Letters - 28 June 2019

From expressions of experience to musing on miracles

Expressions of experience

The language in this year’s Swarthmore Lecture might be difficult for some Friends. I call myself a Christian Quaker as I love the hymns of my Methodist upbringing and the songs of my later ecumenical experiences. I can resonate with the emotion of the Christian faith present in much of their poetry and I find inspiration in the Old and New Testaments.

I value the quiet waiting upon the guidance of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit in our Meeting, which gives rise to some profound ministry. I welcome all expressions of spiritual experience among us, even if they do not sit easily in the language of my Christian tradition. The language other Friends use when it falls outside my frame of reference does not worry me. It is where words come from that is important.

I despair of Friends who seek to airbrush our Christian heritage out of the current expression of our spiritual experience as, by so doing, they are seeking to airbrush me out of the Society. I wish to be recognised as a Christian Quaker, celebrating that rich tradition while remaining open to new expressions of the Truth. I do not find that at all contradictory, but rather complimentary and necessary for my spiritual growth.

I am grateful for Eden Grace, the 2019 Swarthmore lecturer, and her struggle with our responsibilities towards the proper care of our planet. Thank you, Eden, for putting this back into the hands of our forefathers so that we may emerge, with greater confidence, into the Light.

Colin South

Access and inclusion

In the edition of the Friend of 31 May, at the end of page eleven it states that: ‘As a sixth edition of the hard copy text is not expected to be published, Friends were reminded that the online text of [Quaker faith & practice] is the definitive text.’ Are Friends not aware that there are Quakers that do not possess a computer? I know of some. I know of another Friend who only has access to a computer at her local library. Although I do have a computer I have difficulty controlling the mouse and I have dyslexia. Everything takes a long time to do. It has taken me half an hour to type this letter so far. Perhaps a list of the changes could be published?

Pat Slessenger

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