Quit pushing your belief system on me!
Dear Friends, Quit pushing your belief system on me! You keep telling me that this is an experiential religion, and then every time I turn around you are telling me that I need to believe in things like simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, etc. You proudly tell me that Quakers don't proselytize but then preach to me about opposing war and how bad Republicans are. What is experiential about that? If it is truly experiential, I think I would expect you to be able to describe it to me without starting with "Quakers believe in.." or "Quakers don't believe in..". Here's why I am confused. I come across things like this from Robert Barclay:
for when I came into the silent assemblies of God's people, I felt a secret power among them, which touched my heart, and as I gave way unto it, I found the evil weakening in me, and the good raised up, and so I became thus united unto them, hungering more and more after the increase of this power and life, whereby I might feel myself perfectly redeemed.That, to me, speaks of experience, and not about believing in particular principles or values. Why aren't you saying things like that instead of telling me what values I should have? Isn't there something beyond words and ideas? Is there something like what Isaac Penington describes here:
Yea, I did not only feel words and demonstrations from without, but I felt the dead quickened, the seed raised; insomuch that my heart (in the certainty of light, and clearness of true sense) said, This is he, this is he, there is no other: this is he whom I have waited for and sought after from my childhood; who was always near me, and had often begotten life in my heart; but I knew him not distinctly, not how to receive him, or dwell with him. And then in this sense (in the meltings and breakings of my spirit) was I given up to the Lord, to become his, both in waiting for the further revealing of his seed in me, and to serve him in the life and power of his seed.He wasn't persuaded by arguments, ideas, or speech, but by experiencing the Spirit in his heart. You talk about Quakerism as if it is about experience, but when you get down to the details, you are long on values and short on experience. Maybe you could just admit that it isn't about experience any more and is just about a set of beliefs. Sincerely, Mark Wutka