evolutionary point of view, it has demonstrable survival value. At all times of history, human life has been a dangerous and fearful proposition. Religion has often functioned well to abate fear, instill intention, promote courage, and protect from despair.
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.
Global Meeting for Worship via Zoom web conferencing
Beginning Wednesday, March 6, 2019, and each Wednesday thereafter.
6-7:00 pm Coordinated Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time (UTC/GMT)
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.
When we act authentically out of “that of God,” either individually or as a group, either in worship or out in the world, we are not acting out of a static tradition. We are incarnating God’s dharma in the world—and it is the same dharma, regardless of the traditions we learn from.
Some years ago I discovered that, for me, the most important day in the Christian calendar is one not even traditionally noted, that strange, empty day between Good Friday and Easter. I go out into the wilderness by myself and sit, watching and waiting. I have never physically seen or heard Jesus. In the material realm, all I have of him is the stories I have been told. Yet when I sit alone on the empty day, he is no less with me than on any other day.
Scott Martin is a member of Centre Friends Meeting in Centreville, DE. In March he invited us to republish “Ensuring the Future of Liberal Quakerism: Transmissi… Continue reading →