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8.31.2012

#24 Nuances



Everyone had these little Charlotte stories.  These two display a spiritual sensitivity and flexibility that paint the picture of her temperament and theology.

First: Seeing what they really need.

Jesse Almquist loved Charlotte Macy.  Jesse's family had moved back to Silverton when her husband Paul had a stroke. It was his home town and Calvary Lutheran was his childhood church. But They visited around a bit and Jesse was taken with the ways of Friends, and with Charlotte and Dot. Paul loved to sing and sometimes lead music at the Lutheran Church. Charlotte asked him to bring a song one Sunday at SFC and it was well received. In those days any leadership position, including music, required membership. Charlotte perceived that Paul liked the Friends Church, but that the theological shift was hard for his Lutheran heart. She created the idea of an affiliate membership to share him with the Lutherans - she told him their was no need for him to reject the Lutherans in order to render acceptable service among Friends. He liked it. Jesse liked it better, and they became life-long members. Their son Paul Mark is a Friends Pastor today.


Second: Know Thy Place

Her brother Mahlon told me of coming out from the Midwest to preach a week's revival for his sister in the mid-sixties. Revivals were big.  They made a series of calls on local families to discuss spiritual matters.  He reported that four out of five families made a spiritual commitment in those meetings.  At one home, Charlotte asked if she could pray for a gentleman, and the man agreed, but she sensed that the man was uncertain, said, “If you are doing this just to please us, we won’t go ahead, it’s ok to just think about it.”  Then the man, “melted” and was fully agreed to a prayer for his salvation.  Mahlon reported this as the Macy wisdom on evangelism; Ask boldly, but be willing to step back rather than to step on a person’s freedom, or step into the shoes of The Spirit, If you do this, then the Spirit of God will flow freely, and much progress will be made for the kingdom. You are not God, you cannot choose the time of a person’s spiritual surrender any more than you can choose the time of their birth or death; but you can be bold in laying out the truth, and bold in speaking to the condition of the person to whom you are present.

Some of my readers may not be able to hear the Quakerism in that. But it is there. It is a listening spirituality. Listening to souls and listening to God. Some may not be able to be reconciled to the notion of spiritual surrender, or even of boldly asking - But I could quote you Fox and Fell. Some Friends who have sat under Mahlon's preaching may be surprised to hear that in his old age he remembered it so gently. But that is how he told it to me.

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Comments:
Not stepping into the shoes of Spirit... yeah. I grok that.

Thanks for the story.

--Cat C.B.
 
Absolutely, that's Friends' understanding. It's God that's in charge, and we mess with that at our own risk.

Margaret

 
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