Naming for Spiritual Freedom and Greater Service

Quaker Mystics

In the initial post in this series, I offered that the first step toward “naming the spiritual condition of the world” is to name our own spiritual condition. I argued that our spiritual condition is important as it affects our ability to help accomplish God’s purposes. In the second post, I used physical fitness as an analogy for spiritual condition and concluded the post suggesting that our “body composition” is the element that most affects the other aspects of our spiritual condition. In this post, I discuss naming as a tool for improving one’s spiritual condition, as it changes our “body composition.”

When I started writing these posts, I thought that we needed to be able to describe our spiritual condition. Now, I believe that what we need to do is discover a means rather than accomplish a particular end. I believe that we are being called…

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“Does anything …

“Does anything unite this diverse group beyond our common love and humanity? Does anything make us distinctively Quaker?

I say yes.

Each of us has different emphases and special insights, but wherever Friends are affirming each other’s authentic experience of God, rather than demanding credal statements, we are being God’s faithful Quakers.

Wherever we are seeking God’s will rather than human wisdom, especially when conflict might arise, we are being faithful Quakers.

Wherever we are affirming the total equality of men and women, we are being God’s faithful Quakers.

Wherever there is no division between our words and our actions, we are being faithful.

Whenever we affirm that no one – priest, pastor, clerk, elder – stands between us and the glorious and mystical experience of God in our lives, we are faithful Friends.

Whether we sing or whether we wait in silence, as long as we are listening with the whole of our being and seeking the baptism and communion of living water, we will be one in the Spirit.”



Val Ferguson

Fifth Month 24

As Light Is Sown

… You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. … – James 2:14-26 (NIV)

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We have here one of the instances where a New Testament author presents an interpretation that can be standing at odds with the Hebrew Bible text it is invoking. Return to the Genesis passage and you will not find Abraham called God’s friend or even righteous. Yet in Genesis 22:16-17 the angel makes clear that Abraham is being blessed for not withholding his son. Or is it more accurately (verse 18, Everett Fox translation) “in consequence of your hearkening to…

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Sit with God

Silence Teaches Us Who We Are.


I have been practicing centering prayer for a few months now. This practice has helped me better understand who God is. Of course what I think I know is most likely a mere sliver of what He really is. Centering prayer is a practice that leads to contemplative prayer.

For me, right now God is a presence. I simply want to sit with Him. I simply want to ask Him questions and wait. Here is what I think I have been hearing:

I am always with you.

My peace is always with you.

I am in everything – people, earth, trees, mountains, waters.

I love you.

Be present wherever you are. Listen and observe. Use all of your senses.

Love others. Do not judge.

Keep sitting with Me.

Keep asking Me questions and wait for the answers.

And so I will keep sitting with Him.

Will you silently sit with…

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Fifth Month 26

As Light Is Sown

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains. – Revelation 3:1-2

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John, the prophet of Revelation, saw the impact of the fall of Jerusalem and the terror of Rome. Many commentators assert that the age of prophecy was completed once Christ had come in the flesh. But how can any who believe that Christ is coming again think prophecy has ceased? Because the Holy Spirit is among us, our Lord speaks to us and guides us. We can feel this divine gift continue until all the prophecies of Scripture are fulfilled.

*   *   *

One urging: return to the field, reshaping what’s already sprouting, as well as starting anew.

Another urging: move forward, quickly, on other fronts.

As a writer, for the first time in my life, I truly doubted my abilities.

That is, one…

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The ‘Real Racists’ Have Always Worn Suits | The Nation


It wasn’t the KKK that wrote the slave codes. It wasn’t the armed vigilantes who conceived of convict leasing, postemancipation. It wasn’t hooded men who purposefully left black people out of New Deal legislation. Redlining wasn’t conceived at a Klan meeting in rural Georgia. It wasn’t “the real racists” who bulldozed black communities in order to build America’s highway system. The Grand Wizard didn’t run COINTELPRO in order to dismantle the Black Panthers. The men who raped black women hired to clean their homes and care for their children didn’t hide their faces.

The ones in the hoods did commit violent acts of racist terrorism that shouldn’t be overlooked, but they weren’t alone. Everyday citizens participated in and attended lynchings as if they were state fairs, bringing their children and leaving with souvenirs. These spectacles, if not outright endorsed, were silently sanctioned by elected officials and respected members of the…

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A New Lamb’s War

Through the Flaming Sword

Uh-oh.  I’m not going to start a new series on “God”, after all. I think I’ll leave off that kind of theologizing for a while. Suddenly, that kind of thinking and writing just feels like so much farting in the windstorm, as a college friend of mine used to say. And a Quaker talking to Quakers about Quakerism—sometimes it feels like holding the mic up to the speakers.

Meanwhile, I’m going through some kind of transition. Not really a crisis, but I sense a change coming.

I’m moving in the next couple of weeks and moving makes you rethink things. First, you decide to leave the home you’ve made and the place you live in and you’ve decided on a new home and a new place (and a new meeting). And then you go through your stuff and decide what to keep and what to pass on and what to…

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