February 25, 2005

Awaiting clearness...

I have much to say about our Quaker identity as it relates to the secular world--something I hint at in a comment I made elsewhere. Because I am continuing to learn the balance between speaking faithfully and speaking because I think I have good ideas, I am holding my thoughts awhile, while also tapping those who are supporting me in this blog for further guidance.



Larry said...

I've taken part in Quaker meetings in five southern states. In my experience birthright Quakers are quite rare. Most of the Quakers I know are refugees (or graduates) from main line denominations.

By and large we have all learned by reading and doing.

Quakerism 101 is pretty big in our meetings; that's where we presumably may learn the elements of the faith.

Service on committees also plays a very large part.

But the most creative experiences of Quakerism for Ellie (my wife) and me have been in the small groups to which we belonged, usually meeting monthly.

Informal sharing offers a lot of insight, not only about Quakerism but about one another.

The meetings are changing rapidly. Some meetings are fairly dominated by young people with little Quaker background. Often their primary value and interest has been in peace. Or PC. On occasions these young folk have taken charge of yearly meeting gatherings, prompting some old heads to wonder if we are still Quakers.

Call that growing pains. The movement has changed immensely throughout its life and is still changing at a rapid rate.

In the 19th century we were so exclusive that most of us with ancestors here at that time can tell about family members being dismissed for marrying "out of unity".

Now the pendulum has swung to the point where there are no qualifications to speak of.

God is dealing with us, and we can only attempt to follow the Light within throughout all the vicissitude of life.

Well thank you, Liz; you got me started.

Liz Opp said...

In your comment, you touch on several items I explore in another, more recent post.

In addition to the years I spent worshipping in Milwaukee and in the Twin Cities, I've been enjoying the 2+ years of worship among fFriends who, like me, are interested in Conservative Friends. And actually, my committee service has best helped me learn about Quakerism when I've served as the committee's clerk, mostly because of the reading I've done in preparation for a meeting, or because of a well placed phone call to someone who could help me understand how to approach a difficult committee situation.

I agree that (liberal) Friends are going through a series of growing pains, and I'm grateful for the variety of perspectives that you and others are so openly sharing.