from A Few Songs Occasioned by Jon Watts

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interview with max carter 11/30/05


"Early Friends believed that they were restoring original Christianity and, in their own experience, there was no need for programming in hymns and rites and rituals and liturgies because they had the very presence of the living God and it had come to them apocalyptically in their own inner selves.

Christ was present. So you don’t need to sing hymns to Christ; Christ was there.

You didn’t have to be baptized into this life. Christ was baptizing you inwardly.

You didn’t have to take communion in remembrance of Jesus, he was there. You could commune directly.

...people coming together in expectant waiting upon the very reality of the presence of Christ and God in their midst and communing with that Spirit. And if that Spirit then leads you to preach, to prophesize, to sing, that’s proper.

They sang songs or hymns out of their own spiritual leading but not out of hymn books, not out of liturgies, not out of masses, not out of rites and rituals.

Instead of depending on other peoples’ experience second-hand, have your experience. And the best way to do that is in the silence and waiting. And if then the Spirit moves you to sing, to burst forth with a psalm or music that the spirit gave you, then that was fine.

They just rejected all forms that had become idols - or impediments, actually - to the real substance that those forms sought to manifest.

In personal life, it was a rejection of the superfluous. It was a rejection of classism.

And in the religious life, with the Quaker emphasis on the direct and immediate experience of God, why would you sing other peoples’ words about their religious experience? You should have that experience yourself."


from A Few Songs Occasioned, released April 25, 2006
bass guitar played by jon watts


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Jon Watts

Producer, poet, pianist and guitarist living in Germantown, PA. Inspired by forests, mountains, deep silences, and love.

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