Your views!

Piers Maddox is compiling a new NFN newsletter for October and sent this request for the website:

Do you have anything to share with the group? Thoughts? A book review? After a period of newsletter inactivity Piers has committed to produce a few. Please send contributions to him at piersmaddox@gmail.com. 400 words maximum please. Deadline for next issue is Monday 5 October. Thanks!

That’s 13 days to go.  I’m sure Piers will welcome any items of general interest to Quakers and perhaps how you have been faring with your meetings during the present pandemic.  Please turn your thoughts to this this coming weekend and I wonder if there are any reflections on ‘Nontheism and Spiritual practice in the time of the coronavirus’?  I have just completed a rather lengthy survey by the University of Coimbra on my feelings and experiences during this awful time.

Some Friends seem to have quite enjoyed the ‘lockdown’ but that is clearly not true for most people and I lost one very good friend to the virus in May.  Your thoughts, reviews of books read during this period or any other reflections on Quakerism, NFN or these times will be most welcome.

The Steering Group is actively considering what to do next; will convene an SG meeting by Zoom shortly I believe and we will be discussing whether and how to hold a conference and AGM at least partly by video link (probably Zoom) at that meeting, so your thoughts on that possibility too will be welcome.

Piers awaits your contributions with bated breath.

2 thoughts on “Your views!”

  1. Hi,
    These questions have probably been answered before but as newcomer such practicalities are still alive for me.
    “How does one ‘worship’ (adoration, intercession, etc.) When there is nothing there? The term ‘Meeting for Worship’ becomes a nonsense”
    “Onto what can one focus the mind during a devotional period? ”
    When I asked this once before I was told: ‘I do what I have always done ‘ . But there was no elaboration.
    Lastly “Why does anyone want a devotional time? What is the driving force?”
    I am a simple person looking for straight answers and not wanting a list of objects such as Light or Spirit without a clarification of what those words really mean without being referred back to god.
    With good wishes
    Curt

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  2. Thanks for this comment Curt. Quite a challenge. I didn’t understand what you meant at first by ‘as a newcomer’, but I think you must mean a relative newcomer to the NFN/website?
    I remember some years ago an older Friend who has been a Quaker all or most of his life asked in ministry ‘what is it we are worshipping?’
    I got into trouble (eldered) for responding to him and speaking twice.
    I think he was expressing disturbing (for him) doubts about the existence or nature of God or Jesus.
    On another occasion, a visiting Christian from another denomination (Methodist I think) spoke in meeting to say he could feel ‘the power of the Lord’ in the meeting – I’m not sure I could – indeed I’m pretty sure I couldn’t.
    Friends who have been Friends for many many years have arrived at a nontheist position and sometimes feel comfortable with this and sometimes not.
    One Friend who was an Anglican vicar for more than 30 years arrived at that position and resigned from his post and then joined the Quakers. He later was a key speaker at one of our conferences and then became our Clerk for three years.
    You might be interested to read some articles by him (Michael Wright) here on the website: You can find 8 articles by Michael under Articles https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/articles/ and see especially his Prayer beyond belief and Disagreeing about God. Michael has also written a personal account of Jesus in a book ‘Jesus Today’ which you can find on the website here: https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/2019/07/23/jesus-today-book/ (where you can download a copy, read on the website or see where to buy) – Or by searching for ‘Jesus’ in the search box on the website which also brings up some other interesting posts and a review of Michael’s book.
    I am not answering your queries directly! but wonder too what early Friends really did mean by ‘Light or Spirit’ – I suspect that some meant different things.
    I know your own position has perhaps changed somewhat from your book Curt, but it is a delightful and autobiographical read so I would like here to bring it to the attention of anyone following this site: ‘God just is: Approaches to silent worship’ by Curt Gardner available from amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/God-Just-Approaches-Silent-Worship/dp/1907123245/ or from the Quaker bookshop also with ebook in epub or mobi formats: https://bookshop.quaker.org.uk/search?q=God+just+is

    If I think of any more ‘answers’ I’ll get back to you Curt but let’s see whether anyone else has any ideas about the ‘mystery’.
    Trevor Bending

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