TALK (20 min)
19:25:33 Hello everyone. (The following transcript of his talk kindly written out by John Richter. The automated transcript of the discussion which follows edited by Trevor Bending to the best of his ability!)
19:25:34 I call this presentation ‘On the edge of Quakers’. I hope to run through my own journey with Quakers, then look at the particular circumstance of my own meeting, which will become apparent, and I’ll explain when we get there.
19:25:40 I’ve been attending meetings for for 60 years; both large and small at home and abroad.
19:25:53 I’ve been a warden and an overseer yet I’ve always considered myself more of an inquirer than a believer.
19:25:59 So, I’ll run through some of the influences I’ve had.
19:26:21 To go back. My parents were agnostics.
19:26:27 They saw religion as superstition, closely aligned to ignorance and illness.
19:26:44 And in a way that was an optimistic view.
19:26:49 And I think that was just H.G. Wells’/J.S. Huxley’s thinking of the 1920s,
19:26:57 But I’ve always been interested in different teachings hankering around the edge of Quakers.
19:27:07 I enrolled in a Scientology course in San Francisco.
19:27:14 And then I attended a Buddhist Sangha in Dulwich.
19:27:22 I joined a Kabbalah group in Highgate.
19:27:30 From that group I got the idea that one’s perception of the world is a reflection of an individual’s attitude.
19:27:45 So, in order to manage the world one must manage their attitude – namely, know oneself. The Kabbalah provided a structure for doing just that.
19:28:02 In the Quaker context this is the looking inward at our ourselves.
19:28:14 We learn to know ourselves, and this shows us what our mission is going to be, whether it’s to stop kicking the cat or acts of kindness, or to serve on committees here or abroad. That becomes the individual’s requirement.
19:28:46 The person who most inspired me was John Krishnamurti.
19:28:51 I wondered if any Friends, attended his talks. He was discovered in Chennai (Madras) by the Theosophists. He was trained and educated by them to become their leader but he abandoned them and became an individualist.
19:29:22 I think he spent the rest of his life, giving talks and teachings in India, Europe and in America.
19:29:32 It was in the middle 1960s that I attended his talks in Friends’ House.
19:29:39 I think his message that I got was that that Truth has a duality.
19:29:49 For example, we look out to sea and the horizon is flat. But we know that the Earth is round.
19:29:57 So we live with this duality. Similarly, there’s no rational explanation for there being a God.
19:30:08 But if a person has a convincement of the Divine, then that is a truth for them.
19:30:25 So the subjective and the objective are both truths. If someone were to ask if God exists, the answer wouldn’t be yes or no but yes and no.
19:30:38 I’d like to read a paragraph from his writings. There are transcripts of his talks which are very nice.
and offer a flavour of his teaching.
19:30:55 He says: “Living, going to an office, talking to your wife, doing everything that you do has tremendous meaning if you know how to look at it. And to come upon it, to know it, to see the beauty of it, that can only take place when there is silence. When there is space, and love. And that is the truth; and that is the only thing that matters in life.
Then you do not have to seek God; then you do not have to go to any temple or any church. You do not have to be the slave of any priest or any book or authority. Then there is only light, and that light is love, and silence.”
19:31:51 That was in 1965. So anyway, let’s get on to my meeting. As Kiera said, my meeting is in Wells-next-the-sea, which is a small town on the north Norfolk Coast in England. It has a fishing fleet, salt marshes, sand dunes, then miles of golden sands that recede miles out to sea.
19:32:26 In fact, 12,000 years ago I believe you could walk across from here to Holland.
19:32:35 But the circumstance of this Meeting is slightly sad because it’s just been decreasing in numbers over the years. The families went, the children’s group went.
19:32:53 And now it finds itself with up to perhaps 15 regulars, mostly elderly.
19:33:04 So some meetings were held to see what could become of the meeting. Now and in 5 years time.
It seemed that most Friends simply wanted the meeting to continue the way it has been, they valued everything about it.
19:33:26 I felt that I was very separate from the thinking, because I don’t think it can maintain itself in the present form. It would fail to enrol people faster than the attrition that is happening.
19:33:51 So this is my argument. That Quakers are not a religion, or a church. It’s not a matter of being Methodist, Anglican, Congregational or Quaker. We are a society with members who apply to join. More like an Historical Society. Their subject is history, ours religion. Some friends, practice a faith, but for me, it’s more a matter of exploring religion.
19:34:35 I like the way that this Non-theist group has been experimenting and adapting with different forms.
