Something Much Older and Deeper Than Quakerism

My experience is that there is a single root of our faith and life as a religious society — a taproot much older and runs much deeper than Quakerism. The taproot of a tree runs straight down from the trunk into the deepest soil, anchoring the tree against storms and providing nurture from the very deepest of sources. There may be hundreds of secondary roots, but only the taproot is necessary for the tree to survive and thrive. The Big Story — the Cosmic Story — is the story of creation’s eternally repeated encounters with its taproot.

We understand God, and the life that God yearns for us to live, primarily through these encounters. It is a blessing to each of us that we have, in the Bible, a record of over 3,000 years of these encounters, accumulated and passed down from generation to generation to guide us in our understandings and warn us away from mistakes others have made before us. One truth that stands clear in this anthology is that God is unchanging from age to age — but our understanding of God waxes and wanes, as we discover and forget basic truths over and over again. Some important truths we have yet to understand fully, or to accept and act upon consistently.

Bible study reminds us that our story, yours and mine, did not begin with our birth and will not end with our death. Our story did not begin with George Fox’s birth; it did not begin with Jesus Christ’s birth. Our story begins with God. Just as there is one God, eternal and unchanging, there is one Story about the relationship between God and God’s creation: the Big Story, of which Moses and George Fox and you and I are little sub-stories. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, each of these sub-stories proclaims the Truth of the Big Story of creation’s repeated encounters with its taproot.”

Lloyd Lee Wilson, 1998
Encounter with the Taproot

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Imagine your spiritual journey (and that of your spiritual community and tradition) in its greater context, as part of a larger network of stories and journeys that connects you to the taproot. Take a minute to journal about this exercise. What is the network you experienced? How does your story fit in with the larger context?

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