[FT] Fw: On-line Bible Study: What About Government?

John Redman johnredman at bikerider.com
Sun Jan 4 20:59:57 PST 2009

 Dear Friends,

As always, I have been unclear in my 'leading'. What I MEANY to condemn
as evil was coercive government. The government of Friends, as far as I
know, is voluntary. With the case of 'reading out', well, the read out
parties might feel offended but they are not harmed. Violence is the
difference between evil earthly Governments and the Lions Club. A certain
Cape Cod Meeting (E. Sandwich) HAS called the police, invoking violence,
and I pray for their souls for that sin and NEYM is still suffering from
that episode 3 years later. Living IN this world but not OF this world is
a huge challenge and I'm not in agreement that Merton (who was
electrocuted by a faulty fan) managed that completely, either. Wendell
Barry, in The Long-Legged House, writes around the simple premise of
making oneself obedient to ones own conscience. I can say no more.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "James Wilson"
  To: "Friends Theology"
  Subject: RE: [FT] Fw: On-line Bible Study: What About Government?
  Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2009 21:14:24 -0500

  John Redman may be right that government is to be avoided at all
  cost.  I really don't know how you can do that.  In the US government
  touches every aspect of life.  Not paying taxes does not free us from
  services and/or abuses of government.  I don't know what it means to
  "to live from the heart."  My observation is that where there is more
  than one person present a pecking order and alliances will emerge and
  some kind of power will form and somebody or bodies will disagree
  with the way things are shaping up and will put up resistance sooner
  or later.  Are we to live a monastic life like Thomas Merton?  But
  even there in the monastic setting in rural Kentucky there
  were expectations placed on the brothers - a form of government. 

  Would Yearly Meetings, Quarterly Meetings and even Monthly Meetings
  be better off if they were layed down?  They are a form of
  government.  Some of the ugliest and I think evil fights I have
  experienced took place on the Yearly Meeting floor over the authority
  and interpretation of scripture concerning social values that won't
  stay in the closet or out of abortion clinics and the authority of
  the yearly meeting to speak for all the monthly meetings.  Silent
  waiting on the Spirit in search for God's will is a wonderful thing
  and can work so that a consensus can be found but often times does
  not work because God has given us different degrees of "light" and
  from the light that each has acquired or nurtured we cannot see how
  we could possibly be wrong.  Often as not Friends revert to majority
  rule.  Our Quaker history is full of stories of Friends being read
  out of meeting. 

  Like Friend John I sometimes (maybe more than sometimes) question how
  inspired by God some of the great personalities in the Old and New
  Testaments were.  I do not doubt that they were seeking God's will
  but I suspect the human will formed their interpretation of God's
  will just as it does ours in the 21st century.  My hope and faith is
  that God's grace is sufficient to forgive me of my ignorance and
  arrogance. At best I see in the mirrow demly and I suspect that those
  who came before us did not see any better than we do. 

  I appreciate the insights that Andrew, Samuel, Joe, Julia, John and
  others share.  I am enriched.  My concern is that none of us get to
  believing that we have it all figured.  In my mind that is when we
  are fartherest from the Truth. 

  Jim Wilson

  > From: jewen at micronetsystems.net
  > To: friends-theology at quakerchristian.net
  > Subject: Re: [FT] Fw: On-line Bible Study: What About Government?
  > Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2009 06:21:29 -0500
  > Thanks, Joe. Say more about the dishonest judges, Samuel's sons: in
  > were they dishonest? Does this dishonesty arisefrom the nature of
  the job of
  > being judges or does it arise out of their own character? What does
  this say
  > to us about corrupt leadership today? How did the Israelites deal
  with the
  > problem of Samuel's sons? How do we or ought we to deal with the
  problem of
  > corrupt leadership today? Is John Redman right? Is our only option
  to take
  > down all governments and live from the heart alone?
  > Julia
  > ----- Original Message -----
  > From: "Joe Ginder" <joe.ginder at lbfc.org>
  > To: "'A list for discussing Friends theology.'"
  > <friends-theology at quakerchristian.net>
  > Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:18 AM
  > Subject: RE: [FT] Fw: On-line Bible Study: What About Government?
  > > Julia Ewen writes:
  > >> But even in Samuel apparently not ALL forms of government are
  > >> bad. Monarchy is bad. That is clear. But ever since their
  > >> Exodus from Egypt, the Hebrews were living under the rule of
  > >> judges.
  > >
  > > Julia makes a good point about the Israelites having government
  prior to
  > > having a king. In the time of the judges, there was weak
  > >
  > > However, while the demand of the Israelites for a king was
  unholy, as it
  > > grew out of a desire to be like the other nations along with the
  > > that Samuel's sons were dishonest judges, it is not true that
  > > condemns monarchy as a form of government. On the contrary, Jesus
  came to
  > > announce the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God, of which he is
  > > anointed king. His reign will never end. Isaiah 9:6-7 come to
  > >
  > > What was evil about Israel's desire for a king was that they were
  > > God as their king. The time of the judges is certainly not
  depicted as
  > > ideal in any way. Instead, it was a time in which "everyone did
  as he saw
  > > fit". The result was not pleasing.
  > >
  > > Having a good king is a good thing. There is really only one
  > > for
  > > the job, and he's got it. That's why early Christians would not
  > > "Kyrios
  > > Caesar".
  > >
  > > --Joe
  > >
  > > _______________________________________________
  > > Friends-Theology mailing list
  > > Friends-Theology at quakerchristian.net
  > > http://quakerchristian.net/mailman/listinfo/friends-theology
  > >
  > >
  > _______________________________________________
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  > http://quakerchristian.net/mailman/listinfo/friends-theology


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