Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Center

Over on Liz's blog (the title is a link to it) the comments on a post have veered towards a discussion of what "the center" that many of us are trying to move towards might be.

I realized after the fact that I had revealed myself as an inveterate universalist when I made the claim that "the center" changes depending on what people you're including in your calculation (if you have a scattering of points on a graph, you can find a "center" of the scattered plots)

While the idea seems to be that for conservative Friends, and/or christians (?) The center is true, it has to do with God, and that transcends people. So that new people don't shift it at all?

If there is one (well, there are lots of centers, but if there's a "true" one - that can be true for all of us) does it shift a little when each new person is born or dies?

Or is it constant. has it been constant forever? was it the same center for dinosaurs? Or do they lack souls and therefore not have a center? (rhetorical question, I don't beleieve that for a minute, God certainly doesnt' depend on us for existence, if it has it - except as a word a concept, but if you believe in it, you believe in more than that, I'd guess)

I realized a bit later that I don't necessarily believe that it changes (though I probably believe that more than that it doesn't, if THAT makes any sense) - it's possible that it doesn't change, and yet every new person brought under consideration changes our perception of it. More like science, where our best understanding of truth shifts constantly with new information, sometimes subtlely, sometimes radically, but pretty constantly...

And then I wonder if anyone should NOT be taken as part of the equation - which touches on (perhaps) the idea of "that of God in everyone" (at least my understanding of it, which is not a bit of the reflection God, but that we are all a piece of God, and it is (?) diminished by the loss of any one of us)

So, are psychopathic killers part of God? Does their "truth" shift the center, or, rather, give us new information about it (that can be trusted, that is not false) - or are they simply outside the system of God? Is anyone outside the system of God? Not in terms of basic respect owed (like, no one should be tortured!) but in terms of for lack of a better phrase, building the kingdom?

Love is at the root

Ok, so I felt somewhat foolish after reading even the first few comments on my last post, because it's so OBVIOUS that love isn't a testimony, it's like the earth that the testimonies grow in.

But then I'm left with an even bigger question, why do we talk about the testimonies so much and love so little?

It's like the testimonies are rules that you can follow - because you want to be a "good quaker" - or a 'good person" or whatever.

And I used to get a bit squeamish when folks would say it's not all about the testimonies because I thought they were saying:

a) it's all about God (and therefore, as a nontheist, it has nothing to do with you)


b) even worse, God might change "his" mind - if he's the God of the Bible he might (in my opinion) change it to something sort of icky - he might chuck equality out the window and tell us to slaughter all our enemies, except keep the little girls for sex slaves (reference, anyone? I'm so bad at Biblical references) or to kill our first born child or something.

me and God still have some talking to do....

But back to the "love" thing - while I'm not about calling it God, I think there is something, and love is a decent word for it, that grounds the testimonies, and nourishes them. It might even seem to undermine them (in moments where it says - yes, lie to that slavecatcher about whether there is a runaway in your basement - sad that I can't think of a more current example) but it can't be truly undermined, though it can be ignored.

We don't use "SPICE" much in my first day school class. I think it's kinda corny anyways... but I think every now and then we manage to touch on the rest of it, even glancingly...

Friday, February 02, 2007


I've been wondering lately why "Love" isn't a testimony. I mean, not exactly, for the past year I've found myself in various situations assuming that it is, and then realizing that I'm wrong.

So, what's with that?

Is it too emotional and passionate, maybe too earthy, for our culturally pretty reserved religion?

Is it an emotion? and therefore off limits?

Are we not called to love each other? but only to act from integrity/peace/equality - which aren't exactly the same thing, but I think why I get confused.

Any thoughts? Am I just missing something?

I think it is a testimony for me. Is that rampant individualism? Doesn't feel (exactly) like it.

Again, not feeling articulate, but have something to say anyways. (dang!)

peace (and love)!