NOTE TO SELF, BASED ON QUAKER TESTIMONIES OF INTEGRITY, SIMPLICITY, PEACE, EQUALITY, AND COMMUNITY:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.
2. Do what you say, say what you think, think what is true.
3. Subtract superfluities from your life, speech, desires and thoughts.
4. Don't initiate aggression against the persons or property of others, nor support people who do, including the people who "constitute" the government.
5. Respect life and natural law.
6. All people are endowed by their Creator with equal and inalienable rights to the earth and to the fruits of their own labor, and a "Citizen's Dividend" funded by a "Single Tax" on the unimproved value of land and other natural resources would be the fairest way to protect these rights.

For supporting materials, see the Archive and the Recommended Reading and Videos section at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Friendly Funnel on "Converging Upon Perfection"

The Friendly Funnel has some interesting reflections upon "convergent" Friends and the idea that the concept of perfection offers us a way forward to convergence. She quotes the Introduction by Margery Post Abbott to her anthology called "A Certain Kind of Perfection":

Through my encounters with evangelical Friends and the consequent explorations of the roots of my own faith as a liberal Friend, I find a connection between these two traditions in the unlikely concept of perfection… we all believe that as we turn towards God, then are obedient to divine guidance, we will experience an inward peace and act with compassion, humility, and righteousness. We can, through the work of the Spirit, live out God’s reign on earth. All Friends seek to live out of the love expressed in the Sermon on the Mount… When understood as wholeness, spiritual maturity, soundness, completion, or even obedience, perfection starts to become more accessible to me. Other Friends who find the terms perfection and holiness difficult are more apt to speak of discipleship, obedience, baptism with the Holy Spirit, or the ‘Lordship of Jesus Christ’. For a few, spiritual formation or inner healing are the most expressive terms for perfection. ‘Teleos’, the Biblical word for perfection, means ‘end goal’ and suggests an orientation more than a fixed state of being.

I offered the following comment:

"I think something along these lines, i.e. finding unity in greater respect for ideals of perfection, was what I was trying to get at a couple weeks ago in my blog post titled “A further reflection on convergence and a proposal for a double standard” (a choice of title which was perhaps unduly undiplomatic). That post focused on issues of sexual morality, which unfortunately seem just as (and possibly more) significant in our ongoing Quaker divisions between liberal and evangelical as issues surrounding the proper role of Jesus and Scripture in Quaker spirituality. It’s unfortunate, and rather telling, that sexual issues have loomed so large in the religious disagreements and divisions that have affected not only Quakers but other religious denominations, particularly it seems since the 1960s. In a properly ordered soul and a properly ordered society, on the other hand, sex is seen simply as a natural part of life, which like other bodily appetites must be kept modestly subject to the head and the heart, and also as something which, in its potential to procreate new life and to hurt ourselves and other people, is fraught with moral consequences to a degree that, e.g., our bodily appetite for food is not."