Quaker Universalist Conversations

Best Friend Forever

Clem Gerdelmann had a final contribution to our “Judaism and Quakerism” conversation which we were not able to publish before the end of October. Here it is.

The contemporary mystic Richard Rohr postulates that, for every century of human existence, humanity itself gains but one year of spiritual growth. So what does a roughly 45 year old religious people, the Jews, have to say to a 3-5 year old group of Quakers?

Students of the Bible (canonical and apocryphal) might jump to the Book of Proverbs or, more to the point of a grandson sharing his ancestor’s wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, for an answer. In fact, ‘It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt” is good elderly advice, especially for false prophets and putrid vocal ministry.

Better offered, and more often cited in New Testament writings, are the Psalms. There is one that concludes, “…eternal Your merciful love, faithful forever,” praising the hope found in God for this life and a promise of the life to come.

Surely, a 45 year old, experienced in corporate betrayal and marital infidelity, would claim this hope and promise differently than the 3-5 year old rejoicing in a B.F.F.!

When you consider how scary and confusing an expanding and, at the same time, contracting (into “black holes”, no less) universe is for people of any spiritual age, a hope and promise that’s out of this world is God’s Master Card (priceless).

When, due to uncontested climate change, even wealthy grandparents are not likely to be able to leave a comfortable inheritance to children born today, then the hope and promise of God’s unconditional benefaction is awesome indeed.

And, when God has historically proven the hope of Judaism and universally established the promise of Quakerism, “that of God” truly is the best everrrrrr!!!

Comments

Clem, Your introduction was very interesting:

“The contemporary mystic Richard Rohr postulates that, for every century of human existence, humanity itself gains but one year of spiritual growth. So what does a roughly 45 year old religious people, the Jews, have to say to a 3-5 year old group of Quakers?”

This calculation you propose is humbling and beneficial for Quakers to do these numbers on its face, but for Quaker universalists, the recalculation is the comparison of the roughly 45 year-old (Jews) talking with the other 45 year-old (Quakers). The reason is that the Quaker today is part of the Protestant tradition of the Catholic tradition of the Jewish tradition of the primordial human tradition and benefits from the parallel experience and insight of the Jewish tradition (and others, including Buddhism and Islam) along with others, in important parallel, along the way.

The key is the selection of ancestors, which is a struggle and decision for every human. To select an exclusive narrow set of ancestors or short time tradition will have significant myopic and harmful spiritual consequences for the person and the world. To embrace a universal set of ancestors and common time tradition is a sobering gift, but still a spiritual gift for all 45 year-olds.

Just a thought with appreciation for your point.

Larry