<< PYM home

Faith and Practice

Pacific Yearly Meeting

of the

Religious Society of Friends

a guide to quaker discipline in the experience of pacific yearly meeting of the religious society of friends.
published 2001



Search provided by
  Google

Contents page

i: Pacific Yearly Meeting In Context

< previous page

next page >

Friends Relationship To Christianity

preface
pym in context
quaker faith & spiritual practice
testimony & experience of friends
organization of the society
procedures
activities & organization of the YM
glossary
bibligraphy
appendices
sources of quotations
index of sources
subject index

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Friends who have permitted us to use material for this Faith and Practice.

 

religious language

 Quakers encourage one another, in John Woolman’s phrase, “to distinguish the language of the pure Spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart,” rather than focusing on seeking names for God. The Light of Christ to one may be what another understands as the Inner Light; the Spirit to one may roughly be what another understands by the Christ Spirit. The Eternal, the Divine, and God may mean the same or not, depending on the context, the speaker or the reader.† The language used in all Quaker writing (including this Faith and Practice) varies with the source of material. Friends should temper their interpretations, knowing that any specific phrase may have different connotations to different Friends.

 In the course of following their spiritual paths, many Friends find great depth of meaning in familiar Christian concepts and language, while others find more universalist language speaks to their condition. Although this phenomenon may seem perplexing to a casual observer, it does not trouble many seasoned Friends who have discovered deep unity with one another in the Spirit. The breadth of Friends’ terminology promotes latitude in expression and appreciation for what may be subtle differences in understanding.

 … tell them in the name of God that there is to be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening.

2 timothy 2: 14. the new jerusalem bible.

 

† In fact one can find many terms for the same or similar concepts in the books of Faith and Practice of other Yearly Meetings. Inner Light, Living Spirit of God, Risen Christ, Truth, Light, Light of Christ, Light Within, Divine Spark, Holy Spirit, Living Christ, Jesus Christ, Inner Teacher, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, Divine Light, Divine Presence, God’s Light, Seed, Spirit, Presence, Eternal, and Divine are found in the vocabulary of Friends.