Sunday, October 30, 2005

Liberal-conservative Friends

Friday night we had our monthly group intimacy with Gainesville (FL) Quakers. We were studying the Introduction to Douglas Steere's Quaker Spirituality.

I had done my home work. Good stuff like all of Friend Douglas' work. But my eye caught on something (I'm like that unfortunately) that seemed not only curious but humorous, pp 15-16:

"Early Friends....were especially concerned to clear away the reliance on theological verbiage, most of which Fox called 'notions'......The important thing to ask of those who joined them was whether they had been reached and had felt the tendering of the indwelling Christ who could speak to their condition and whether, having felt this tendering, they had been willing to yield to it."

Oh boy, I was all set to throw this at the group. Fortunately the occasion did not arise, and the 'devil did not get into me' that night. (But I guess he has now.)

I ask you, is that last sentence theological verbiage, or is it maybe, just Quaker jargon? In my imagination I came to that meeting without any previous experience of Quakerism and heard that; I must have thought-- well these Quakers have a really quaint way of expressing themselves. Is it theological verbiage? I want your opinion.

It came to me that Douglas was quite an old man when he wrote this, maybe even older than I am. And I thought, boy, I hope people will point out to me my senior moments, especially when I'm not aware of them.


SinnaLuvva said...

Hi Larry,
What's the difference between "theological verbiage" and "Quaker jargon"? That's my answer!

Faith is the life, not the words. Our actions are the purest expression of our theology ... but, I do love words.


Larry said...

Sinna: Exactly!

david said...

I think there may have been a time when taht line was not theological verbiage -- but it has become so now.
Thats the trouble with texts -- especially traditional ones. the words get fixed a particular moment while the meanings keep on growing like kudzu.

Larry said...

Well said, David. You might say that verbiage is the 'created good' (a la Henry Weiman) or recourse to the umbrella (a la Nels Feree).

Larry said...