Click on the quote below to read the article...

Some people have been hurt or offended by overly zealous religious people. In an effort to relate to these people, Quakers have developed a refreshingly non-religious form of communication, which avoids just about every type of religious jargon. Terms like the blood of Jesus, preaching the gospel, winning souls, heaven, hell, the devil, the end of the world, creation, miracles, salvation, and many many more are almost taboos in Quaker circles.

We Jesus Christians have personally benefited from this religious tolerance and support for religious underdogs like ourselves. So we have tried to be careful about not saying things that will offend other Quakers.

Homosexuals, humanists, atheists, pagans, and others who have found aspects of traditional religion offensive, also fill the ranks of the Society of Friends.

It has been good for us to learn how to communicate with these people, and to express spiritual truths without reference to the Bible, without reference to God, and even without reference to Jesus. It has been good for us to learn how to avoid sexist language, and to work with people who do not observe the same rules with regard to sexual relations that we have come to take for granted.

I have written about this in an article called "The God Who Turns the Other Cheek". I tried to explain how we, as believers in the God of the Bible, should learn to tolerate being told that we must respect the beliefs and traditions of other religions and lifestyles, at the same time that we are being asked to cover up or keep to ourselves our own beliefs and practices. We can go a long way toward doing this, because we have confidence in our God, and the truth that he stands for, that He and it will win out in the end.

But I do not think it is too much to ask that sincere Quakers also recognise how offensive it can be to a sincere believer in God to hear them ridicule or angrily criticise not only us as believers, but also the God in whom we believe.

Cherry uses the word "grieved" to describe the feeling she gets when sitting in a group of Quakers who speak glibly of their gripes about God. I think the word is an excellent description of what I feel as well.

Maybe there is something wrong with us that we do not have the courage to shake our finger in the face of God and tell him that we don't like the way he does things, but rightly or wrongly, we cannot bring ourselves to be so arrogant, and we feel a deep pain when we hear others doing the same. I would go so far as to say that I experience a kind of holy fear for the person who is doing it.

We recently had a visitor who heard about something that God has, though Jesus, told us to do. "No way!" she said. "There's no way that I would ever do that. I don't care if he is God. That's too much." Notice that she was not disputing the interpretation of what God had said, but was simply stating that it didn't matter whether he said it or not; she was not going to go along with it.

She must have seen the look on our faces, because she then proceeded to defend her position.

"Hey, I'm just being honest. God does want us to be honest, doesn't he? And if that's how I feel, then, I think I should say so."

It was such a pathetic attempt to pump virtue into this totally rebellious attitude toward God. You don't argue with an earthquake, or with the ocean tides, so why argue with God?

Our visitor quoted a Bible verse, where God says, "Come, let us reason together." But I argued that reasoning is different from rebellion. We would not think of being so rude to our best friends; so why should we be like that with our Creator?

Equality is one of the fundamental testimonies of Quakerism. So if believers in Jesus and God can show sensitivity to the feelings of other Quakers who are offended by some of the language that we use, then I would ask that other Quakers equally consider how offensive disrespectful talk about God can be to people like ourselves. .

After all, we're Quakers too.

(See also Why Did My Father Die?)

Register or log in to take the quiz for this article

Pin It
Don't have an account yet? Register Now!

Sign in to your account