Welcome to Inward Light

Welcome to Inward Light

In the midst of the political, religious and cultural turmoil of 17th century England, a revolutionary new religious movement was born.  It was based on the idea that the faith community can be led directly by God in the present day.  It represented a radical departure from most organized religions in many respects including:

·  A radical approach to worship in which worshipers settle into silent communion with the Holy Spirit and wait expectantly for God direct vocal preaching and prayer through leadings that may come to any worshiper, not merely to a designated priest or pastor.

·  A radical approach to church government in which a facilitator attempts to discern the voice of God through the efforts by all those present to hear what the group is led to do.

·  A level of participation by women in preaching and community decisions that was unknown for another two centuries in the Judeo-Christian tradition outside of female monastic orders.

Unfortunately, many of these approaches have been forgotten or distorted in many Friends meetings today.   Their revolutionary impact has been hugely watered down by the substantial abandonment of universal priesthood and spirit-led worship in branches of Friends that utilize pastors - and the secularization and loss of spiritual power in a large proportion of the Quaker meetings that still utilize unprogrammed worship without pastors.

The purpose of this website is to promote increased understanding and use of these early Quaker practices.  It is not organized like most blogs, though you are welcome to sign up for this site's blog notification of new posts.  Instead the site is organized primarily around subject matter:

Willingness explores our personal capacity to lean on God and live faithfully.   Our modern society erects many barriers to a trusting dependent relationship on the God who is at the heart of our lives and all creation.

Worship describes the process of waiting expectantly on God with others and spirit-led vocal ministry.

Reaching Out addresses outreach to those outside our own faith community about our beliefs and what was once called "public ministry" - including travel under religious concern. (There is obviously overlap with vocal ministry during "waiting worship"!)

Faith Community deals with ways in which meetings seeks to discern and follow God's guidance as a group through meetings for business, mutual accountability, corporate acts of discipleship, issues around membership and pastoral care of each other.

Eldership focuses especially on the gift of prayerfully upholding community worship and nurturing the spiritual gifts of others within one's faith community.

The Testimonies refer to corporate positions that Friends have come to as a religious community over the centuries on key social issues as well as lifestyle expectations of members.

Faithful Sexuality.  Many Friends today no longer share that the traditional Christian assumption that sexual ethics can be boiled down to "if it's within a heterosexual marriage it's right, if it's not it's wrong."  Friends who feel this way have no shared understanding as to what they do believe as alternative.  This section reflects my own efforts to discern God's truth in this area - along with those of others.

Health, Healing & Death explores ways that we can experience more fully God's love & care for our bodies through out the lifecycle, even beyond the boundary of death.

 

This site does not represent the official viewpoint of any Quaker body: the views are those of the authors and of the site's creator, Peter Blood-Patterson.  Articles are by Peter unless otherwise noted.

I am glad to consider posting articles that support the overall values and vision of the site, especially by those who do not have their own blogs or websites.  If you have written or are aware of writing that you feel would fit in well with the purposes of the site, please contact me at peter at quakersong dot org

For the meaning and my use on this site of the terms "Inward Light", "Holy Spirit", and "Christ", see a few comments on terminology on this website.

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Quote that speaks to me

Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies

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They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.  
Death cannot kill what never dies.  
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.  
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.  
For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this Divine Glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
 - William Penn, More Fruits of Solitude, 1702.

Note: This passage was quoted by J.K.Rowling as the epigraph of her novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Braithwaite on Outreach

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Men & Women with a Message of Power

It is as a "religion of life" that Quakerism will be presented in the future and is being presented now.

Its distinguishing note will be its resolve to bring all this human life of ours under the transforming power of spiritual life.  It will stand out against all divisions and compartments that separate the sacred from the secular, the sanctuary from the outward world of nature, the sacrament from the days' common work, the clergy from the laity. 

It will tell of a Christian experience that makes all life sacred and all days holy, all nature a sanctuary, all work a sacrament, and gives to every man and woman in the body fit place and service.  Its concern will be to multiply men and women who will have a message of power because they are themselves the children of light.  It will claim the whole of man's life, and the whole of life, individual, social, national international, for the dominion of the will of God.

William C. Braithwaite and Henry T. Hodgkin, The Message and Mission of Quakerism (Philadelphia, Winston, 1912), 25-26.

Recent Entries

Bangladesh Blockade
My wife, Phyllis Taylor, and I feel very fortunate to have been a small part of the freedom struggle that resulted in the independence of Bangladesh. I am very sorry to say that, during the war of independence, our own beloved country, the United States of America, was secretly sending military supplies to Pakistan which were used to kill and oppress citizens of what was then called East Pakistan. …
Biblical Roots of Quaker Worship
When our hearts are knit together in powerfully gathered waiting worship do we not enter into living water and drink deeply from it? What deeper spiritual refreshment could be available to us than this drawing on the living water that Christ offers us every time we gather with Friends to wait expectantly upon this gift? …
Charles Marshall Epistle
Who in your assemblies sometimes feel a testimony for the Lord to spring to your hearts, keep your watch in the light, that so none stay behind, nor run before. But let all that open their mouths in the assemblies of the Lord's people do it as the oracle of God in the arising of the eternal power. For nothing can beget to God but what comes from the word of life that lives & abides forever; and nothing can refresh, strengthen or comfort that which is begotten by the word of life but what springs from the same. …