Monday, March 12, 2012

Whittaker Chambers' Real Witness: To the Experience of God Within (The New Evangelization)

Remarks of Whittaker Chambers Deep Within “Witness” pp. 482-485

Blogger: Consider Ratzinger’s theology of faith as the reception of the very Person of the Word of God into self by making a gift of one’s total self, the Virgin being the prototype of this, and the following of Chambers on what he found in Quakerism.

“Men may seek God alone. They must worship him in common. The words of Miguel de Unamuno also express my own conviction: ‘A Miserere sung in a cathedral by a multitude tormented by destiny is equal to a philosophy.’ The God it worships is what a nation is, and how he worships Him defines what a man is. I sought a congregation in which I could worship God as the expression of a common need. For I had not changed from secular to religious faith in order to tolerate a formless good will vaguely tinctured with rationalized theology and social uplift. I was not seeking ethics; I was seeking God. My need was to be a practicing Christian in the same sense that I had been a practicing Communist. I was seeking a community of worship in which a daily mysticism (for I hold that God cannot be known in any other way) would be disciplined and fortified by an orderly, and even practical, spirit and habit of life and the mind. Some instinctive sense of my need, abetted by a memory of a conversation with my grandmother Chambers, which I have written about earlier, drew me powerfully to the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers.”[1]

“Three hundred years after it wsa written, Fox’s Journal is still less a book than a voice for those to whom it speaks. It was a voice that spoke peculiarly, As Quakers say, ‘to my condition.’ It summoned me to a direct daily experience of God and told me that His revelation is continuous to those who seek to hear His voice in the silence of all distractions of this world. It summoned me to know the Inward Light of God within myself, as within all other men without exception. It enjoined on me a simplicity of the spirit whose first commandment is compassion, which is expressly commanded not to judge, and whose answer to the surging enmity of the word must be yea yea and nay nay ‘because more than this cometh of evil.’ In short, it summoned me to the most difficult of vocations – to be a Christian as in the first century….[2]

            “I was in fact, though not yet in name, a Quaker. An inward experience itself, beyond any power of the mind, had reached me. For what had happened to me, Robert  Barclay has given the expression that all Quakers know because it is final for all who have suffered it: ‘Of which I myself, in part, am a true witness; who not by strength of arguments or by a particular disquisition of each doctrine, and convincement of my understanding thereby, came to receive and bear witness to the Truth, but by being secretly reached by that life. For, when I came into the silent assemblies of God’s people, I felt a secret power among them, which touched my heart; and, as I gave way unto it, I found the evil weakening in me and the good raised up…’”[3]

[1] W. Chambers, “Witness,” Regnery Gateway (1952) 482.
[2] Ibid 483-484.
[3] Ibid 484

No comments: