We don't need God?
Oh yes we do.
Simon Jenkins of the Guardian newspaper said on Friday 4th May that "The group is considering dropping God from its meetings guidance as it makes some feel uncomfortable. This is the new religiosity". Well, I hope not so. Similar comments were reported by Kaya Burgess of The Times on Wednesday 2nd May
Simon's article is full of non-attributable quotes and speculation. It is a worrying read for some Quakers who feel threatened at the thought of pressure to abandon their fundamental reason for existence. The Religious Society Friends are a religion and for most of them that means a God-centric community with a focus on the Divine.
A reassuring tweet from Ann van Staveren @mediaquaker on 7th May quotes Paul Parker as saying on BBC Radio 4 Today programme that "There are no plans to leave out God as Quakers revise Faith & Practice. Excellent. Lets hope it does not happen by accident then.
Questions remain however. Where did the press get this 'news' item? One newspaper with an isolated report is one thing but two papers reporting could be interpreted as some sort of briefing. If Paul Parker is having to go on BBC Radio 4 to counter these reports it is not a good use of Friends House resources. And, whilst we are talking of it; in the light of the BBC question "So what is the difference between Quakerism and Mindfulness today?" Should not a simple answer suffice, e.g. Quakerism has at its root a belief in the Divine i.e. God-centric, whereas Mindfulness has at its root "Knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment." i.e self-centric.