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.
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.
“I tell you truly, truly: if one is never born from water and spirit, one is not able to go into the kingdom of God.” How might Quakers understand that saying? The creation story in Genesis offers one possibility.
In 1652, Margaret Fell heard George Fox preach and felt her life change profoundly. This post offers a contextual paraphrase of Fell’s account with commentary.
The Synoptic tradition relates that when Jesus was asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” he pointed to his praxis, his deeds of compassion and liberation.
Particularly in this age of what Jean-François Lyotard called “incredulity toward metanarratives,” when master-narratives such as Christianity are perceived as inherently oppressive, to be missional must be to live “in Christ.” The first Quakers knew that to be “in Christ” is to be liberated from the self-centeredness that produces human injustice. […]