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

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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,

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Christian Universalisms

Just as there are many “Christianities,” there are many forms of “Christian Universalism.”

I seek to follow the faith and practice of the historical Jesus, regardless of how later belief systems and their enforcers may have reinterpreted his ministry to suit their own theological or political notions.

In addition, I just finished Stephen Finlan’s 2008 book, The Apostle Paul and the Pauline Tradition, which describes how Paul’s ministry was also reinterpreted,1 first by his own

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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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Quaker Universalist Voice: Do humanism and universalism differ?

On Quaker Universalist Voice, the blog of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship, I have published a new post, “Do humanism and universalism differ?

Here is an excerpt:

This I know experimentally” does not refer to knowledge gained from replicable outer-world demonstration. It refers, rather, to a sure inward conviction, grounded in personal experience, which each person must become open to herself, though it can be pointed to and shared with others through the languages

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“Listening in tongues”

In a recent post on Quaker Pagan Reflections, the blog he shares with his helpmate Cat, Peter Bishop of Mt. Toby (MA) Friends Meeting has given me a phrase which I believe speaks to the heart of Quaker faith and practice.

Peter writes about “how difficult it is to express in words what worshiping in silence means to us,” even across the perceived barriers within Quakerism itself:

I see [some] Friends…using Christian

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