About A Long Restlessness

This blog has grown out of my two earlier blogs, The Mercy Blog, started in 2005, and Silent Assemblies, started in 2013.

For a long time I ran the two blogs in parallel, intending to post mainly on Christian contemplative prayer on The Mercy Blog, and on Quaker matters on Silent Assemblies. But things are not always as neat as one intends – for obvious reasons, the two subjects bled one into another, and I found myself publishing most posts on both blogs. I shall from now on continue Silent Assemblies as my main, largely Quaker, blog.

I have begun a small collection of essays on prayer here: see “Essays” in the menu across the top of the page. These are drawn from various writings of mine, blog posts, articles, and teaching materials, published, or in some cases not published, over the years. I haven’t chosen to link to each of the places where they first appeared, as I have edited them to make them more useful to the general reader, and have left out many bits and pieces that depend upon their original context, and that would make no sense here. Eventually, these may make The Mercy Blog no more than a historical curiosity – I shall leave it up, though, for anyone interested to read, even though I shall not actively continue to post there.

I hope that this new blog will mostly develop the idea of our faith as a pilgrimage, rather than a static destination; guided by the Holy Spirit certainly, but more often than not undertaken in a kind of spiritual low cloud…

All our steps are ordered by the Lordhow then can we understand our own ways?

(Proverbs 20.24 NRSV)

Faith expressly signifies the deep, strong, blessed restlessness that drives the believer so that he cannot settle down at rest in this world, and therefore the person who has settled down completely at rest has also ceased to be a believer, because a believer cannot sit still as one sits with a pilgrim’s staff in one’s hand – a believer travels forward.

Søren Kierkegaard

Mike Farley, September 2018