Sunday, June 05, 2005

Advices 15, 16, and 17 of the Elders at Balby

I here resume commenting on the advices of the elders at Balby. You can view the entire text of these advices by clicking this link.
15.That all Friends that have callings and trades, do labour in the thing that is good, in faithfulness and uprightness, and keep to their yea and nay in all their communications: and that all who are indebted to the world, endeavour to discharge the same, that nothing they may owe to any man but love one to another.

Comment: This is the sort of advice that only seems profound when you contemplate trying to live by it. The part about trying to discharge one's debts is the one that has been most challenging to me (not that I've entirely succeeded in keeping to yea and nay or being faithful and upright, but I speak comparitively). To the extent that we can live by such advice, and support one another in doing so as well, we can begin to deserve the reputation for integrity and character that Friends still seem to enjoy.
16.-That no-one speak evil of another, neither judge one against another; but rather judge this, that none put a stumbling-block or occasion to fall in his brother's way.

Comment: I'm afraid many of us fall far short of this advice. It sounds so obvious and even trivial. But we easily neglect it and thereby do great harm to ourselves, one another, and our religious community.
17.-That none be busy bodies in others' matters, but each one to bear another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ; that they be sincere and without offence, and that all things that are honest, be done without murmuring, and disputing, that you may be blameless and harmless. the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, amongst whom they may shine as lights in the world.

Comment: Like I said...



Blogger Lorcan said...

16 and 17 are so important and so often overlooked in meetings. I have tried to live these with all my heart and soul - I try until it hurts, truely hurts, and yet I find I can't find a way around conflict enough to even attend meetings these days, and I am adrift in this "crooked perverse nation" alone.

5:01 AM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

I'm extremely sorry that Lorcan doesn't feel free to attend meeting. I hope that one day soon he will be able to do so again.

None of us can ensure that others won't speak ill of each other or of us, but each of us can make sure that he or she does not contribute to that behavior. There is such a thing as a gossip chain reaction in which a speculation or accusation or critique (or even a factual statement presented in a derogatory way) is told by one Friend to two, by those two to four and so on. Like a nuclear chain reaction in an atomic pile, it can quickly get out of control. But to stop a nuclear chain reaction it isn't necessary to remove all radioactive atoms from the pile. It's only necessary that a few boron rods are inserted at strategic points to absorb the particles coming their way and not pass them on. Perhaps it's not a very elegant metaphor, but I would like to be a boron rod in the atomic pile of my meeting. I will hear gossip, rumor and detraction from time to time, but rather than pass them on I would do well to hold my peace and thereby damp down the chain reaction. This is important whether I believe the things I hear are factually accurate or not.

2:17 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger Lorcan said...

Rich... I so appreciate your comments... all in all, I think it is so much more simple than people make it... simply follow Quaker process... in light of false assumptions... come to clearness, we all treat each other like axe murderers... it is just hurtful.

5:51 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger Lorcan said...

PS Our fear of each other hurts each other so much more than any thing feared... fear is the enamy... fear the the foil of God.


5:53 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger Lorcan said...

that should read fear IS the foil of God...

5:53 PM, June 09, 2005  

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