Wholly Human Experience

Our NFN Clerk, Gisela, wrote to The Friend in response to a letter by Martyn Poole in April 2020, entitled”Faith and Practice”. Her letter was published in the 19 June issue but I thought it worth reproducing here. It read (edited by The Friend) as follows:

Stirrings of the heart
Why be so concerned and negative about Quakers with diverse conceptions of ‘God’ airing their views? Where does the idea come from that nontheists (granted it is a bit of an unfortunate name) wish for the Society of Friends to change their practice?

Personally, as a nontheistic Quaker, I respect our Christian roots and the history of Quakerism and the insights that has given us. Like most Quakers, I too feel challenged to look deeply into my heart for the promptings of love and truth, for compassion, wonder, thankfulness and, most of all, honesty to live usefully and responsibly in this wonderful world together with all people and creatures.

For me, this is a wholly human experience to do with my feelings, where God language, used by others, is often like beautiful poetry to describe the stirrings of the heart.

Gisela Creed

13 thoughts on “Wholly Human Experience”

  1. Very much in agreement I am.
    It seems the real world benefits from examples of human goodness & compassion much more than from lofty-god-in-sky ideals.
    Humanists honour the here & now.

    Peace Profound, Jules

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  2. I can relate to Giisela’s words, I have been learning about the methodology of business meetings of Quakers. I love that everyone gets listened to, the minutes are a sense of the meeting and these are agreed at the time.
    But I struggle when communicating with a group(not quakers), that I disagree with the majorities sense, what happens when there is no middle road found? I can see that if someone has more experience or knowledge than you it carries more weight so that you can see the sense in what they are saying, but what happens when is does not seem sensible action to take?

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I don’t always see The Friend, but I’m pretty sure I read Martyn’s letter and bristled. Thank you, Gisela, for this elegant and elegant response.

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  4. It is not about wining and losing is about standing up for what you believe is right, just going along with things you believe are wrong because of the group majority is no better than peer group pressure. History has shown how detrimental this can be.
    Perhaps it works for Quakers because they trust other Quakers to make the right decision because of their faith that their motivation is driven by a higher perfect God.
    I, however, have to make an assessment of the other peoples motivation, knowledge and experience before I can walk beside them.
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good women to do nothing” quote from Edmund Burke with “wo” added.

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    1. Good points Gill, but are you not placing a lot of burden upon yourself by being judge over the intent of others when you say:
      “I, however, have to make an assessment of the other peoples motivation, knowledge and experience before I can walk beside them.”

      Either one has trust, or not.

      Judge not, or you shall be judged is an old axiom that pretty much sums up what life was, is and shall be.
      Many have discovered that being over analytical mires ones spirit in the bog of despair & paranoia.
      Perhaps Shakespeare said it best:
      “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking so, makes it so.”

      all the best,
      peace profound’
      Jules

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  5. Interesting reply Jules, I think there are many difference between judging and being discerning, one is time, judging sounds set but discerning is fluid.
    I have no problem whatsoever in people assessing myself, and I think in this world of advertising, social and press media it is vital not a burden to be aware of the full spectrum of human nature.
    I don’t think trust is an on/off switch, I think it is something that can grow, vary, be lost and found etc.
    I am thankful for my analytical brain it has served me well in life and my experience of human kindness and love mean that “bog of despair and paranoia” are not present. I know I am by no means perfect and make mistakes as we all do.
    It would be a great gift if my thinking it so could make it so, I find in even trying to make it so usually requires a great deal of time and effort.

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    1. Well said, thank you Gill.
      I have found that when trust is granted to others, that same trust comes right back to you and the world gets better.
      Trusting, all is well with Gill,
      I am, Jules

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    1. Thanks Jules
      A very interesting link challenging us to do something for today’s Syrian refugees counter to the unpleasant attitude of our U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, herself the daughter of Indian immigrants. I suspect she is, like Trump, what we now call an Islamophobe. There is a ‘Gota de Leche’ bus stop on the route to the airport in Seville which must be near the site of one of these Quaker ‘milk stations’ in Civil War Spain. (Gota de Leche is ‘Drop of Milk’).

      Trevor Bending Sent from my iPhone

      >

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      1. Thanx Trevor..you are so correct in accepting the mission ahead….
        if we see injustice, do something…doing nothing is never the option of a Quaker.

        Peace Profound
        Jules

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