Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Silence in a Noisy Season: Silence -- The Language of God

“The less form in religion the better, since God is a Spirit; . . . the more silent, the more suitable to the language of a Spirit.”

William Penn, quoted in Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends, #227.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Silence in a Noisy Season: All Silences Are NOT Alike!

“Outwardly, all silences seem alike, as all minutes are alike by the clock. But inwardly the Divine Leader of worship directs us . . . and may in the silence bring an inward climax which is as definite as the climax of the Mass when the host is elevated in adoration.”

Thomas Kelly, quoted in Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends, #245.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Silence in a Noisy Season: Sacramental Silence

“[Silence] may be an intensified pause, a vitalized hush, a creative quiet, an actual moment of mutual and reciprocal correspondence with God. The actual meeting of man with God and God with man is the very crown and culmination of what we can do with our human life here on earth.”

Rufus Jones, quoted in Christian Faith and Practice in the Experience of the Society of Friends (London: London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 1960), #244

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Finding Silence in a Noisy Season: An Evening With Brent Bill

Join me at Pendle Hill Conference Center for "Finding Silence in a Noisy Season"!

Pendle Hill and QuakerBooks of FGC cordially invite you to an
Author’s Talk, Booksigning, and Reception
with J. Brent Bill

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

"Trump Wins": So What? Election Reflections from the Bad Quaker

"Trump Wins." That's what I heard at 5:30 a.m. when I turned on the news this morning.  My old body is still operating on Daylight Savings Time, so I went to bed early and got up early.

"Trump Wins."

I was stunned. And dismayed.


But less than two hours later the sun came up. It was a beautiful sunrise on a crisp autumn day. As I write this the sun is shining through the woods, the remaining leaves are lit with gold, Bonnie the Wonder Dog wagged her tail and slobbered all over me when she saw, coffee still tasted good, there's wood here on the farm that needs splitting, a hydralic line on the tractor needs replacing -- as does the water filter in the basement.

Likewise, my call to write about my understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues. Unchanged is my conviction that I am to share the good news that God loves each and every person on this earth. The calling I have to stand for the equality of all people, for inclusion of all in our congregations and civic life, for peace in action and language and attitudes, for integrity in daily living, for care of the earth, for radical communities of faith that embrace all and turn away none, and for taking time to listen to each other and -- most especially -- the voice of God and truth which is eternal has not diminished as a result of Donald J. Trump's election.

None of that would have changed if Hilary Clinton had been elected.

This morning's news reaffirmed -- while shaking me a bit (a shaking I needed, I think) -- my belief as a Christian that my life is about depending upon and following God and not about which politicians "control" the United States of America. My allegiance is not to a flag, but to the Eternal Lover of My Soul. The platform I espouse (albeit not always well) is neither Trumponian or Clintonian. Rather it is that of a not-so-simple son of a carpenter from Galilee.

"Trump Wins." Well, he won the presidency. I will pray for him. And this country. I hope he is a successful president for all of this nation. Regardless, I need to continue to try to live up to what I hear the voice of God saying to me. I need to continue to write words of Light and Love and Good News. I need to live a life that models the words of Galatians -- "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

And I need to change that water filter in the basement.

May God bless us -- every one. And everyone. Including Donald J. Trump.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Stop Talking -- Start Listening: Time for Silence During this Noisy Election

I got these business cards when I thought about ways to promote release of the second edition of Holy Silence. They seemed like a good, tongue-in-cheek way to to remind people of the need for sacred silence.

But, during these past few months, I've thought about them more and more in relation to this noisy, hateful election season. Politicians left and right and who knows what are pummeling us with negative ads that vilify their opponents. By the sound of the ads, every single one of these people is vile, untrustworthy, and the most despicable person who ever lived.

And their followers are not much better. Every minute my social media accounts are flooded by vitriol. Even the family wienie roast the other night had its moments of casting aspersions on candidates and those who might vote for them.

Just stop talking!


Listen for a change.  No, not to the candidates. Or their followers. Take a break from all that. No matter what your political leanings, please take some time away from the 24/7 onslaught of political pandering and rhetoric and listen to the voice that matters -- God.

Politicians claiming to be Christian are casting the first and forty-third stone at their political foes. As are their devotees. We are listening to everyone but God.

On this day before the election (like every election this one is the "most important election in our lifetime"!), take time to listen to that voice which is eternal. Listen for words of "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23) Let those guide your conversations today -- political and otherwise.  Let those guide your voting tomorrow. Let those guide your life!

Be for those things.  Not against. Oscar Romero once said, "I don’t want to be an anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God, who loves us and who wants to save us."

What kind of witnesses to the Gospel will we be during these next two days?

May we our mouths be free from any unkind words. May we speak affirmation for the God who loves all humankind. May we, most of all, listen to the voice of that which calls us to love one another -- even our enemies -- political and otherwise.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Holy Silence on YouTube (and Amazon)

Rachel Bomberger did a lovely job talking to me about the new version of Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality.  I really appreciate her "getting it" and the good questions she asked.