To Be Disentangled From Connections
In Interest With Known Oppressors
“Now this mind being in us, which was in Christ Jesus, it removes from our hearts the desire of Superiority, worldly honors or greatness. A deep attention is felt to the Divine Counselor, and an ardent engagement to promote, as far as we may be enabled, the happiness of [humankind] universally.”
In John Woolman's Journal, long considered a classic of English literature, John Woolman describes one of his dreams:
“I was then carried into the mines, where poor oppressed people were digging rich treasures for those called Christians, and heard them blaspheme the name of Christ, at which I was grieved, for his name to me was precious. Then I was informed that these heathens were told that those who oppressed them were the followers of Christ, and they said amongst themselves, ‘If Christ directed them to use us in this sort, then Christ is a cruel tyrant.'”
“The weight of this degeneracy hath lain so heavy upon me, the depth of this revolt been so evident, and desires of my heart been so ardent for a reformation, so ardent that we might come to that right thing where, living on a little, we might inhabit that holy mountain on which [all people] neither hurt nor destroy! And may not only stand clear from oppressing our fellow creatures, but may be so disentangled from connections in interest with known oppressors.'”
John Woolman spent his adult life seeking to avoid willing, ignorant, or even 'fatalistic' participation in systems which link to perpetuating under-representation or oppression. Unlike our fears, it did not reduce him to involuntary poverty. But, yes, he did not much look like the other citizens of the day when it came to dress or even cultural customs. Religious leaders often looked at him and rejected him out-of-hand because of the way he looked even when his impeccable credentials and the integrity of his life were presented to them.
Still his Christlike integrity in living a crucified life lay a foundation for major changes in the areas of commerce with integrity (our basic non-haggling system of sales in stores), ending slavery, and publicly addressing societal injustices at home and in relations to people abroad.
ARE WE WILLING TO MAKE THE SACRIFICES REQUIRED TO INHABIT THAT HOLY MOUNTAIN ON WHICH ALL PERSONS NEITHER HURT NOR ARE DESTROYED ON ACCOUNT OF OUR ACTIONS, BUSINESS DEALINGS, AND MANNER OF LIFE?
I owe the following site for a reminder of these convictions of John Woolman:
Neuronal dendrites and axons by TheJCB @ Flickr.com