Yesterday’s post gave me unusual difficulty. I’m aware that my thinking in it, especially with regard to use of terms, is fuzzier than usual. What I’m trying to get to, through a paralogical (see link below), thinking-in-print kind of process, is the expression, in various models if need be, of what our situation looks like when we find ourselves and our world being deconstructed by internal contradictions, and of what the primitive Quaker tradition has to say to us about passing through that experience to a state of wholeness, peace, and spiritual power.
The writings of leading early Friends do speak to us in detail about that, but they speak in biblical terms, terms that put off many modern liberal Quakers. Yet those terms harbor an “event,” to borrow John D. Caputo’s words (from The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event), a living reality of practical love that calls to us with a silent but urgent voice. In postmodern paralogy, says Lois Shawver, we practice “generous listening” by trying to “step inside the speaker’s vocabulary.” Doing so as we read the primitive Quaker texts can open our minds and hearts to the transmission of that living reality from the first Friends.
Facilitating that process is one of my goals in writing. Sometimes, as when an epistle by George Fox lends itself readily to adaptation into more contemporary terms, the goal seems attainable; at other times, such as while struggling with the previous post, I take comfort in knowing that others are doing the job more capably. I also hope for some discussion here in the future, some active Quaker paralogy to help the process along.