As Way Opens

I recently completed a New Testament class as part of my Masters in Divinity program at Earlham School of Religion (this is an on line class).  It opened my eyes to a lot of misconceptions that I have held for years about the New Testament including the following:

The books were written in the order they appear in the New Testament - scholars agree that I and II Thessalonians were the first books of the New Testament written by Paul.  The gospels were written many years after most of Paul’s letters.

The author of each book is identified - there is great uncertainty as to the authors of many of the books.  And even if the author is identified it might be someone writing under that name, which was very common in ancient times.

The books were written to instruct generations to come - most of the books were written for a specific community and specific issues of the times.

The gospels were eye witness accounts of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection - it is unlikely that the authors were alive at the time of Jesus as the gospels were written many years after Christ's life.  The stories about Jesus were given in an oral tradition so these writings are captured from these oral stories.

In the class we looked at different methods (source criticism, form-criticism, redaction criticism and literary criticism) to help us understand the writings.  In particular, as we studied the four gospels I was able to embrace the idea that a narrative of the story of Jesus is true even if the events did or did not happen.  Jesus taught us to think this way as he shared so many truths in parables.  We do not ask Jesus if a man actually traveled from Jericho to Jerusalem, for the story of the good Samaritan is unaffected by historical considerations.   While the gospels contain historical information, they are not historical documents and we shouldn’t demand this to see the truth in the writings. 

I hope all of you will regularly read the New Testament because God is speaking to us through these writings and stories.  I read the New Testament these last few months as I was walking through some of the darkest moments of my life.  Paul really spoke to me about the Christian walk through difficult circumstances in his writings during this time.  The gospel of Mark that focused on suffering spoke to me.  I found God alive and active in my life in these writings and I continue to see God’s revelation in fresh and new ways within these pages.


Considering the Quote: ‘And the end of words is to bring men to the knowledge of things beyond what words can utter.  So, learn of the Lord to make a right use of the Scriptures: which is by esteeming them in their right place, and prizing that above them which is above them.”  Isaac Penington


Announcements, Reports & Opportunities

Service Appreciation Dinner ~ A reminder to those who have signed up, that the dinner is this Sunday, May-22, 5:30-8:30.  Please note that we are still in need of volunteers to help serve and clean up for this event. Please contact us if you may have any youth interested in assisting. Volunteers will need to arrive at the Meeting by 4:30 that day.

Looking for flowers! We are looking for anyone who has garden flowers they could donate for use this Sunday for the graduation reception and for the Service appreciation dinner. If you have small potted flowers you could give before Sunday, please contact the office!

Everence’s 2016 Rebate for Mission award!
You can help Friends United Meeting receive one of two $16,200 grants by clicking on this link and casting your vote for FUM today. Voting ends on June 17. The two organizations with the greatest number of votes receives an award. Please help us be one of them!   You can only vote once—but you can pass this along to your Friends!  VOTE BY CLICKING HERE

All of the Boards of Western Yearly Meeting are meeting this Saturday, May 21 at 9:30 AM in Plainfield. For more information, visit  Please hold them in prayer. 

“Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”, or so they say!  Take a look at the new website for Western Yearly Meeting, and compare it to ours at First Friends Meeting!  It’s awesome!  Kudos to Andrew Heald for his great imitation of the original… Jeff Goens!  We love it Andrew!                                              

Introducing Rebecca - our new Office Administrator!  We are thrilled to have Rebecca joining our staff, and we invite you to stop by and meet her soon.  Rebecca has moved to Indianapolis from her home in Dayton, OH.  She has recently been working for Wright-Patt Credit Union there, and now joins her fiancé Mike Lopez, an aeronautical engineer, in Indy.  Rebecca has spent the last two weeks training with us, and is now working Monday through Thursday from 10:00 to 3:00.  We’re glad she’s here!  Welcome Rebecca!

Make Plans for Memorial Day Weekend! Join us this Sunday, May 29th for Worship in the Big Oval! Memorial Day Sunday’s are really special at First Friends Meeting – we gather in Fellowship Hall, and enjoy our own ‘Indy 500’ experience in the Spirit!  Bring your family and friends, and join us at 10:15. 

Church Picnic! We are hosting a picnic on Sunday June 5th after Meeting for Worship. Fried chicken, hot dogs & veggie dogs, rolls, ice cream, and drinks are all provided! We ask that you bring something based on your last name: A-M: desserts ; N-Z: sides & salads. We will have kickball afterward, weather permitting. We hope to see you there!  

The Quaker Religious Education Collaboration (QREC) invites you to Instilling Quaker Identity through Religious Education, a weekend gathering that includes a series of workshops, plenaries, interest circles, displays, fellowship, worship, and celebration. It is being held June 10-12 at the Quaker Hill Conference Center in Richmond. You can register online at Questions? Contact Please see schedule attached to this email.

Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation (IFCL) will be showing a film in the parlor on Friday, June 10th from 7:00-8:30 PM.  Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and The NRA tells the stories of how guns, and the billions made off of them, affect the lives of everyday Americans. It features personal stories from people across the country who have been affected by gun violence, including survivors and victims' families. Anyone is invited to attend this screening! 

The Overman Family Scholarship, in memory of Jess and Mark Overman, is available again this year. High school seniors through graduate students are welcome to apply.  Undergraduate students will be given first consideration. The scholarship fund is designated to support the members and attenders of Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. Scholarship funds may be applied to any school related expense, i.e. books, supplies, tuition, housing, computer, etc. The deadline for application is June 19, 2016. For an application please contact the office at 255-2485 or

First Friends is exploring the possibility of keeping a beehive on our property. Bees are actually very important to the environment and to the health of plants and even humans! Honey bees are dying at alarming rates around the world. Did you know that honey bees pollinate a third of the human diet including nuts, fruits and vegetables?

David, local beekeeper, is willing to donate a hive and honey bees, as well as provide training for anyone interested in learning to care for the bees. See the bulletin board in the meeting for more Friendly Facts about Bees, and please take a notecard on the table in the hallway for more information on how you can help support bees! 

“Friends of Nature Kids” ~ A Tree’s Life~ Trees can hold many stories about the place where they are growing because they are often the oldest living thing there. Find a tree you like and make up a life story for it. Explain why it only has leaves on some branches or why the trunk has so many animal holes in it. What kind of a life has the tree led? Has it been a happy life? What have some of the high points been?  

 From 52 Nature Activities by Lynn Gordon, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.