Sunday, February 18, 2007

It is not by abstract principles that the world is won

As regular readers know, I try to spend a few minutes each morning in “quiet time and prayer.” The quotation marks are because the phrase is from the title of a book by my friend Elizabeth Neeld, ‘A Spiritual Primer: Guide to Quiet time and Prayer.” A part of this practice is reading. Over recent months, I have read Gandhi, two books on Buddhism, parts of the Christian Bible and one of Ibsen’s dramas, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Most recently, I have turned to ‘Faith and Practice: the Book of Discipline of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.’ On the inside cover page is an inscription that reads, “John M Richardson Jr., Upper Connecticut Valley Monthly Meeting, 1958.”

The following passage is from this book. I used it as the opening quotation for last week’s CTE Management Group Agenda.

“It is not by abstract principles that the world is to be won, but by the transforming influence of personality. Words can not explain the meaning of our message., it needs the dedication of devoted lives. In such lives, the old distinction of sacred and secular disappears as the whole nature is controlled by a common purpose, and a higher power becomes the inspiring center of action and of thought.”
Epistle of London Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1907
(With minor JR paraphrasing)


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