Speaking in Parables
In part we can pass this language along from generation to generation but there is danger in that. The danger is that we will start using the words mechanically, repeating them by rote and not tieing them to the spiritual experiences they are meant to convey. For example how many of us will speak of God the Father mechanically. When Jesus first minted this new metaphor it was shocking and new. Jesus said that God was "Abba" an informal expression rather akin to "Daddy" in English. The metaphor of a divine King to be feared was being put aside. God was as tender loving and close to us as a parent to a little child. Do we still hear the meaning behind the metaphor? Often we do not.
To some extent every generation must invent a new language for talking about the spiritual. So in my last post I made up my own metaphor of pushes and pulls. They aren't literal pushes and pulls of course, but those who have had experiences like mine might (if I picked a good metaphor) say to themselves "Yes, I've had that experience." Of course my metaphor is rather trivial and easy. It is certainly not as profound as Jesus' insight. But each of us offers what we have to offer.
I don't put my metaphor out there to suggest that everyone use it. Use it if you wish, if it doesn't work for you, forget it. What we need to do is talk about our experiences more. Shared experience of the divine is the very heart of Quakerism. I urge Friends to use whatever language seems natural to them and not to try to tell others what language they must or must not use.
Please share your stories in whatever language comes most naturally to you.