To be saved is to be one whose basic bias is toward universal love, which is the opposite of “the world’s” orientation to self. To begin to turn to that new orientation is to enter the process of metanoia.
In their preaching, George Fox and other first Friends sought to direct people, not to belief in or experience of an inner metaphysical essence, but to the dynamic activity of divine revelation in their minds and hearts. Their message remains important today.
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.
[W]ithin us is a relational spirit that “never consents” to selfishness. That holy spirit, which we tend to repress, constantly critiques our attitudes and actions, … wanting to awaken us to the divine power and wisdom waiting in our hearts.
According to the first Friends, “that of God in every one” is not simply something in us that calls us to remember God, nor is it an inherent divine identity ….
My concerns about the contemporary liberal Quaker fascination with what is called “spiritual experience,” a fascination I shared earlier in my life, are longstanding.
One criterion determines whether we are worth being saved for God or being thrown on the burning trash heap called Gehenna: did we or did we not help the oppressed? In the end, Jesus says, nothing else matters.
The now opens into the new: in any and every moment, you may see the day dawn and the day star arise in your heart ….
In particular, it seems easy for us to slip into a New Age kind of definition of “that of God” as a divine essence, a divine identity or true nature, in each person — an essence that makes us all One, and that therefore makes us all essentially the same. That’s troubling to me because ….
Quakerism is a religion of the New Covenant, which means that it is religion of the heart — the broken heart. We enter the New Covenant when our heart is changed.