19:34:46 For instance, we’ve had poets and artists and an historian, giving presentations. It’s always been a surprise. Nothing has been fixed or set in stone. And I think that’s why it’s succeeding
19:35:06 Quakers don’t have priests, a creed, a consecrated church or an order of service. So why the reverential hush in the meeting house?
Even before the doors close at 10.30 – the conformity and obedience – if you are a Quaker ‘if you are here, you have to do it this way’. Personally, I look forward to the day when the Meeting House doors are open to the street and people come and go as they please.
SILENCE is a form we use but it’s not a creed. Its purpose is to listen. There may be gaps between spoken contributions but it’s not always appropriate and it’s not a rule. (See Introduction to Advices and Queries, ‘Dearly beloved Friends …).
Silence in its most positive form is an extension of total attentiveness; such that we are alert to the room, to the air on our skin, to the joys and sorrows of the world. Then silence will follow.
Silence also has its limits. We can go into our bedroom or sit out on a bench if we want to be silent and alone. But the purpose of our Meetings is to share and bond. So as well as the inward-looking that we discussed earlier, it also needs the freedom and openness of discussion that Quakers allow.
And it is through spirituality that we bond. Spirituality is a heightened sense of communion with people, a concept, or nature. Nothing more; nothing less. In the context of a Meeting, it is with people. Spirituality is desirable because it prevents idle thoughts but also because it’s the form through which we bond and support each other.
I believe Quakers have a distinct way forward, if they are prepared to take it.
Both at looking inward at themselves and outward into the world; and sharing this openly.
Quakers must take risks and adventure. Recognise that Faith can fluctuate, change and develop as part of life’s journey.
1. What is the purpose of Quakers? Perhaps a maximum of 4 words. I came up with – ‘To explore religion together.’
2. For Quakers to flourish as a Society, we need to make it meaningful, to enrol new members. How can we best achieve this.
DISCUSSION: (50 min)
Unfortunately the sound quality was not good and the automatic transcription unsatisfactory (there are also some gaps). I have tried to edit it a little from memory so it makes sense (the discussion is not recorded) and I leave it here to give perhaps some of the gist of the discussion, agreement and disagreements for your ‘comfort and discomfort’. Trevor.
19:54:20 I think you had your hand up earlier to
19:54:09 do you muted.
19:54:05 Oh yes. Now with that I think this is my first meeting with the group as well.
19:54:10 I apologise in advance for a couple of things that worry me.
19:54:19 I had hoped the non-theist group of all groups would be moving beyond religion.
19:54:43 It is difficult to find out what it is beyond religion.
19:54:43 the other thing which just concerns me, I’m not massively keen on spirituality I want to get shot down every person tonight, because to me it comes across as a bit
19:55:00 self absorbed.
19:55:10 ideas on some of the other members of this meeting tonight at them it’s it’s, but it’s good to come together to support each other. I think I get the impression from going I came back to meeting this year no last year now, after a fairly long gap.
19:55:31 And just rather just may discover the site, it doesn’t appear to move on very much.
19:55:41 But it’s, I get the impression rightly or wrongly, that it has lost its way, and I was hoping that this group would be positive because it is obviously open to change, obviously, you’re looking way forward might find some work.
19:56:07 one that also particularly since, religion, as people come into religion is dropping drastically.
19:56:15 The moment turn that on for a while.
19:56:20 But the other impression I get is that the society. And again, I want to get shot down Natalie, is it does need to be much more a society, actually, of friends.
19:56:33 I think I have any more.
19:56:49 this john Harris have this physical hand up if someone had messaged me that if so go ahead john Harris.
19:57:06 Sorry, I didn’t.
19:57:07 Oh, Thanks john. Thanks.
19:57:12 How are you great How about yourself.
19:57:15 When I first got engaged with Quakers 10 to 12 years ago.
19:57:21 I heard someone talk about and notice outside a Quaker meeting house which said, come to Quakers and have your answers questioned.
19:57:31 So if you want that in four words.
19:57:35 What is the purpose of Quakers “to have our answers questioned”.
19:57:45 Very good.
19:58:12 Duncan. You like to contribute.
19:58:17 Well I’m a hug my, my son is still there. Unfortunately I how it’s fantastic quote, and I think that’s the best effort for a very long time.
19:58:28 I was going to allude to something like without being too flippant this this being the best pop quiz team in history, and capable of answering any question.
19:58:42 And so my, you know we are the big question society. Come in, was going to be something along the lines of my strap line.
19:58:54 And then moving to question two.
