Monday, May 25, 2009

Faith focused on process and not perfection

Since I came to the Quakers in 1998, I have not always been able to put into words why I chose this faith path over all the others available to me. Over the long weekend I had a chance to really put some words to why Quakerism and not something else.

Lynne Phillips led a special interest group into Quaker theology at the spring Western Half Yearly Meeting in Sorrento BC on the Victoria Day long weekend. It was during this session of all of us trying to talk about what a Quaker theology might be that it became to clear to me what it is about Quakerism that works for me.

The Quaker faith path is a really a journey of exploration of spirituality, it is not a destination.

Most religions hold out some manner of a promise of perfection. Either the faith is perfect or you will achieve perfection in the afterlife. So often there is someone in the faith that has the keys to heaven, is a learned person who has all the answers. I am not looking for someone to give me the answers. I am smart enough to know that there is no such thing as perfection. I want to understand inside of me on an emotional and fulfilling way the importance of faith in my life. I am not interested in being handed the answers and told what to do.

My spirituality is a process. I am not looking for quick answers to questions, I am looking for ways to conceive of the depth of such questions as "Is there a God?" and "What is God?". Every human civilization has had the need to have some sort of faith. To say there is no God denies everything we have been as humans up until now. I need to understand and know about that within all of us humans that makes faith so fundamentally important to us all.

Most mainstream religions have chosen to cement the idea of God into to something that comes to us from thousands of years ago. They allow no real growth for the idea of God and new ways to express it. They are hung up on a perfection that was thought up millenia ago.

In Quakerism I have a process that lets me explore the idea of faith and God. I have come out of meeting for worship at times with head almost ready to explode because I caught a momentary glimpse in my mind's eye of how huge God could be.

The faith path I am on is one that will be with me for the rest of my life and there is no end goal, no end station, no nirvana. I will never know who or what God is while I am on this journey, but I will gain an insight into my life and others as to what makes us human and why we need to cooperate as a society and build naratives we share.

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