Recovering Sacred Presence in a Disenchanted World

by Mary Conroy Coelho

Other authorsChel Avery (Editor), Mary Hegelsen Gabel (Designer)
Book, 2015



Call number

CP 433


Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publications, 2015.

User reviews

LibraryThing member QuakerReviews
This pamphlet is a profound explanation of a foundation for Quaker faith and practice based on modern science. The new science that she cites, including quantum physics, indeterminacy theory, cosmology, evolutionary biology, and ecology, invites us to embrace and celebrate a profoundly changed
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worldview, one no longer based on the materialist, rationalist, and reductionist implications of older science that imply a "disenchanted world." She explains an interpretation of the newer science that affirms a harmony between religion and science, and implies the reality of the sacred presence inherent in the structure of the universe and the validity of inward experience of the numinous. It supports Friends' experience of the Inward Light, guidance and leadings from the Inward Teacher, unity in the Truth, and the call to Friends' testimonies of integrity, peace, love, justice, community.
She finds various implications, including for healing (as healing and experience of the numinous seem to contribute to each other), and of course for ecological witness, as the understanding of the sacred within all the universe and its hidden unity negate the commodification of the natural world and thus our assault upon it. And she sees in the new worldview a call for Quaker renewal and participation in the creative evolutionary potential of the universe.
Of course, many Friends and others may not need the support of the new science to understand and recognize the reality and nature of spiritual reality. Nevertheless, her explanation points to implications that may be fresh, important, and revitalizing for us. And of course these implications of the new science can be profoundly important for the many who have found real barriers to spiritual experience and awareness in the rationalistic "disenchantment" of the world.
I found this pamphlet fascinating, carefully thought out and packed densely with important points, perhaps too densely for such a small space. By the way, it seems to me that this pamphlet (among numerous others) is the very kind of thing that Kenneth Boulding called for in 1964 as part of the evolution of the Religious Society of Friends (see PHP #136).
It may be a comment on the sorry state of our predominant culture of science and religion that I feel called upon to say that this does not at all seem to be some crackpot view of science. Those who wish to pursue this further can find the sources cited in her bibliography and her 2012 book on the subject.
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LibraryThing member kaulsu
"The nonvisable interiority of matter." I think my brain was left at that sub-heading. For those readers more scientifically oriented, and perhaps less drawn to the numinous presence of the Divine, this is probably the PHP for them. I found it interesting to read, but must admit I retained little
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of it.
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Local notes

Pendle Hill Pamphlet 433

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Call number

CP 433


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