No church yesterday

Instead, I helped a friend who is valiantly working to get her condo ready to sell. Several of us got together to help her finish painting it. When it goes on the market, there will be a prayer circle.

This blog seems to be starting a lot of conversations, not only out there but among my own circle of friends. In my next post I’ll report on a conversation I had among some of my favorite people last Friday night. In this one, I’ll report on my upcoming church destination this Sunday: I’ll be going to a Society of Friends service.

That’s the Quakers, in case you don’t know, as I certainly didn’t. I also didn’t know the following about them. Speak, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Christianity!

…Friends pioneered a very unusual blend of ideas and practices that some other Christian groups eventually adopted with success. They don’t have creeds and they don’t observe sacraments or rituals. Their meetinghouses have no altars, stained glass, elaborate organs, or special seating for church officials. Friends teach about equality, togetherness, and peace, and place at the center of their faith the idea of a believer’s direct and intimate experience with God. In the end, it’s hard to find a group that tries harder to recreate the spirit of Christianity as it was practiced during the first century after Christ.

Interesting, no? I had no idea that the Quakers were so influential, although historical fiction I’ve read (particularly Chesapeake, by James Michener) had indicated some of those ideas to me. But here’s more that I didn’t know: They, like the Unitarians, don’t believe that people are inherently sinful.

They believe that within every human soul you can find a certain element of God’s spirit. It is thought to help each person not only to understand the difference between good and evil, but to understand his or her connection to everyone else in the world….[T]hey teach that a person must nurture and care for the seed of God within, to make it grow before the seed of evil develops and takes over. Think of it as tending a garden. If you water and fertilize and weed your garden, the right kind of plants will grow. If you don’t, you’ll be eating chickweed come harvest.

Not bad.

1 Response to “No church yesterday”

  1. 1 Tom Goodman January 22, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    I look forward to reading your report from the Friends meeting. On the one hand, I’ve always enjoyed the writings of Richard Foster, probably the most famous Quaker among evangelicals. On the other hand, I’m curious as to why they don’t practice baptism or the Lord’s Supper, two practices clearly laid out by Jesus for his followers (which kinda contradicts the statement from the Complete Idiots Guide that “it’s hard to find a group that tries harder to recreate the spirit of Christianity as it was practiced during the first century after Christ.”) Also, wassup with “no creed,” which the Complete Idiots Guide says is a plus for Quakers? Considering that the word “creed” comes from the Latin, “credo” which means “I believe,” does that mean that a church with “no creed” has nothing to which they can say, “I believe this”? Maybe the Guide got it wrong?

    So . . . I’m looking forward to your report.

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