Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"For communication with art helps us to see. Unless the artist in us functions readily—as it did for Jesus, St. Francis and George Fox, for instance— we actually see very little in life. We recognize, we identify, we evaluate: we see what we remember, usually distorting what we see to fit the pattern of memory. Ordinarily, we see with scales of habit on our eyes. Art teaches us, as Blake puts it, to see through, not with the eyes. We see from a depth within us, and therefore see the depths in things. Clive Bell said that art grasps the universal within the particular. This implies, not Pantheism, but the world as the language of God, wooing the human race, awakening that of Himself within persons."

-- Dorothea Blom

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"[The fine arts] at their greatest, always contain some revelation of the Spirit of God, which is in the fullest harmony with our spiritual faith. In the fields of music, art, and literature, as in others, Friends may witness to the glory of God and advance that glory by their service. The "fulness of the whole earth is His glory," and we mar the beauty of this message by every limitation we set upon it.

— William Charles Braithwaite

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"The saint is ... a man or woman who become clear as to exactly what he wants of all there is in the world, and whom a love at the heart of things has so satisfied that he gaily reduces his cargo to make for that port. 'Oh God, my Lord, do as thou wilt; I will be still.' He is one who is doing what he wants wants to do ... what lies beneath the minutes and the days and the years he would want to do if all of them should vanish and leave him forever at it. He is responding back to the love of God in whatever setting he may be placed. He is a radical in the true sense of that word, for he has gone to the root of things and found the root good. He is holy in the sense of the totality of his abandonment to that Loving One."

-- Douglas V. Steere

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"The deepest Self of all is that Self which we share with all others. This is the one Vine of which we all are branches, the Life of God on which our own individual lives are based."

-- Howard H. Brinton

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So What Does It Mean to be Human

That was the question I wondered after watching "Moon" with Sam Rockwell. I don't want to give too much away from this 2009 film in case you haven't seen it, but...Sam Bell is an astronaut (or is he?) who has left family behind for a 3 year contract on the Moon mining a substance that has freed those of us on Earth from dependence on fossil fuels.

What a great guy. What a great company. Except is he? Are they?

Sam remembers his life on Earth. His wife. His daughter. He even remembers his life on the Moon. And he is confused when ... well, "he" appears a bit younger and healthier in the same space --- and actually rescues him from an accident.

It's a lovely spooky film that raises questions only fiction can -- if we try to think about them rationally, we quickly lose our way. That is why, I believe, only story tells the "whole" truth -- it asks the questions we want to ask, struggles with the questions we want to ask, and dares to leave us unanswered.

Is that not the essence of faith? To go where reason ceases to make sense and to venture into the realm of ... the myterious? The spirit? The soul?

And, as a Friend who believes "there is that of God in everyone" it raised anew the question of who is "everyone"? Everyone like me? White? Privileged? Human? Animal? Clone? "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" (Psalm 139:7).

It is, I think, a frightful, wonderful question. A question we all should struggle with. Especially when we feel confident that God's presence is with us. Is it not equally with others? Recognized by us or not?

Well, I probably waxing too philosophical about a mere movie -- wonderful piece of entertainment or not. But, because I think it was a wonderful piece of entertainment, it also challenged me -- which is what good art does.

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?"


-- Brent

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"To me, being a Christian is a particular way of life…being the kind of person that Jesus wanted his followers to be and doing the things he told them to do … Nor, it seems to me, can you live a Christian life unless, like Jesus, you believe in the power of goodness, of mercy and of love… "

-- Kathleen Lonsdale

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"What does it mean, this trusting in God? I think it means that we are certain that spiritual power is life's precious foundation."

-- Emil Fuchs

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"Jesus came to teach us to hear more honestly and understand more intelligently and deeply the voice of God within ourselves. Do not be too sure of yourself, pray truly, constantly. Do not distrust yourself, but ask for Strength, earnestly and constantly."

-- Pierre Ceresole

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"A major issue for the Society of Friends today is whether its emphasis is to be, once more, for this type of open, expectant religion, or whether it is to seek for comfortable formulations that seem to ensure its safety.”

-- Rufus Jones

Jones said this in 1940... hmmmm....

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"Without the love of God the command to love our neighbor is a monstrous sarcasm, the imposition on mankind of impossible conflict between the moral sense and the will."

-- Kenneth Boulding

Monday, February 08, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"To be present is to be vulnerable, to be able to be hurt, to be willing to be spent - but it is also to be awake, alive, and engaged actively in the immediate assignment that has been laid upon us."

-- Douglas V. Steere

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"Do you want to know whether a group is part of the true church? Very well, note whether they love each other; note whether their hearts are quickened by the love of the Living God; note whether they show that they have the mind of Christ in them. No other credentials are needed."

-- D. Elton Trueblood

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"The world today is hag-ridden by fear, as if indeed the witches and warlocks of old Pendle had come to life, to execute a fearsome vengeance on mankind...If we could take up the challenges of 1652, we should know that the Lord is at work in the darkness; that the ocean of love and light is unquenchable, yesterday, today and forever; that whatever may befall us, our joy no man taketh from us..."

-- Elfrida Vipont Foulds

Friday, February 05, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the Truth. "

-- Lucretia Mott

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

“A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.”

-- William Penn

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"The place of prayer is a precious habitation: ... I saw this habitation to be safe, to be inwardly quiet, when there was great stirrings and commotions in the world."

- John Woolman

Monday, February 01, 2010

Quaker Wisdom for Today

"Our strength or help is only in God; but then it is near us, it is in us - a force superior to all possible opposition - a force that never was, nor can be foiled. We are free to stand in this unconquerable ability, and defeat the powers of darkness; or to turn from it, and be foiled and overcome. When we stand, we know it is God alone upholds us; and when we fall, we feel that our fall or destruction is of ourselves."

-- Job Scott