19:58:58 In order for Quakers to flourish.
19:59:01 We have to become more relevant and was a very fine line to be to be addressed here because one of the attractions for me personally, is that as a, as a society, we
19:59:19 go about nonviolent protest in a very sort of passive sophistic way. We are tolerant, where others are intolerant.
19:59:32 But I suspect going forward.
19:59:36 We might need to be less humble and more proud in the way that we address inequality.
19:59:46 Thank you,
19:59:57 Chris Thomas How about yourself.
20:00:02 Well, again, a new big my first meeting Thank you all very much for this or not attempt it to direct directly onto the questions but I’m afraid I have to apologise to D Thomas, because I put the word spirituality and I’m sorry.
20:00:20 I’ve edited it slightly, I’ve suggested we explore ethical and spiritual philosophy.
20:00:28 The emphasis being on the word philosophy because I think one of the great barriers, is the temptation whatever one’s personal beliefs to talk in a way which is really Christian biblical it’s making assumptions.
20:00:45 It’s imposing our view of the world before anybody else.
20:00:55 If we look at the website, the Quakers website. It will evening candidates, but lots of enquirer’s, in my view, certainly, I was a united.
20:01:04 I had some very nice time didn’t quite come meetings. I have a lovely Quaker wedding, which is wonderful.
20:01:11 Still wonderful, but I didn’t feel that I could commit to the Quakers because I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a non theist quicker.
20:01:22 I thought I was a little bit of an imposter and a little bit of watching so quite charlatan because I wasn’t one of them.
20:01:33 And it turns out I am and I’m so happy about that. That’s good.
20:01:36 But unless we drop these unconscious and accidental barriers were ruling out interest from a large proportion of the population, and particularly I think the non British population which, to a large extent, could enrich us to have been through quite a
20:02:01 a lot of Buddhist influence quite a lot of pagan influence Druid influence.
20:02:07 And I find so many truths that it’s almost like a sweetie shop, I can believe in so many things I don’t actually want to add a label.
20:02:16 But once you put up the barrier of asking God, whatever, whoever however you interpret that to do something to have an influence to support to guide you lose people
20:02:37 like me, I’m going to shut up. Thank you.
20:02:51 Could we hear from you.
20:03:03 Oh yes.
20:03:10 came up with come to create this type your answers questions.
20:03:13 And I think it is actually very important for us to come to Quakers with answers to have questioned, and certainly in my own case.
20:03:27 My wife and he discovered when she had to write a book on Christianity ecology.
20:03:34 She suddenly found in a theologian by trade she suddenly found that in fact theology is not primary ecology is primary.
20:03:45 And we have to go from there. In order to understand how we how Christianity has become what it’s become today.
20:03:55 So, my assertion, which I won’t question by everybody is any meeting and anywhere in any meeting is I, personally, primarily, I’m an Earthling like the cat, like the slug like the oak tree.
20:04:14 Like everything.
20:04:17 And that is my primary
20:04:22 existence, which is my primary identity.
20:04:26 And I have to spend time every day.
20:04:31 Listening to particularly goddess talks, but also in time of, of, I don’t want to call it prayer, I go for walks and on these walks. I am essentially concerned with who I am and how I am reacting to this world.
20:04:50 And so I think that is a primary doctrine that we Earthlings, and we have to find out what this is.
20:05:00 And the second thing I would really love to find out from everybody and I’ve been trying to find this out from the western Institute is, what are your practices.
20:05:14 Can you show what you do, to find out who you are, what things are you doing, and I’m quite prepared to talk about these things.
20:05:27 And have them quite strongly question.
20:05:33 And I’m being very disappointed with the worst or issues, just brought out this book.
20:05:39 After Jesus before Christianity and if you want your understanding of Christianity blown completely apart. This is certainly for you.
20:05:48 Because what may have actually done is they have a group of them over the last eight years have been looking at
20:06:01 this word Christian.
20:06:03 It doesn’t exist in the New Testament except in three places.
20:06:09 But, touch irrelevant. But that really is a great help, because what they have discovered is in the first two centuries, a lot of small groups like our own Quaker groups, perhaps, who are trying to find out who they are and what they’re doing and why
20:06:28 they exist.
20:06:28 And they had Jesus as a guru, in their heads at the time, and said all sorts of things about him, which quite frankly, one has to discard today, like that is divine.
20:06:45 Like, it was a virgin birth, for God’s sake, all sorts of stuff like that.
