Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 18th September 2022
Dear Friends, The Nicene Creed, dating from 325, states that ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father’. In 1054 the Pope added the word ‘filioque’ (and from the Son). What … Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 18th September 2022
The Nicene Creed, dating from 325, states that ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father’. In 1054 the Pope added the word ‘filioque’ (and from the Son). What now seems like an obscure argument among theologians had one practical consequence; it caused a schism between the Eastern and Western churches which is unhealed to this day.QFP 26.78Within the Society of Friends we have our own problems with the traditional language of Christian spirituality… There are those who can comfortably talk in Christian language, because they experience it deeply as expressing truth and reality as they perceive it. For them it is not ‘just a language’; it is the truth. The words used are inseparable from the underlying truths, the stories, the tradition, the nature of God as revealed in Jesus. There is no ‘gap’ between their experience of faith, their beliefs and the language used by the Christian tradition. There are those who just cannot use that language at all, because for them it precisely does not express their deepest truths, and may in fact be felt to deny or even violate them. For these people, their deepest experiences of spiritual reality, as they have encountered it, cannot be encompassed by a language that has acquired so many historical accretions and distortions that it has become at best meaningless and at worst a falsification of truth. So they must grapple with the equal inadequacy of contemporary language to express the depths of their searching. Pam Lunn, 1990 QFP 26.76Some of us can’t see at present how the theist/non-theist gap can be bridged. If we listen imaginatively to each other the way may become clearer to us. It will only divide us if we allow it to. Our faith is rooted in something deeper than words.Early Quakers believed in the authority of the Scriptures and the authority of the Inward Light, but they disagreed for more than two centuries about which was more important. In North America that split Yearly Meetings and further disagreements led to further splits. In England, in spite of many disagreements, London Yearly Meeting (with one small exception) has remained undivided. George Fox warned against ‘airy notions’ – intellectual disputes which created more heat than light. The following two passages, nearly 300 years apart, show that while we aspire to William Penn’s vision, it is not easy to live up to it. It is not opinion, or speculation, or notions of what is true, or assent to or the subscription of articles or propositions, though never so soundly worded, that … makes a man a true believer or a true Christian. But it is a conformity of mind and practice to the will of God, in all holiness of conversation, according to the dictates of this Divine principle of Light and Life in the soul which denotes a person truly a child of God. William Penn, 1692.
David, on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (Bob Harwood, David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Theresa Samms, Nancy Wall)