January 18, 2014 § 3 Comments

Dear Friends:

In my post on “Doing G*d’s Work” two posts ago, I mentioned a blog entry by Howard Brod that touched on some of the same issues. I have gone back to reread that entry and, for the first time, I have read all the comments.

I think this entry and the discussion that follows is so good that I want to bring it to your attention again. Here’s the link:

Let’s Get Real

Here are some of the quotes from the comments that spoke to me:

Our wide acceptance of people does attract many seekers, but it will only hold a small percentage. When I’ve spoken to those who have moved on, the most common response is that they wanted to move deeper into their faith exploration, but that the meeting was either uninterested or was uncomfortable with it.

When I sit on clearness committees for membership, people speak of wanting to be in a community of like minded people who share their values. When asked about their personal spiritual practice, most don’t have a response.

About 2 years ago, I attended a Quaker spiritual retreat that drew from multiple meetings (liberal and evangelical) over a 2 state area. When the group was asked “why are you here?”, every single liberal (and all were long time Friends) said, “because I need something more and my meeting doesn’t get it.”

In a nutshell, we accept people where they are, but we leave it at that. In my experience, we not very good at sharing our faith with one another, about nurturing spiritual growth or about gently challenging each other to take the next step in the Light.

And this:

Our testimonies, Quaker process and even unprogrammed worship have become our golden calf. We forget that there is Something More behind them.

But this is just a random smattering. The entire discussion is really valuable written ministry, in my opinion.

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§ 3 Responses to

  • Exterior says:

    Your way of telling the whole thing in this article
    is in fact pleasant, all be able to simply understand
    it, Thanks a lot.

  • QuaCarol says:

    I dunno, John. Over the years, as I’ve watched and/or experienced ministries appear (and disappear), I’ve come to the surprising conclusion that the most effective ministries are those that arise out of a person’s own need. If my conclusion is right, what it would take for a meeting to effectively engage in spiritual nurture–or to go deeper–is a core group that’s feeling lonely and wants more people to talk things over with.

    I believe it’s got to begin with a small, mundane need. An ordinary pebble in a small pond that sends ripples across the community.

  • “In a nutshell, we accept people where they are, but we leave it at that.” But I don’t think we’ll collectively be able to change from this laissez-faire attitude by getting ashamed enough, or angry enough with ourselves, nor yet by exhorting ourselves to set loftier goals. I think God will have to set us on fire. This must involve two things: (a) horror at our present spiritual condition, and (b) becoming inflamed with love, gratitude and longing for God our Savior — or, for drier natures, becoming determined to persevere with weeding out everything from our life and consciousness that does not lead to God. But such “repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18) can’t be worked up by our own efforts, but only comes as a divine gift. All we can do is ask for it.

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