From a planet on fire to containment
Planet on fire
The discussion about theism and nontheism is interesting and thought-provoking. There are clearly a number of Friends who feel deeply exercised about this, and I’m aware that some Friends, of every persuasion, have been hurt by others who seem unprepared to tolerate a perspective they don’t share. That is pretty appalling, in a non-credal religious community that claims to follow a way rather than a notion, and aspires to be loving and inclusive.
If we Quakers can’t even manage to embrace one another without first checking each other’s credentials, how can we presume to be ‘patterns and examples’ in the world at large? In the end, what is more important – seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all definition of the source of our leadings, or responding faithfully to the promptings of love and truth in our hearts?
But what I really want to say, Friends, is this: the whole planet is on fire! Bombs and bullets are raining down and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse appear to be trampling freely across the earth on their four horses – Fear, Prejudice, Greed and Selfishness.
To paraphrase Casablanca, do theological differences within our little faith group amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world? It seems to me there are more urgent matters to grapple with.
Worship and happening
I do not find much of the current theist/nontheist debate helpful. Better to recognise that God neither exists nor does not exist; rather, God happens, or does not happen. Whenever, wherever and however God happens for someone and they respond – how could they not? – they worship.
I am at a loss to understand how ‘worship’, its silence, language, liturgy or anything else, could have any meaning for those for whom God does not happen, ever or on a particular occasion, but such matters are beyond my comprehension.
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