Thursday, February 21, 2008


John Punshon writes on page 61 of his Encounter with Silence: "Once adopted, Quaker worship can be dangrous. Its characteristic sin is complacency." I know I've also mused here on the difference between contentedness (which I think is a virtue) and complacency (which is not), but I can't find the link to that post at the moment.

Anyway, I was moved by the wisdom and truth in this monolog in the Arlo & Janis cartoon strip yesterday. (You can see it here.) Arlo is talking over the breakfast table to Janis in four panes:

We really are lucky when you think abou it!

We have food, a nice home, a kid in college! We have each other -- and our health!

Yes sir, we should look at the big picture.

Or would that be the little picture?

It reminds me of another paradoxical dichotomy I may have written about here before. When Paul Wellstone died in October 2002, a lot of us began to wear green buttons that quoted him: "Stand up! Keep fighting!"

I remember worshiping at Morningside Meeting in New York City shortly thereafter. I was wearing the green button and I was moved to say: "I would like another button for my other lapel, a red one, maybe, that reads: "Sit down! Stop fighting!"

The Christian life is in constant tension between being simultaneously prophet and peacemaker, and I need to have both reminders to keep that tension in its proper balance.


John Boanerges Redman said...

Are you coming to B'Ham for the National in June? I hope so. I stay with the Smiths and I hope you will, also, because I never realized I had such a Brother in Quakerism before. I just did a random search on Shaped Notes in my own profile and came up with you. You can include my "Quaker War" blog with yours, if you wish.

John Boanerges Redman

Paul L said...

I'm not sure. I would love to, but I don't think this is the year. We have two teens who are developing their own summer plans (that don't necessarily include Sacred Harp singing) that are quickly filling up our summer. . . . I do have the National Convention on my list of must-visits, though.

John Boanerges Redman said...

Well, are you swinging east for any folk festivals? I work a whole bunch and
I am heading to Totonto for a contra dance weekend pretty soon. Old Songs,
in June, has quite a bit of Sacred Harp, F.I..


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