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Viewpoint from Les Cockrill

Viewpoint from Les Cockrill
A member of Great Yarmouth Quakers
viewpoints cross logo jpeg“Quakers do not learn their faith from tradition. Insight and testimony must emerge from experience: it cannot be learned by rote. Our faith is crucial to shaping what we do and how we do it.” [Christine Davis “Minding the Future” May 2008]
That approach to faith has led to the theme for Quaker Week [4 – 12 October] being “decide for yourself”. The Quaker approach to religion is defined as much by what it rejects as by what it affirms. Consequently Quakers lovingly and comfortably include a wide range of belief and disbelief. In the peace and quiet in Meeting for Worship we meet together to seek God. We work out for ourselves as individuals and as groups our own awareness of and responses to the Spirit. No one tells anyone else what to believe.
That every human being has the potential to be reached by God and that there is that of God in every human being is central to the way we live, the way we respond to others, care for and value all creation and worship God.
My own experience within Quakers has been one of continuous dialogue within myself and with others, coupled with gradual development of the way I feel, see and explain to others my awareness of the spiritual side of life. I am convinced, but cannot prove, that people are more than just physical beings; that living is more than a sequence of chemical and electro-magnetic reactions. There is a source of love, altruism and community that pervades all that is human and probably all that lives. There is a spiritual aspect, that of God, in us all and available to us all when we are prepared to still our frantic busyness and suppress our selfish wants. It is a spirit that is felt by many who profess no religion, it is not found in religiosity but in simple sincere seeking.    
Dove rightAs a young man my religion was very Christocentric and was probably as limiting as my experience of life was narrow. Now I find that the more I know and understand about other people’s beliefs the more obvious, in most cases, is our common ground and the more inconsequential are our differences. I am content, now, to humbly seek, with many others, to find, listen to and be influenced by the Universal Spirit.