20:06:46 So those are the sorts of things I would come to as assertions into a meeting, but not a meeting for worship on a Sunday I think we need another forum for this because meeting for worship on Sunday, seems to be a special Quaker thing, but it is also specially
20:07:02 Quaker to have other meetings where we sort of discussed.
20:07:17 how on how about yourself.
20:07:22 It is you say me and high school I was saying that Helen Osborne has been waiting very patiently.
20:07:30 And I was saying that Helen Osborne has been waiting very patiently.
20:07:32 Hello. Hello behead.
20:07:34 I found it really interesting thank you very much indeed john I have been to wells next the Sea and could imagine it as he spoke, and I did look at your pictures as well which are delightful.
20:07:46 And I’ve been to a few of these non-theist Creative Conversations when I’ve been able to. It really is very interesting to hear what people have to say, and.
20:07:57 And thank, it’s it’s zoom and it’s Kofi doesn’t it that’s enabled us to start this kind of initiative.
20:08:06 So a couple of things I really loved the Krishnamurti non dualism or the dualism does not exist. Yes, I know. I thought that was such a lovely thing to hear.
20:08:21 And then to hear the situation of the Quaker meeting and Wells next the Sea which I think is echoed all over the country.
20:08:28 The loss of families and children, because lifestyles are changing, and an ageing population, because the people who cannot attend Craig meetings are the people who have been and who are retired.
20:08:44 However, some changes have come about Janko fit.
20:08:48 We have had new people joining us online and on Sunday last, a friend who has been shielding, and has been really enjoying her separateness her hibernation almost retreat from the world, decided she would come to meeting for worship, and she arrived 10 minutes
20:09:26 late and left 10 minutes early. And nobody batted an eyelid and I thought how wonderful things are changing. People aren’t being as nitpicky about you must take your seat and you must be seated for a certain length of time and so on, I think, Change come
20:09:28 slowly. In some cases, perhaps we wait for opposition to die out and that’s a sad thing to say.
20:09:36 I think we’re all struggling with these questions and the big thing. Big answer, I’m giving for our purpose.
20:09:44 Given that people come for Quaker community for so many different reasons is that we’re here to learn to get along with each other.
20:09:54 Thank you.
20:09:59 Thank you, Helen, and I’ve been alerted that Catherine Hey, had a physical hand up a while ago.
20:10:08 And I wonder whether we should just swap Catherine Hey in wherever she is.
20:10:15 Thank you.
20:10:16 Thank you.
20:10:18 Yes, my answer
20:10:22 Number one, would be.
20:10:26 God is a verb.
20:10:28 Not a proper noun.
20:10:30 That’s more than four words I know, but it seems to me that we find, whatever we mean by God, in relationships.
20:10:44 That’s why meeting for worship is important, together,
20:10:53 not necessarily in silence.
20:11:13 That’s all I want to say about it. Thank you.
20:11:17 Thank you, Catherine.
20:11:21 But in the, in the order of hands, I see Piers next Piers Maddox.
20:11:35 Yes, place to explore
20:11:40 new places where anyone can come and speak at times.
20:11:46 I’ve described it as a spirit spa where you can nurture stuff inside you feel held by the warmth of the people, but that can be delusional I mean sometimes there is, we’re not perfect and there is sometimes conflict but, you know, in terms of, you know,
20:12:10 the dying meeting.
20:12:13 The time to start.
20:12:15 I mean, I would suggest a couple of things. First of all, the Bible shouldn’t have pride of place that it does.
20:12:24 I mean, Christians are a minority in the society, although they probably don’t like to think that, but it’s just so off-putting to many people I’ve seen people come in and just walk a mile when they see it.
20:12:42 in a way, the reverence it’s given to the Red Book is perhaps not much better I don’t know, I’d be happy we know for
20:12:59 a second thing is that, Because, because we’re not
20:13:06 mainstream Christians.
20:13:09 There’s no, and I’m not even sure what those you know the difference to Christians but basically Quakers don’t really have any commitment, they’re not making any commitment there any commitment, you’re making is to give money to the organization.
20:13:28 And I think that’s just very inward.
20:13:37 And I can see you shake your head, but I would like to see.
20:13:55 spiritual theological understanding but just what they’re committed to in the coming year if you like.
20:14:02 And I think it would be interesting to review that year by year.
20:14:10 See how people change it with folks reminder.
20:14:17 But, I don’t know, it’s a problem I’ve been I see the meeting God.
20:14:25 You know,
20:14:25 I think part of the problem is that we’re looking for our answers in the past.
