Sunday, 6 May 2007

Ground & Spring

That was the title of Beth Allen's Swarthmore lecture last night. It resonated a lot with my experience, as an unprogrammed Friend comfortable with talking about a living God. I really appreciated Beth's 'gentle certainty'- she explained how affirmative comments about other's experience are often right, while denying other's experience is often wrong.

For me, trying to achieve that balance, of affirming and sharing what you value, without closing yourself to new light, is a key part of being a Quaker.

I found Beth's words very inspiring, but also quite practical and down-to-earth. I really liked the quote she opened with, from St Francis of Assisi:
"God, who are you?
God, who am I?"

Although Beth reminded us all at the start that 'God' in her lecture should be a placeholder for our own individual understanding, I can see that the frequency with which He popped up might have been hard to get around for some Friends.

I often think that language is something of a cosmic joke on the part of God. We have this tool to share our deepest experiences, and yet it can be such a blunt instrument.

1 comment:

Rupert said...

Nice to hear someone unapologetic and unafraid of using God language in a Quaker setting. Wish there were more like Beth Allen out there. Excellent Swarthmore.