Secrets to a light and happy life?

School starts tomorrow. Today Robin and I went to opening meeting for worship. Tonight I went to orientation for new kindergarten parents. Lots of driving back and forth. I typed up some quotes that have spoken to me recently and offer them here, in place of an original post: from the Incredible String Band, Brian Drayton, Hannah Whitall Smith, and Jarrod McKenna.

Incredible String Band snippets (songs from Wee Tam and the Big Huge)
“One light, the light that is one though the lamps be many.”
--"Douglas Traherne Harding"

“You get brighter every day and every time I see you
Scattered brightness in your way and you taught me how to love you.
I know you belong to everybody
But you can’t deny that I’m you.”
--"You Get Brighter"

Brian Drayton's Getting Rooted: Living in the Cross: A Path to Joy and Liberation is Pendle Hill Pamphlet 391. Is it really so new that I couldn't find it either on Pendle Hill's website nor on QuakerBooks? Fortunately, our meeting's library had it!

First, this humorous paragraph:
In common parlance, “finding my roots” connotes a quest to become better acquainted with my family or ethnic history or background. It can range from deep learning about culture, language, and history to an uniformed sentimentality, which takes such forms as green beer on St Patrick’s Day or perhaps a sudden urge to hold a wedding in a meeting house because one’s great-grandmother was a Quaker…. [page 4]

Second, this serious passage:
Friends have always preached that the core of this experience (“knowing Jesus”) is not a notional doctrine about Jesus’s substitionary death on the cross outside Jerusalem wiping away the pain of sin for me and you, but rather that Christ, present in spirit, continues the ministry that we see Jesus enacting in the Gospels, inviting us to liberation, to unity with him and God right now, if we will cooperate. In fact, Friends have taught that if we are to benefit from the Christ event, we must experience it in our own lives, day by day, as way opens. As James Nayler said, “If I cannot witness Christ nearer than Jerusalem, I shall have no benefit by him.”

The first Friends had a powerful sense of the present of the Christ life at work in everyone – though to some degree, this life was oppressed, a suffering Seed in those who were not faithful. This life of God could be reached and encouraged, and even the smallest positive response on our part would mean more power being made available to us—power as well as light.

Going back to 1875, this is from Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (as printed in a 1952 edition in our meeting's library):
Chapter 13: Bondage or Liberty
It is a fact beyond question that there are two kinds of Christian experience, one of which is an experience of bondage, and the other an experience of liberty.

In the first case the soul is controlled by a stern sense of duty, and obeys the law of God, either from fear of punishment or from expectations of wages. In the other case, the controlling power is an inward life-principle that works out, by the force of its own motions or instincts, the will of the Divine Life-Giver, without fear of punishment or hope of reward. In the first the Christian is a servant, and works for hire; in the second he is a son, and works for love.

And finally, returning to 2007, here is an excerpt from Australian Jarrod McKenna's guest blog on the Backyard Missionary:
I’m aware that to many my life might seem a little, well.. strange.
An evangelist who is given a peace award? An activist serious about intercessory prayer? ... …strange.

So I’m hoping to invite you to the strange places and with the strange people where I’ve started to wade in the waters of the new creation, the places where I’ve met Christ and it’s messed me up.

Be it in a ghetto in America, a slum in Cambodia, the wonder of the outback, the witness and writings of the early church, with those without a home on the streets of London, Paris or Perth..., the laughter of local kids learning their skin is not a curse..., prayers of an indigenous elder for the drug dealers in our neighbourhood and the other more ordinary ways that God’s love gets at us. Messes with us. And empowers us to live a little more like Jesus, a little more like the world will be when God’s love finally floods all of creation.

Read the original post and see the photos over here, and go read Jarrod's regular blog on the Pace e Bene website.


Anonymous said...

"Getting Rooted" has a different meaning for the average Aussie! Thanks Chris for all that you are doing in witnessing to God's kingdom.

Chris M. said...

Oi, Jarrod! I might have to let Brian know. We met him earlier in 2007 when he came to Berkeley for Quaker Heritage Day.

No, thank you, for your commitment to grace and transformation!

-- Chris M.

Robin M. said...

Maybe it's important to know that Brian Drayton is a botanist, and that in the pamphlet he points out that for him, roots are most often just a part of a plant.

anj said...

Ha ha - love the discussion in the comments. I just ordered Brian's pamphlet yesterday from FGC bookstore, along with others I needed for the course I am taking. Thanks for letting me know if it's existence, I have been holding the Phrase Living in the Cross for a while now.

Chris M. said...

Anj - You're welcome. Glad to be of service. Thanks for visiting!

-- Chris M.