On December 6th we published an excerpt from Craig Barnett’s post, “A common tongue,” on his own blog, Transition Quaker. There were several thoughtful comments which might help us to carry the conversation further.
Cap Kaylor wrote, in part:
I have attended Quaker meeting for years and…[it] has been my experience that we have nothing in common other than a loose set of somewhat left-leaning social justice concerns. That doesn’t mean to say that real and valued friendships have not been formed. But the powerful mysticism that I read of in the early Quaker sources is absent….
The deep silence of communal meditation is one thing. But silence can also be a manifestation of the fact that, in the end, we really have nothing to say….. We have reduced spirituality down to the lowest possible denominator so as not to make anyone “uncomfortable.”
And all we are left with is gathering together to celebrate the fact that we are gathering together. Not enough for many who are seeking the direct experience of the Divine in the fabled “gathered meeting” of old.
- Do you and Friends you know share this sense of loss, regardless of where you are on the Quaker spectrum?
- If so, how do you transcend the wariness of “discomfort” to give voice to your personal direct experiences of the “Divine”—whatever that poetic term means for you?
Friend Yun shared the following from Quaker Faith and Practice: Chapter 21 » 21.70 Suffering and healing :
Damaris Parker-Rhodes (1918–1986) studied Eastern mysticism and the holistic approach to health; her experience of cancer, of which she died, brought her fresh insights into the Christian symbols with which she had been brought up.
“Following the operation all sense of God disappeared, and anyone who came to my bedside (and the love and visiting I received was one of the great treasures of my life) I asked to take my hand and mediate God’s love to me. In fact healing and prayer surrounded me on every hand, although I myself felt cut off in complete inner aridity except when actually held in the inner place by someone taking my hand and praying.” (1985)
- In what ways do you experience moment of a transcendent Presence or Source which which gives you guidance or comfort?
- How do you share this experience with others when they cannot find it—or at least cannot recognize it—for themselves?
Note & Image Source
From Biographical Notes of Authors, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice:
“Damaris Parker-Rhodes was first an Anglican, then a communist, and then a convinced Quaker. She is active in peace and social issues and has great interest in oriental meditative traditions. Her book The Way Out Is the Way expanded her previous Swarthmore Lecture [Truth, a path and not a possession: A Quaker woman’s journey (1977)] in the light of her experience with cancer.”
Glyph of wood and water, by Mike Shell