Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Many thanks to Daniel Liechty for this pearl, in the midst of an intra-Mennonite conversation about the disciplines of non-exclusion and spiritual transformation. It very well illustrates the meaning of a polity which holds a centre through the active example of a living community, rather than policing the boundaries with fences and brickbats:

It is said that a soldier came to George Fox and asked if he, a soldier, could also be a Quaker. Fox said: "Of course, if the Spirit so moves you." To which the soldier replied, "Is it not forbidden that I carry the sword?" To which Fox replied, "Come, be among us, and carry your sword as long as you will to do so!"

What's also noticeable in this story is how natural it is for Fox to conceive of the community created by Christ as a zone free of threat and combat. That this is quite alien to many of our modern churches, which prefer to copy the 'realism' of the world's armed security, indicates just how strange the company of Jesus is for those of us who exalt his name - but secretly fear his company.

[Dan has pointed out to me that this is a reconstruction of what Fox said from his memory, so it would be worth checking the sources]

Comment on this post: FaithInSociety

No comments: