Quaker Universalist Conversations

More on language and hearing each other

In March,  Mike Shell wrote of learning to listen and be understood amid diverse spiritual paths and language in “Listening in Tongues”.  At www.quakerquaker.org, Paula Deming raises her quandry of talking about God in her Meeting, in her post “Why does my faith journey threaten yours?” :

I ask the question above, because for some reason many Friends say they don’t feel safe if I use “God” language in their presence. No matter how gentle I am in explaining that I am merely using language that best describes my understanding of the Divine Mystery, others wish to silence me because they are uncomfortable.
But isn’t this the same as claiming that gay marriage threatens marriage between a man and a woman? Isn’t that what these “defense of marriage” bills are claiming? What does one have to do with the other?

Later, in response to discussion she follow on with:

Friends, I have taken great joy in this conversation. I have also taken joy in the conversations our meeting is having on our Facebook page. We are really examining “God talk,” and talking about our journeys and feelings. I have to believe that this is very important for Friends to do, no matter how painful it might be for us.

I keep coming back to Isaac Penington:

For our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations against another, but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.

This is such simple and loving guidance for us. Primitive Christianity Revived. By these means we fulfill the Spirit, whose fruits are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22)

Yours in Faith and Love, Paula

How do you or your Meeting mediate language about God or Spirit?  Is there “love, and peace, and tenderness”?  What are the varieties of language used to describe spiritual experience?   Is this a topic you discuss or would like to discuss in your Meeting or spiritual circle?

Gail Rogers


You seem to be starting from the assumption that the Meeting, a human assumption, should be mediating the language of messages. I reject this assumption.
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