Saturday, 5 April 2008

Quaker Universalist Conference

posted by Rhiannon

A quick report from Woodbrooke, where I'm at the Quaker Universalist conference, so you know why I'm not with you this Sunday.

It has been said that most British Quakers, being the open-minded liberal-liberal kind, are probably Universalists on some level, but QUG (the Quaker Universalist Group) acts as a focus for that strand of the Society of Friends. (A 'universalist' is, roughly, someone who believes in some truth in all religions: it's 'being open to new light', extreme ironing edition).

The title of the conference is 'Translating Spirit'. We've heard about the Zero Point Field (it's centring down, with added quantum) from Brian Gill, balancing the inside and the outside from Jennifer Kavanaugh (I just know I spelt that wrong; correction when I'm not already late for dinner), and music and massage and other non-verbal spiritual things from John Sheldon. Plus there's been time for discussion, both formally in our ten-person 'break out groups' and informally over the pepetual mugs of tea and coffee. Still to come are the AGM and further sessions.

I'll think of you all in Meeting tomorrow.


Krystina said...

Sounds really interesting. I know a little about the Zero Point Field, although not sure I really understand it. Look forward to hearing more about the conference when we next meet.

cath said...

Sounds like a very interesting conference, but I think there may be some confusion about your definition of a "universalist."

While many faiths have a universalist component (that all will be saved or united with the Divine), I believe that it muddies the waters to claim that anyone who believes in some truth in all religions is a universalist. Such a person may not be a universalist at all--but simply someone who finds some truth in many religions.

Unfortunately, we Friends have a habit of misusing the term Universalist and I think that causes problems. In-house jargon sometimes complicates inter-faith dialogue.

Anyway--the topic: "Translating Spirit." Wow! That sounds quite complex and compelling. Please tell us more.


cath said...

p.s. forgot to add....there is a history of universalism. And Phillip Gulley and Jim Mulholland talk about the concept in their book "If Grace is True.

--and of course, there is the union of universalism with the Unitarians.


cath said...

oooh, sorry about the long URL with no link. (not sure how to do links here--blush!). Just google the title if you don't want to type all that into your browser.


bookgeek:rhiannon said...

Cath, I realise there are different uses of the word 'universalist'. I've done some thinking about this and tried to be much clearer in a new blog post, here.