This started out as a comment on the last post (about blue, but the comment wasnt', but about a comment I'd posted on Martin's Blog in response to a post that upset me.
I feel like I've had about 10 post about this already, but apparently I'm not done.
There seems to be a something going on in liberal quakerism these days - a frustration with complacency, with emptily going through the motions, with a sort of spiritual shallowness.
I have found over and over again that something in me surges when I hear others talk about the need to go deeper, to explore our faith as quakers, perhaps even to be willing to let go of empty forms (I don't think I've heard anyone say that phrase, but a sense that we now worship quaker practice, and have lost the original "point")
And then it falls to the ground, crushed, because what they're really talking about is their desire to convert or get away from me. Nasty, shallow, clueless heathen that I am.
I feel like in many ways I am as "fervent" as early quakers - just not about Christ (or not about the name, Jesus Christ) - this is one of the things about this vein that really stabs at me. I do feel like I, and perhaps we as a society, are called to go deeper, be braver, throw off the shackles of complacency. And yet, most of those who use this language, which I find exhilirating, are simply talking about bringing "Jesus" back into it. I am seriously baffled by this, because, living in the US, I am surrounded by people who throw around the word "jesus" with what would appear to me to be NO spiritual, compassionate, "fervor" whatsoever - it comes across either as simple brainwashing, or the lust to see other people burn in hell most often, in my opinon....
Clearly, if the Society of Friends is missing something, some connection to spirit, some passion, it is not that we don't say the word "Jesus" enough.
Now, the space to say the word "Jesus" if that's how spirit is revealed to you is another thing. I am aware that in recent times (I don't really know for how long) there have been people leaving meeting both because Jesus and the Bible are way to prevalent (for their tastes) in ministry, and others because when they say the name "Jesus", or quote the Bible, people come up and chastise them afterwards.
I have found myself yearning for a true shift, basically just towards a state where we take "seeing that of God in each other" seriously. And I have to say, that no non-theist I have ever met has had any problem with that concept (well, implementing it, maybe) I myself mean something by "God" - it's just so different from the definition that I grew up with, that calling myself a theist feels like a lie.
This has come up for me mostly in my work at my meeting on an ad-hoc committee for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Allies concerns (phew!) - where we are (well, I should only talk for myself, I am) finding that the meeting wants to be "supportive" - but doesnt' seem to want to hear too much about it, to go too deep. Issues that we haven't yet "dealt with" as a meeting come up, and reactions are, well, reactive. And I find myself wondering, what if we all REALLY focused first on responding to that of God in each other, seeing the differences between us as ground to be explored, something to be learned, but not a barrier (at least not until they actually prove themselves to be, - then what do we do? I don't know, but at least we could start out assuming connection, beyond differences)