The stick and the carrot / crystal

… repent, and behave as you did at first, or else, if you will not repent, I shall come to you and take your lamp-stand from its place … those who prove victorious I will feed from the tree of life set in God’s paradise.

I looked at this reading as if it was about a relationship, and it seems sort of disfunctional to me. Love can’t be coerced, doesn’t respond to threats or bribes. This is a very different relationship than that shown in the story of the prodigal son, for instance. It’s hard for me to believe this reading is “inspired”, or if it is, that it is free from the writer’s ax grinding interpretations.

– The Return of the Prodigal Son by Sir Edward John Poynter


4 responses

  1. This looks to me like an expression of a traditional Quaker saying: “Follow the light you have, and more will be given.”Conversely, then “If you are not following the light you’ve been given, what use do you have for more?”And I have to wonder sometimes, to what extent are we Quakers falling short of our calling, and thus missing the light potentially available?I agree, this whole book is great ax-grinding material, but as I’ve said elsewhere, it’s a fallacy to confuse “inspiration” with “infallibility.” The One who inspires us is infallible, not we who strain our eyes to see what is set before us.

  2. Forrest’s comment echoes what I wanted to say earler and didn’t. the thrweat to remove the lamp from the lampstand is not necessarily a threat to the individuals but to the body. Christ will dismantle the church no necessarily condmen the individual members to flames and fire.On the other hand, if he’s right about the communitarian character of this group, faith becomes impossible without a faith community.And BTW Forrest, Crystal is our resident RC. We haven’t talked her into checking out the local Quaker Meeting yet 🙂

  3. I gathered that about crystal.We had the odd Catholic at Pendle Hill, not to mention an Episcoplian on various committees at my meeting.Someone there finally cleared my confusion on why the Puritans kept accusing Quakers of being closet “Papists.” Of course, it was the worse thing you could call someone in Cromwell’s England, but aside from that.Much of the controversy was over one question: “What basis do you have for claiming authority for your religion?” The Catholics had the Pope and the tradition; the Protestants had to assert the Bible as their alternative. But this moved them them increasingly toward thinking, in practice: “We find God in this book; God is what spoke to those people back in those days.” The Catholics and the Quakers were in agreement that God is very much available and active at any time and place.

  4. Crystal, much of the Bible is about “grinding axes”, and if we can’t find more creative other meanings in it, we’d best just pass over it, the way good drivers just let the speed demon pass over.

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