by C. Wess Daniels who is the William R Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College. Writing here about Quaker faith, participatory culture and pedagogy, Quaker faith, Christianity in the West & sketchnoting.
I will be in Richmond, Indiana in a couple weeks as the Friend in Residence at Earlham School of Religion. If you’re in the area and want to participate it would be lovely to have you join us. I am really looking forward to being out there with Friends from all over.
Here is what they’ve put together by way of a public announcement:
C. Wess Daniels, minister of Camas Friends Church in Washington, will be joining ESR as our Fall 2014 Friend in Residence from October 7-11th. During his time at ESR, Wess will be presenting the program for Common Meal, bringing the message for programmed worship, and leading a workshop. In addition to these public events, he will also meet one-on-one with students, and enjoy fellowship with the ESR community and local Quakers.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.” (Hosea 11:1–4 NRSV)
This summer we are reflecting on the question how do we listen to God, and what happens to us when we do?
We have covered the topics of listing to God in Chaos, listening to God in the dynamic present, listening to God that moves us towards sympathy of the other person and last week Ashley Wilcox talked about a kind of listening to God that removes our fear.
Something that stood out to me about Ashley Wilcox’s message last week is that she said that some of us fear death and some of us fear life. And both of these fears are very real.
Our fear of death can be about where we go when we die, or if we go anywhere at all. It can be around the loss of loved ones. It can be about the death of our institutions, organizations, or even a way of life that we have become accustomed to.
Our fear of life is the fear of what might happen that we cannot control. The fear of what others might think of us. The fear of losing someone or something. The fear of not having enough. The fear of the toll of living. The fear of the big questions that go unanswered.
In her book Journey Inward, Journey Outward, Elizabeth O’Connor says of the importance of self-reflection: “We must be engaged with ourselves, if we are going to find out where are, and where it is we want to go.”
One of the ways that we know where we are, and where we are going is by landmarks and signposts. This is true in the natural world as much as it is in the spiritual one.
Spiritual signposts are often favorite stories we tell about your our life, pivotal moments where we have encountered God. Like a regular signpost or landmark, these spiritual counterparts are meant to mark our directions and remind us of where God is leading us. They help us in our journey towards wholeness. Continue reading Signposts, Abraham and the Unknown (Genesis 15)
This is a message I gave a couple years ago and coming across it today I feel it’s worth sharing again. We in the church have a paradoxical relationship with the bible. Many inside and outside the church have misgivings about certain texts or whole swaths of texts, while other texts serve as basic idioms and metaphors in our culture so much so that we don’t even notice it anymore. Is the Bible still a relevant book for us? I contend yes, but not in the ways we’ve often been taught. I argue that there is a Quaker way of reading the bible that bypasses at least some of our modern hang-ups, and I suggest that the Bible really is the people’s book. It is a collection of stories that give witness to God’s liberating work throughout human history. Seen in this light, we can find ways to enter into the story as our own and become participants in God’s transformation of ourselves and the world.
Friends Committee on National Legislation started a campaign to cut the pentagon’s budget – in 2011 it was a staggering $664.84 billion, which is 60% of the overall federal budget – so that we do not have to make drastic cuts on important services like education, healthcare, nutrition assistance and housing that keep our communities thriving. Since 2011 the price-tag for defense has sky-rocketed from 287 billion to where we are today, no wonder our country is broke (Link). As a Christian and Quaker preacher, I want to see us invest in eliminating poverty in our country.
FCNL has asked individuals to post their image with their name and an area that they feel our government could do better at putting our money into rather than in Defense. This is mine.
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
The magnificat is beautiful and celebratory song. It is known as the magnificat, because that is the opening word of Mary’s famous song in Latin. In Greek it is Megalunei, which means to magnify, grow, enlarge! It is thought to be one of the earliest Christian hymns ever recorded and it is one of four found in the Gospel of Luke. It is the subject of much art throughout history and composers have loved to set music to the words: most notably Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach.
For most of us, our experience of the announcement of a Child’s birth is cause for excitement. Even mores with Mary – the birth of Jesus, foretold by Gabriel is shocking news that causes the Singer song-writer in Mary to break out into a powerful number.