Quaker Universalist Conversations

Invitation to the Conversation

Republishing Cat Chapin-Bishop’s “Open Letter to my Christian Quaker Friends” (Part 1 and Part 2) as guest posts is part of our effort to expand both the audience for Quaker Universalist Conversations and its pool of writers.

Cat practices what she calls Gastblogschaft, “the Pagan practice of blogging hospitality.” It’s an admirable and demanding practice, which calls for a blogger to listen genuinely to the messages of commenters and to respond tenderly, even when in disagreement.

We encourage you to visit Cat’s posts and to read through all of the thoughtful comments and responses. Gastblogschaft is definitely part of nurturing deeper conversations.

Jews in Lodz, Poland

Do you wish to contribute to Quaker Universalist Conversations, or do you read bloggers whose work you would like to see as contributions?

Please let us know by emailing blog@universalistfriends.org.

Here are some of the themes we hope to address as time goes on:

Are there additions or adjustments in Quaker faith and practice arising from embrace of universalism?

  • Testimonies: Equality, peace, integrity, simplicity, stewardship, community
  • Practices: Silence, discernment, leadings, gatheredness, sense of the meeting
  • Quaker education, worship, faith, theology, spiritual formation, history, tradition

What are some key topics for exploration related to universalism?

  • Historical roots within the Quaker tradition
  • Limits and boundaries to the inclusiveness of Quaker universalism
  • Has Quaker understanding of universalism changed (evolved) over time?
  • Are there dangers in Quaker universalism beliefs

Interfaith, inter-religious and inter-ideological issues

  • Relationships across boundaries
  • What is the experience of Quakers who self-identify with more than one label (e.g., Jewish Quakers, Buddhist Quakers, Pagan Quakers, etc.)?
  • Is there a particular affinity of Quaker universalism with Buddhism, Sufi Islam or other particular religious traditions?
  • Is there Quaker free space for religious exploration of other religious traditions?
  • Is there a common core of truth in all religions? Given the diversity of human belief systems, is unity on some essential principles possible?
  • Quaker universalism embraces “that of God” in all persons. However, are there criteria for differentiating among religions, even for judging them—some as compatible, some as not, some as good and wholesome, some as not.

Approaches to faith, belief and understanding

  • Agnosticism, atheism, non-theism, theism
  • Spirituality, secularism, rationalism, science
  • Mysticism: What is mysticism? How it is present in Quaker religious experience? Is it similar among different denomination and religious?

Quakers and Christianity

  • What is the relationship between the Christian tradition and universalism in Quakerism?
  • What is Christian universalism? Is this the same as Quaker universalism?

Explicitly Religious Concerns

  • Theology, salvation, life after death
  • Scriptures, worship
  • The nature of God, the role of Jesus
  • Themes of opposition: Western dualism, the Eastern yin/yang principle
  • The question of religious or spiritual Truth

Inner Work of Faith & Practice

  • Awareness, faith, belief, intellect
  • Spiritual experience, religious practice

Outer Work of Faith & Practice

  • Human experience, individual and community
  • Human rights, social action/justice
  • Conflict, war and peace
  • Public policy, ecology/environment, other species
  • Science
  • Language
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