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Admin (Margo)
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Posts: 162

There was a call for CLARITY during meeting today - and a need for Quaker testimony - in the face of suffering of innocent people and numbness of other humans causing or just witnessing it these days... And there appeared a beautiful ministry... Could you repeat it here, Peter?

January 11, 2015 at 10:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Peter H
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Posts: 30

Although we have been horrified and mesmerised by the hideous actions in Paris over the last few days, my thoughts have tended to be with the three close friends who have died or are dying at this time.  Thinking of how to comfort them and the bereaved has concentrated my thoughts on the ideas and images that the established churches use for comfort: heaven, afterlife, "walking with Jesus", etc.  I found the following very helpful: (QF&P 21.57 Jenifer Faulkener, 1982) "I still fight the conventional words of "resurrection and life everlasting" but I know that after Jesus died the overwhelming certainty of his presence released his disciples from fear. I believe eternal life is in each moment of life, here and now; the real tragedy is not how or when we die but if we do not live the life we are given to our full potential.

Early Quakers had conceived "that of God" within everyone; the teacher had come to teach his people himself.  Many saw this concept as refering to the second coming, promised by Jesus; and there were many broken bones and skulls amongst Friends who suggested that at the time  Now it is a much more generally accepted concept.  I find it helpful to envisage "that of God" as a flame - think candle flame, a flame that lives in, and lights, our Spirit.  A flame in the heart. 

When we experience and give love, sympathy, empathy, care and concern, and when we see the beauty of landscapes, music, poetry; these experiences bring oxygen to the flame and it grows. There are some people who demonstrate how the flame can become more like a cosy fire glowing in the hearth, so that when you come in from the cold they provide warmth and comfort.  It is amazing to recognise that glow of Godly light even in people in the most difficult of circumstances, in the rubble of Palestine or Syria and the dusty villages of drought inflicted Africa.  However some people are denied love, feel no sympathy or empathy, have no one showing care or concern and their flame is starved of oxygen until it becomes the weakest glow stuttering on an otherwise stinking wick.

War and terror cannot solve problems, they only exacerbate them.  Our Quaker belief in "that of God"  in everyone is extended to accept that killing, maiming, terrorising, depriving anyone does that to "that of God".   The Quaker testimonies of peace, equality, simplicity and honesty are not nice sounding targets to aim for, rather they are the only way that we can relate to "that of God" in everyone.

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January 12, 2015 at 11:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Peter H
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Posts: 30

When "The Spirit Level" was published almost six years ago, we found what many people knew instinctively: that more unequal societies such as the UK have higher rates of violent crime, lower life expectancy, poorer mental and physical health, worse educational outcomes and a whole range of social ills of greater magnitude than the more equal ones.  Which, I think, underlines the basic message of the above. 

January 21, 2015 at 11:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Peter H
Moderator
Posts: 30

What does God look like?

Yes, silly question!  There was very little depiction of God in paintings, this is from Wikipedia: 

For about a thousand years, in obedience to interpretations of specific Bible passages, pictorial depictions of God in Western Christianity had been avoided by Christian artists. At first only the Hand of God, often emerging from a cloud, was portrayed. Gradually, portrayals of the head and later the whole figure were depicted, and by the time of the Renaissance artistic representations of God the Father were freely used in the Western Church.  Early Christians believed that the words of Book of Exodus 33:20 "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see Me and live" and of the Gospel of John 1:18: "No man hath seen God at any time" were meant to apply not only to the Father, but to all attempts at the depiction of the Father.

So those were the instructions to the early Church.  Early Friends went along with this in their realisation that  "the word killeth".  As soon as we try to illustrate a concept with a definition, be it in words or images, we constrain it. 

Western art did not feel the same constraint about illustrating Jesus, who appears in paintings throughout Christian history, which is, to me, a bit surprising.  Jesus was seen as part of God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and so an ebodiment of God.

Our Muslim friends appear to have had a very different approach, blocking not only images of the Prophet, but also, of man.  This produced the wonderful patterns and designs of the Alhambra, totally made up of abstract designs.  The west just does not seem to have any respect for this very simple and understandable concept.  Cartoons of the Prophet do not offend because of their content, although that may make things worse, but because they are images of what, Muslims belief, should not be imaged.

 

 


January 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Admin (Margo)
Site Owner
Posts: 162

We are born just as a "SEED".


What will happen to the seed - seed of God - and what it may become...?

It's up to us (and our conditioning) really...

April 2, 2015 at 8:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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