This is the fourth part of a weekly series of six. Here are the links to the first three parts:
The most important and sustaining element in this exploration of the Quaker experience is the hour of silence and the fruits I draw from that encounter with the Holy Spirit. The Quaker booklet 'Advices and queries' (1994) is a reminder of the insights of the Society of Friends. In it, I read:
'Worship is our response to an awareness of God. ... We seek a gathered stillness in our meetings for worship so that all may feel the power of God's love drawing us together and leading us. ... Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern?' (pp.7-9)
How wonderful to belong to a church that asks searching questions and is learning how to thrive on 'ambiguity tolerance' - understanding that we grow by learning to live with uncertainty.
|Ambiguity tolerance is OK|
I have already explained that my focus within the weekly hour of silent worship has taken me back in time to the writing of Mark's Gospel, 2,000 years ago - see Part Two in this series. My journey back into the past has not stopped there. Why should it? It seemed to me, as I reflected on the matter in the communal silence, that it was essential to go right back to the beginning - to the point when homo sapiens found that they and not homo neanderthalensis had emerged as the successful new kids on the planetary block. If I was to sustain a spiritual belief about the nature of mankind and its purposes, I needed to become the anthropologist and make sense of these teachings of the charismatic carpenter-