Monday, December 31, 2007

The Practice of The Love of God

To quote the Wikipedia entry, "Kenneth Ewart Boulding was an economist, educator, peace activist, poet, religious mystic, devoted Quaker, systems scientist, and interdisciplinary philosopher." Ken Boulding has published some thirty books and numerous articles. His contribution to the Quaker literature includes There is a Spirit: The Nayler Sonnets where he envelops James Nayler's last words in stirring poetry.

An equally important essay is the lecture he gave to Young Friends in 1942: "The Practice of The Love of God" where he challenges Quakers of his time, and Quakers of our own.

"God is love. How do you respond to these three words?" With this provocative query, Kenneth Boulding begins an investigation into faith and practice in the midst of a world at war. "It is our duty to seek emotional truth, as it is to seek intellectual truth, and indeed as we seek them we shall find that they are not two truths, but one."
"Unveil the picture in your mind, if you dare of the massed sin and suffering of the world, past, present and future, this terrible ocean of tortured bodies and tormented minds, of suffering innocence and triumphant stupidity on which our middle-class ark floats so insecurely. See the way of God rejected, the laws of God flouted, the love of God perverted, the purpose of God thwarted."

The importance of the love of God, His love of me, and my love of Him, cannot be underestimated in a world at peace nor in a world at war. "Unless we rediscover the love of God itself whose expression is the reason and purpose of our Society, the very Society that we cherish dwindles into nothingness."
"The love of country without the love of God is a destructive emotion; it leads into selfishness, pride, arrogance, injustice, cruelty, domination and war.… Without the love of God the command to love our neighbor is a monstrous sarcasm, the imposition on mankind of impossible conflict between the moral sense and the will."

But this pamphlet is more than a lament. "I have a vision for the world," writes Boulding, who would like to share that vision with you.

View the complete William Penn Lecture of 1942:
The Practice of The Love of God


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