From Ivor Catt,
St. Albans AL3 4JR
To The Editor,
23 Ben Corrum Brae,
Dunoon PA23 8HU,
Letter to Quaker Forum.
Faith without an historical Jesus
I attempted to go to a deep truth in a brief piece in response to Joan Harvey, Quaker Forum Part 6, p287, and failed.
I am deeply dissatisfied with Received Christianity, and also (insofar as it exists) with Received Quakerism. Joan Harvey is nearer to the latter than I am.
After far more decades of confusion in my mind than was justified, I lit upon the idea of thinking about what Jesus would think about what is going on in his name. I am convinced that he would be appalled rather than amused.
Usually, a great teacher wants to reach as many people as possible. This would apply to Jesus, if he existed. One who suddenly claims that a great teacher does not exist is not entitled to embroider the teachings previously attributed to him. Whether he existed or not, the parables, which are argued to be the most authentic part of the Gospels, are impressive, and should be heard.
Jesus was asked, “Art thou the Christ?”, and answered ambiguously, so the two are different.
The attack on Jesus is exemplified by the habit of calling him “Christ” rather than “Jesus”. I wish we heard more about Jesus. “Christ” is a construct over which there can be valid dispute and discussion. The word connotes more than an individual, and so the “correct” structure of the larger package can be argued, and different opinions can be held. For instance, the post-Jesus insights claimed by early Gnostics should be applied to the Christ, not to Jesus.
The embroidery associated with “Christ” will inevitably alienate many people from Jesus. Any later embroidery is elitist and alienating for some. Jesus deserves to be heard. At a recent promotion day at our Protestant St. Albans Cathedral, when I asked one of the showmen what was going on, he told me that he himself was a “Bells and Smells” man, and so was his associate, the priest performing before us in fancy dress. These guys know what they are doing. Poor Jesus!
Ivor Catt 4feb02
Letter to the Editor
Geoffrey Sewell, QF pt 1 2002 p3, is on his way into the Quaker Quagmire. I quote;
“Linda Fielding said that if the Society is to act on this [setting up a State Quaker School], it needs to come up as a Concern through Preparative Meeting and Monthly Meeting and go to this November’s Meetings for Sufferings.” This is The Quaker Way of Censorship, discussed at www.ivorcatt.com/2401.htm
There are many cases of reformist initiatives being blocked by misuse of the concept of a “Concern”, which is the standard method for our effete bureaucracy to block any initiative from within BYM. I must emphasise that it is not the particular initiative that is blocked. All signs of initiative are ruthlessly blocked by our decadent bureaucracy, which fears any and all reforming activity. The most glaring was GM foods. Local St. Albans Quakers (not including myself) were ahead of the whole world with their concern, which was then called “Concern” and languished in blocking committees for a decade. As a result, when GM Foods burst into the media, there was no mention of the very good original, suppressed, Quaker work on the matter.
Ivor Catt 4feb02