Thursday, October 16, 2008

more on convergence

I have been reading Martin's blog and its comments and think this discussion is very important given who we are, where we are and when we are.

I appreciate the comment that 'convergence' will never please everyone and that one can be satisfied with that.

I aspire to be faithful to living such that, notwithstanding the obvious "reality" of that position, my walk does not manifest, validate or testify to its ultimate validity.

My aspiration--and I am confident that of anyone who might read these words--is to live in The Kingdom (if we want to use that language) even though sometimes I find myself in situations in which it seems to me I am the only inhabitant of that Kingdom (or realm or space, or relationship or community) within eyesight or earshot. I know that all of us know what I am talking about, here, and know that the way to increase the population of that Kingdom is to treat those who seem like aliens with the hospitality that erases the line between host and guest.

My oldest daughter no longer brings home things to tape to the refrigerator. Instead, she brings me books from her college classes. "Jesus for President" took up much of my airplane time over the past three days and showed me some "moves" I can use skillfully to reach out to those who are turned off by phrases like "the risen Christ working on us"--a phrase with which I personally resonate.

I do think that we all belong together and that in being together, abiding together, we will all converge; but not in some kind of grand compromise of some sort. This idea--of abiding in the Spirit with people who do not seem, to us, anxious to abide, at all, let alone in what seems to us to be the Spirit--is hardly new to Quaker faith and practice. Until 1827 or so it seems to me to have been the way of being religious together, it seems it was a basic part of "Quakerism"--of the faith and practice of Friends.

The phrase "straddling the divisions until they close beneath our feet" is constantly in my mind, not only in regard to Friends, not only in regard to Christians, but in regard to everyone, everywhere. But we will not get there, I don't think, if we are not together, if we are divided by language and notions of things we can never really know.

1 comment:

cath said...

Your comment "The phrase "straddling the divisions until they close beneath our feet" is constantly in my mind...." speaks to me, but I have yet to see clear evidence that the Convergent Movement will accomplish this.

There seems to already be a developing belief set around the concept of Convergence that does not feel inclusive to me, nor does it feel open enough to straddle divisions.

Of course--and this is what I love about the rise of the Convergent idea--we can take this idea and still discern something that will not be "Convergence" as it is known now but will **include** Convergence as it is known now. So then, it will be one of various POVs that make up the wider sense of what it means to be a Quaker, and will do so without becoming an assumed "right path."

There is a lot of work ahead if we want to create ways for the various branches/flavors/concepts of Quakerism to come together in a kind of fellowship that allows for our long held traditions of direct contact with the Divine, following leadings, corporate discernment, and ability to receive personal insight about nurturing our Inner Light and applying the Testimonies to our own lives.

I look forward to the process by which this will all play out, and hope that none of us will assume that our way is the only way for all time.

cath