A Seekers' Group of young people in Orange Grove Monthly Meeting met in Harvey House's house in 1970. One could not imagine a better place in which to be a seeker. Harvey and his wife Gerry were both visionaries- she the mystic, he the one who would remold society.
Most who knew Harvey in Pacific Yearly Meeting remember his dancing and playing the recorder (badly, they say, but then he took it up in his 70s). I remember him as my mentor in Quakerism - I am still learning from him, by trying to follow his example, by re-playing from memory conversations I had with him that I only now understand in depth.
Harvey entrusted me with one of the few copies of his book, My New Bible. In it, he proposes a new order of society based on cooperative families-by-choice. When he wrote it, in the 1960s and 70s, he was most concerned about the warlike assumptions on which our culture is based, and he wanted to show us that there was another way. What we are now calling the "emerging testimony of unity with Nature" was implicit in what Harvey wrote - the following are some passages that more explictly say things that we are still struggling to put into words.
As one living soul to others, I see no short cuts.
I see no possibility of mobilizing our human powers for the ministries of love except as we embrace at the same time all the knowledge, even all the wisdom possible.
To be effective agents in the regeneration of people and the saving of our earth, we must drink of the fountains of knowledge even while we are engaged in the processes of brotherhood. We must draw upward from the streams of wisdom even while going forth into the conquests of the spirit.
Further, it is written in our very natures that those who would serve must be joyous while serving.
It is a part of my joy to seek understanding of my origin, and through this an understanding of my present self.
For one thing, some feeling for the grandeur of the starry universe, and the beauty of the process of organic evolution helped rid me of the ancient sense of sin. By understanding rather than condemning my nature, I can make better use of my powers, get along better with my fellow creatures, and contribute more to the life of this new age.
-Harvey House, "The place of this story in our fellowship", My New Bible, ca. 1977, pg. 14.
From the stars we were born
I was created as pure as the morning dew upon a spider's web,
and carry this purity forever within me.
We are as clean as flame
From the stars were we born, in the oceans cradled;
Blood brothers to all of life, endowed with precious gifts and awesome
I affirm that I was born in goodness.
For the wrongs I have committed I am ready to make amends:
To forgive others theirs and erase the thought of their ills toward me.
I am at this moment a participant in building the world,
a creator of a new order of life.
Endowed as I am with the heritage of our planer and of all time, it is fitting that I should recognize my own dignity and power.
This I choose: to life in peace and creativity with others,
to know them well, and to love them as well as myself.
I invite everyone else to share my purposes to the degree that each is moved.
This is my way of life here.
I have found it abundantly rewarding, and ask no better
life in this or any other world, now or hereafter.
An inseparable part of this abundant life is that I want it for everyone else also.
-Harvey House, "From the stars were we born", My New Bible, ca. 1977, pg. 4.
This is the penalty we pay for the assignment of
authority to holy books, taking them for the unchanging words of God, or
of the prophets of God, immutable and final: that living words, intended
to inspire and point the way for people of one generation, become venerated
for the words themselves rather than for the life that was within them.
This false veneration locks us into a prison of our own making.
We would open the door of this prison by drawing directly upon the power which has revealed itself to the prophetic souls, the messengers and the apostles.
This is the way we would express our appreciation for all that these have given us: to drink of the same fountain as assuaged their thirst; to build upon the foundations which they laid.
I dare listen within the sanctuary of my own heart for the direct promptings of that power which speaks within me; In concert with this daring and this listening I will write and speak words to my own generation which express things which must be said now.
To be sure, I will take to heart words spoken through the mouths of ancient prophets which speak also to my need, but I will also illumine them with the light of my own flame.
-Harvey House, "The penalty for dependence upon external authority", My New Bible, ca. 1977, pg. 33.
... But perhaps the most sustaining thing of all is belief. I really believe that we can stop this satanic drift toward annihilating war. I really believe we can heal the wounds in our beautiful earth and preserve it -- with a steady-state population -- for the children of a thousand generations. And I really believe we, as human beings, can wipe out poverty of body, mind and soul, open the prisons, create redemptive community spirit throughout the land.
In brief, I believe that with the help of our inwardly
guiding powers we can bring about joyfully the realm of heaven, first among
ourselves and our neighbors and through these all the peoples of the earth.
This faith illumines every moment of my life, including those periods in
the depths as well as those exalted times when I ride the crests.
-Harvey House, "On aging", My New Bible, pg. 114. [published in Friends Bulletin (?), Nov., 1975, pg. 40]
... Let up celebrate this new life with thanksgiving, enter into its bounty with joy and bring it to pass with praise.
Praise for one another, and love for the creator of life.
When the rose dawn greets the morning star I will celebrate the new day.
When the rich orange glow of the evening sun lights up our mountains I will rejoice in the coming of the night.
I will celebrate the stars with dancing, Orion and the Pleiades with singing.
As I light the evening fire I will rejoice in the warmth which gives back the rays of the sun which in times past have fallen upon my little kingdom.
I rejoice that it is abundantly possible for every family in the world to be stewards of such a kingdom, each one enriching and transforming itself to new patterns to meet new needs as years and generations draw life form it and return life to it.
Celebrate this life with the dance, illuminate it with love, crown it with music.
-Harvey House, "Praise", strophe III, My New Bible, ca. 1977.
Return to home page