The Essence of Spiritual Craftsmanship


An artist or a scientist has an inner experience and their outer works. God has two aspects: an inner personal experienced aspect which Quakers refer to as the Inner Light and an outer objective and physical aspect which most people take for granted as the real world. These are two sides of the one coin, two aspects of the one God.

We are familiar with worshiping the inner God in our silent Meetings for Worship and in personal meditation. Worshiping the outer God is a less familiar idea. I see investigative science, application of technology in all its forms and the business of living in the real world as other forms of worship.

Spiritual craftsmanship is about four relationships:

  • My relationship with God in worship - answering that of God himself directly,
  • My relationship with myself - answering that of God in me,
  • My relationship with other people - answering that of God in others,
  • My relationships with the world - where I work through others answering that of God in the world.

In wood carving, knowledge of wood, skill in designing and using tools is practiced to create a say a wood sculpture. In computer programming, understanding of information and computers and skill in design and using compilers is practiced to create a useful game or accounting system. Craftsmanship is an experience, a spiritual exercise not just a mechanical action. A craft is a skill and knowledge learned, experienced and perfected through exercise in which its practice changes the world and hopefully improves it. Craftsmanship, skill and knowledge can be used to destroy as well as to create. People are dangerous as well as caring.

In spiritual craftsmanship knowledge of spiritual experience and behaviour and skill in communication and problem solving are practiced to create and maintain the personal and group relationships that are the essence of our society. A Master Quaker is a Quaker who has, through learning and practice, mastered the craft of human spiritual relationships.

Quakerism is about comfort and discomfort. A local meeting should be like a (good) family: a place of security, caring and support but also a place of learning, challenge, discipline and help. It should be a place where spiritual and physical knowledge come together, where spiritual and human skills are learned and experimented with in a supportive and forgiving environment, a place from which one can set out to deal with a harsh and sometimes evil world.


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Up to Summaries of the essay from different points of view.
Up to Spiritual Craftsmanship in the main essay
up tp Spiritual Craftsmanship - Short Version in the short version of the essay
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