20:14:33 But the world is changing so quick and we know this world we’re living in is not going to be like this in 20 years time, and we need to sort of put away the past with the MB trying to look into the future.
20:14:46 and really challenging ourselves pushing us now.
20:14:52 Thank you.
20:15:10 then told them, Maggie Smith has her physical hand raised and spinning race for a while, is if you if that’s the case, go ahead, Maggie Smith
20:15:15 mic is on mute.
20:15:27 Sorry I was saying, I was beginning to understand how people feel when they never pick for the team. This is my fourth meeting every time I’ve had my hand up.
20:15:37 This is the first time I’ve been picked so thank you.
20:15:42 My firstly I’m, I am I guess I’m more of an outward.
20:15:57 I don’t know, was it succeed and then I opened it, But I do my best.
20:16:02 But my hackles rose original speech when someone said, you can go in and sit so live on your own. I live on my own, last two years I spent maybe on my own.
20:16:18 For me, being in silent meeting Saluki with others, is one of the most important things in my meeting and there are three members of my meeting here.
20:16:29 Even in my meeting this morning we have a 15 minute. I guess you call it a meditation on what’s up every morning and seven o’clock every we wish. So all you do is switch your phone on this morning, one of our members mother has died, and she asked us
20:16:47 join her at 830 in a sort of silent vigil, and there were about 15 of us there, and it was so valuable sitting at home on your own, but silent with other people.
20:17:01 And that to me is incredibly important.
20:17:04 And I hope I could join in all the religious arguments I went into recorded net Krishnamurti.
20:17:14 And one thing I noticed is he does not have anyone to argue.
20:17:17 He always puts them right if they had another opinion because he was right. But I did meet him is all I had he had a magical.
20:17:31 Look, there was something so charismatic about.
20:17:34 But thank you that’s all for now.
20:17:40 I know Alex Sanchez had her hand up for some time but the phone cut off and came back in again So, I’ll call that.
20:17:48 Thank you. And this is the first time ever that I’m in a meeting so forgive me if I don’t know what quick he said, Oh, I thought I would just share with you why I’m here.
20:17:59 Since you talk about attracting other people, and people who are not from the UK as well which is nice. So I thought I could just share why came, so maybe there could contribute.
20:18:12 So, basically, I’m not religious that I don’t believe in a higher power so I don’t actually need to discuss religion as much but I feel the need to discuss just life and our others are leaving so that I can build compassion and I can build a support group.
20:18:31 So that’s more of what I was looking for a community to, to have discussions with him to just share our, the big questions the philosophy as well but also just the day to day lives, what’s going on so that’s what what I was looking for a community.
20:19:02 Brian, or Jean and want to contribute now.
20:19:08 Brian: Thank you.
20:19:21 Thank you to John for stimulating such a discussion. I’d like to look at his second question about how we attract people, of course one of the ways that you might attract people is with your publications.
20:19:26 And I think we’ve mentioned the Book of Discipline, which is very elderly now. And that’s something that all of us have the opportunity to contribute to because as we speak.
20:19:38 The Book of Discipline revision committee.
20:20:01 when you read whatever it is that the New Book of Discipline will be it’s very important to think about how it comes over to people listening to it, the voice of the book.
20:20:14 And, as I understand it, the Book of Discipline revision committee will be releasing draft a various parts of the new book for comment and discussion to try and get some feedback.
20:20:28 So friends that you are, you have an excellent opportunity to influence the future.
20:20:50 John Senior, finally come around to you. Thank you for waiting patiently.
20:20:58 To stop trying to think of forwards, practices, sharing suffering, or satisfaction us but practices so showing suffering.
20:21:12 And that for me is up and in two distinct ways one for 50 years since I’ve been a Buddhist and one for the past couple of years since we’ve been confined by covid became a Buddhist in the mid 80s, and very rapidly discovered on silent five day retreats,
20:21:43 we learn a lot about each other faster if we go on these retreats that was 12 or 15 people. We learn a lot about each other in the silence it’s very strange, because my our teacher john crew, used to say, we’re all in the same shit.
20:22:02 He was fairly straightforward in this language.
20:22:07 And so, still listen I do, somebody else said emphasize stillness, silence is not the right word stillness.
20:22:18 Something happens in stillness, where you sharing something very profound.
20:22:28 And I mentioned, Buddhism anyway because stillness is something that Buddhists appreciate, and many, like myself, come to Quaker-ism from Buddhism because we appreciate the meetings for worship have been in stillness, and vice versa many people I know,
20:22:50 go from Quakers to Buddhism.
