A comment on “Seeing beyond Identities”

Originally published on Quaker Universalist Conversations on on 10/19/2015.

Friend Jim Wilson has a helpful comment on the QuakerQuaker republishing of my post, “Seeing beyond Identities”:

Mike, I wonder if your statement, “identities are figments of human conceptualization, not real boundary markers”, makes sense. It sounds to me like postmodernist sloganeering.

For example, if I am hungry I want to distinguish, that is to say, ‘identify’, a pizza and distinguish it from a

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Seeing beyond Identities

Originally published on 10/4/2015 on Quaker Universalist Conversations

In “Seeing beyond the Projections” (9/7/2015), I voiced my concern that modern Friends across the spectrum tend to perceive liberal or universalist Quakerism as representing anything but Christianity. As Wendy Geiger has put it so gracefully in her comment, I wanted to suggest an alternative view, a way “to keep one’s heart-mind supple and expandable and inclusive.”1

To give the discussion historical

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Seeing beyond the Projections

Originally published on 9/7/2015 on Quaker Universalist Conversations

Some recent conversations with Friends revealed that they considered Quaker Universalism to represent anything but Christianity. This is not surprising either psychologically or historically, yet it misses the core premise of universalism: inclusion.

Psychologically, our pattern-seeking brains prefer boundaries and distinctions, and their cognitive shortcut is to divide things into either/or categories. Historically, if I came to Quakerism from outside of the Christian community, or

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Cat Chapin-Bishop: Open Letter to My Christian Quaker Friends

On Quaker Pagan Reflections, my dear F/friend Cat has posted a two-part open letter which poses questions and challenges for those of us who seek to transcend the illusory boundaries between Christian and non-Christian Quakers.

In Part 1 (also republished on Quaker Universalist Conversations, the blog of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship), Cat writes about becoming a convinced Friend while remaining “loyal to and part of the Pagan community that formed for me a soul capable of

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Am I a nontheist…? (Part III)

Part I: Languages of belief
Part II: Survival faith and practice
Part III: “Someone should start laughing”

“Someone should start laughing”

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

What is God?

If you think that Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

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Am I a nontheist…? (Part II)

Part I: Languages of belief
Part II: Survival faith and practice
Part III: “Someone should start laughing”

“Survival faith and practice”

I value very highly the information we gain from authentic empirical science, honest scholarship and rational discourse. My schooling was classical, in the sense that I learned very early to recognize and to see as essential for human progress the difference between arguments arising from such rigorous disciplines and those arising from opinion and

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Am I a nontheist…? (Part I)

Part I: Languages of belief
Part II: Survival faith and practice
Part III: “Someone should start laughing”

Languages of belief 

As my spiritual life has matured and deepened over the decades, I have come to understand that no religious language, whether in scripture, in doctrine, in written or spoken ministry, or in personal testimony, describes the ultimate Reality in any objective way. Rather, at its best such language can only describe the human experience of

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