2014-10-20T15:12:00

A weapon is an enemy even to its owner.

Here are my notes from book A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons In Simplicity, Service, And Common Sense by Robert Lawrence Smith.

  • p15 If we can locate, at the very center of silence, our individual "still small voice," we will have found our greatest ally in life.
  • p19 Let your life speak, and trust that your children will learn by your example.
  • p21 The premise of Quaker Meeting is that no one person sees the entire truth. The group search after truth is more comprehensive and more exacting than the search of one individual. At Meetings for Worship, the shared silence creates receptivity to the continuing revelation of the truth. People who are moved to vocal ministry offer small insights that contribute to each person's understanding.
  • p29 Sometimes it comes in words; sometimes in silence. The language of truth can often be heard in silence, if only we know to listen.
  • p29 No matter where you worship, or who joins you in your silent search, the truth is always waiting there for you like an old friend.
  • p46 "The heart has its reasons, which reason knows nothing of." -- RenĂ© Pascal
  • p50 The most valuable aspect of religion is that it provides us with a framework for living.
  • p57 Money was like oil. It made things go, but it was kept out of sight.
  • p60 I have come to understand that making life simpler does for our minds what getting in shape does for our bodies.
  • p69 Somehow, in my Quaker youth I had failed to grasp one of my religion's basic messages - that the God within you, the still small voice, is what tells you right from wrong.
  • p74 The awfulness of war makes thoughts simple, reactions natural. I learned that only God can judge motives. We were doing what we had to do and thinking what came naturally.
  • p75 For all of us in battle this war had asked for a full measure of wit, nerve, and strength. And mostly luck. Peace made no demands. It was suddenly up to us again to make something worthy of ourselves.
  • p77 We fear our conscience for the same reasons we fear the truth. We know that following our conscience can expose us to ridicule and take away the props that make us feel secure - a group identity, conformity, anonymity. I would argue that letting your life speak through your conscience is liberating in the same way that truth telling is. It frees you from the judgment of others because you become answerable only to the God that is in you.
  • p78 We all know right from wrong. It's what defines our humanity. Acting on that knowledge affirms our faith in the idea that what we do in this life matters.
  • p83 All things come into being and pass through strife. --Heraclitus
  • p90 The majority of us are not brawlers, wife-beaters, or murderers. We are not uncontrollably driven by brutal instincts and are shocked and alarmed by others who are. Yet each of us is capable of hostile thoughts and hostile acts. We know what it means to "kill with a look" or wound someone's feelings with intent. We all wield emotional or economic power over others, and all too often we betray that trust.
  • p93 A weapon is an enemy even to its owner.
  • p93 Soon after the museum visit Ben was given an illustrated Bible designed for children and became transfixed by the pictures of the Stations of the Cross. "I like this book," he said enthusiastically to his dismayed parents, " because of all the bloody stuff in it."
  • p140 But we are also driven by a countervailing instinct: our fear of the unknown, of people whose cultures and values we don't understand. This tug-of-war between our fear of strangers and our need to connect with those outside out own experience is the dynamic force that draws men and women to each other, and drives them apart.
  • p110 If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life. --Eval Chambers
  • p134 The real bottom line is that everyone wants to buy from people they trust and avoid those they don't.
  • p136 Every time we punch a time clock, sign a paycheck, or use a credit card, we have an opportunity to let our life speak.
  • p167 We begin by being a son or daughter, but right from birth we are likely to also be a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a cousin, a brother or a sister. Later we become souses, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. It's a bit like engaging in an ongoing team sport; each person is required to play his or her designated position, but the positions are constantly shifting. The team must remain united at all times, even when one person is not performing well, is sick or disabled, or is suffering from a loss of spirit.
  • p172 I remember, with intense pleasure, the sound of my parents singing together as we drove. Mother, who had a beautiful voice, would start the song, and Dad would join in. Their favorites were "Danny Boy", "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder," and "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," and we three kids in the backseat listened to them and sometimes chimed in as well, feeling totally happy and secure. The word "connected," so commonly used today, hardly describes our contentment, our sense that we were exactly where we wanted to be.
  • p182 But Quakerism offers some vital reminders to keep all of us on track: that there is that of God in each of us; that we all posses an inner, guiding light; that truth is the way, and that often "way opens" in the midst of silence.
  • p188 The beginning of understanding is when, after asking why, we become silent.

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