20:22:54 Go on Buddhists retreats to find out how you bring your mind to stillness, and it does say advice in queries number three do set a time aside times of quiet for openness to the Holy Spirit, all of us need to find a way into silence, and then later on
20:23:11 it says, seek to know an inward stillness, so that advice increased. Number three, to me, very important.
20:23:20 So that’s why interesting.
20:23:25 So I think that’s something where we are, we’re looking, many, many questions I know are looking at was the Buddhism to find stillness which is interesting.
20:23:36 The other thing I would say and it seems totally the opposite is since we started meeting our meeting.
20:23:44 Local meeting meets on zoom and every night literally every night there’s an epilogue at nine o’clock
20:23:52 on zoom. I find, zoom, we’re finding a totally new way to sharing our funding, sharing our problems in life. What was a phrase I use the four words anyway I find that, yes, sharing our suffering is, is something somewhere.
20:24:21 Somehow the eye to eye contact doesn’t suit all or, because I know some Quakers who don’t come to meeting for worship at all because it’s on zoom, but the ones who do we seem to find, we have got to know one another, a lot better.
20:24:36 Over the last two years and we’ve known ourselves over the last 10 years by this eye to eye contact, I think it’s possibly because being an introvert I’m a better contact.
20:24:46 Some people have shared this with other people, they feel that introverts at a meeting for worship. Afterwards people split up into back into pairs and you left on your own with nobody to talk to one on a meeting for worship one under meeting like this
20:25:03 now here we are.
20:25:05 All right, we can see and make contact with one another in a totally new way. So that’s what I like to share these two extremes of finding still missing Buddhist meditation and making contact with one another in on zoom.
20:25:24 Who would have thought that they had anything in common, but sharing our still our suffering empathizing with one another seems to work in both cases.
20:25:38 That’s my contribution.
20:25:43 We’ve got three more hands up, and then we’ll probably come to a conclusion. But if you quickly put your hand up, then who knows.
20:25:55 So John Harris is the next one on the on my list here.
20:26:02 Thank you very much. I would like to thank john for his thought provoking discussion and particularly for having stimulated such an incredibly wide range of contributions.
20:26:18 I just did want to point out that was regard to his comment about Quakers not being a religion that we are the religious Society of Friends, which does seem to suggest otherwise but
20:26:36 I’m not going to address your questions that thought it difficult for me.
20:26:42 But I’d like to elaborate on on something, others, others have commented on the for me, one of the great questions is what is the essence of Quakers.
20:26:58 A question which is, is I’ve seen lots of things written about it and none of them seem to hit the nail on the head.
20:27:08 What tends to happen is that it starts off with the history, simply because that’s the easiest, just to talk about we were historically.
20:27:18 We were a branch of Christianity and we grew out of that at the, at the time of the, the civil war we we grew out of the turbulence of of that.
20:27:46 And, and then people can talk about all the, all the things that have happened since. But I would like to know what Quaker ism is in 2022, because it has changed, and it’s changed enormously we do, we do still have very Christ-centric friends.
20:27:57 I’m not one of them.
20:27:59 But my former meeting had a wonderful range of views in that respect. That was Sutton in Surrey, and there was never any tension between the different views.
20:28:17 It has been a source of interest to me that that so much of the book of the Book of Discipline as we call it, we used to call it, the Christian faith and practice.
20:28:35 Does, does contain so much.
20:28:38 Christ centric language so much Christian language, and so much God language, I think if you look at the.
20:36:08 They have no stable houses because they’re emblems of power and authority which we reject.
20:35:53 And if our forefathers thought that was good enough in the 1616 years.
20:35:53 Then I suggested it might be good enough for us now.
20:35:58 We’re not relevant.
20:36:08 We have no need to be relevant.
20:36:08 John’s questions and ideas suggested to me that more than ever.
20:36:11 We need to be irrelevant in the sense that we question that which everyone else considers to be relevant.
20:36:21 I might conclude with a piece written, a long time ago, and so’s might find the use of some of the words in it difficult, but just change them.
20:36:48 True godliness don’t turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it, and excites their endeavours to mend it… Christians should keep the helm and guide the vessel to its port; not meanly steal out at the stern of the world and leave those that are in it without a pilot to be driven by the fury of evil times upon the rock or sand of ruin. (QF&P 23.02)
20:37:12 May I leave you with that thought that to us as Quakers provoked by John is as relevant today as it was when William Penn wrote it in 1682.