From  Lisa Graustein, "The Quaker sweat lodge: a response." Friends Journal, April 1, 2006

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There are two questions here.

Your question reflecting on groups of people as "spiritually bankrupt" is curious. I wonder, what do you mean by the reflection spiritually bankrupt; especially in the context of the article you reference? At first glance it would seem you are suggesting if people in the SOF are spiritually fulfilled by engaging in ceremonies and rituals that are outside of SOF tradition and ceremony; then religious Friends, or more specifically, liberal Friends are spiritually bankrupt? It is certainly true that there are people in the religious society of friends (whether conservative or liberal or otherwise) who are not spiritually fulfilled by participation in the reflective process of liberal or conservative Quaker religious practice and seek and find fullfilment in the reflectious process of other groups. However, lamentation over spiritual migration by some people away from the reflective process of the SOF in search of spiritual fulfillment in the reflective nature manifested in other spiritual bodies has been going on up and down the whole of the history of Quakerism. 

 

Actually, this was not "my" question but I think it has a lot of merit!

Keith Saylor said:

There are two questions here.

Your question reflecting on groups of people as "spiritually bankrupt" is curious. I wonder, what do you mean by the reflection spiritually bankrupt; especially in the context of the article you reference? At first glance it would seem you are suggesting if people in the SOF are spiritually fulfilled by engaging in ceremonies and rituals that are outside of SOF tradition and ceremony; then religious Friends, or more specifically, liberal Friends are spiritually bankrupt? It is certainly true that there are people in the religious society of friends (whether conservative or liberal or otherwise) who are not spiritually fulfilled by participation in the reflective process of liberal or conservative Quaker religious practice and seek and find fullfilment in the reflectious process of other groups. However, lamentation over spiritual migration by some people away from the reflective process of the SOF in search of spiritual fulfillment in the reflective nature manifested in other spiritual bodies has been going on up and down the whole of the history of Quakerism. 

 

A group of high schoolers from a neighboring liberal meeting once came to visit our Conservative group's meeting for worship.   I was shocked to learn that they had never sat through a full-length meeting for worship in their own meeting.  That Conservative meeting had(s) plenty of problems of its own but its children had grown up attending the weekly meeting for worship in its entirety.  And they had a rather good idea of what the meeting's belief system was, even if they didn't ultimately accept it as their own.

Do you know whether it is or was the practice of that particular liberal meeting for worship to actively exclude high schoolers from their full-length meeting for worship? When you use the qualifying phrase full-length, does that mean that it is the practice of that liberal meeting for worship to regularly engage their high-schoolers in a truncated form of their meeting for worship?  And if so, does that mean there are other practices offered by that liberal meeting to fill out the worship time with other activities? I'm curious about your expressed shock. Do all conservative meetings for worship force high schoolers to sit through a full-length meeting for worship with no other alternative practices?

William F Rushby said:

A group of high schoolers from a neighboring liberal meeting once came to visit our Conservative group's meeting for worship.   I was shocked to learn that they had never sat through a full-length meeting for worship in their own meeting.  That Conservative meeting had(s) plenty of problems of its own but its children had grown up attending the weekly meeting for worship in its entirety.  And they had a rather good idea of what the meeting's belief system was, even if they didn't ultimately accept it as their own.

Keith Saylor said:

Do you know whether it is or was the practice of that particular liberal meeting for worship to actively exclude high schoolers from their full-length meeting for worship? When you use the qualifying phrase full-length, does that mean that it is the practice of that liberal meeting for worship to regularly engage their high-schoolers in a truncated form of their meeting for worship?  And if so, does that mean there are other practices offered by that liberal meeting to fill out the worship time with other activities? I'm curious about your expressed shock. Do all conservative meetings for worship force high schoolers to sit through a full-length meeting for worship with no other alternative practices?

William F Rushby said:

A group of high schoolers from a neighboring liberal meeting once came to visit our Conservative group's meeting for worship.   I was shocked to learn that they had never sat through a full-length meeting for worship in their own meeting.  That Conservative meeting had(s) plenty of problems of its own but its children had grown up attending the weekly meeting for worship in its entirety.  And they had a rather good idea of what the meeting's belief system was, even if they didn't ultimately accept it as their own.

Keith:  I have never attended said liberal meeting and know only what the young people reported to us when they came to our meeting.  They actually expressed surprise that they had managed to sit through a full-length meeting for worship!

I really couldn't tell you what other Conservative meetings expect of their young people.  In our meeting all of the children were expected to attend the full meeting for worship.

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