In 1 John, the apostle makes the explicit identification of God and agapē — universal love — that can serve as the primary interpretive principle for post-theistic Friends in our reading of both scripture and the Quaker tradition.
Life in agapē is life in the “freedom of the children of God,” the liberty of those whose Spirit is divine. It differs radically from the ersatz liberty of the human spirit that, breathing where it believes it should, remains nonetheless enclosed.
Deep, mindful silence dissolves borders and illumines our relationship to all that is. Silence, therefore, is a door to wisdom, the “gateless gate” of enlightenment. Metaphor can help guide us on the path to that gate, leading us to life.
In John’s story of the discovery of the Resurrection by Mary the Magdalene, Mary speaks my heart. As have I, she moves from sorrow over loss of a God-object to trust in a Christ-spirit to which we cannot cling.
The current versions of Section I, “Introduction,” and Section II, “The Life of the Spirit,” of my Quaker Faith & Practice for the 21st Century are now available for download as a single PDF document.
“Ecumenism and Universalism” and “James Nayler’s Statement”: Parts 15 and 16 of “The Life of the Spirit” in Quaker Faith & Practice for the 21st Century
“Peace and Nonviolence”: Part 14 of “The Life of the Spirit” in Quaker Faith & Practice for the 21st Century
“Social Justice” and “Mercy and Generosity”: parts 12 and 13 of “The Life of the Spirit.”