Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
You ask what to do when one wants to be a Friend, but there is no compatible meeting nearby. To answer this question meaningfully would IMHO require more information about your circumstances.
Are you a Christian in an area where Christian Friends are hard to find? Are you yearning for a closer relationship with God in a Quaker environment where social activism is the order of the day? Or perhaps you feel compatible with the prevailing Quaker ethos in your area, but don't experience a sense of community in the local meeting. Or possibly the meeting is dominated by a clique that excludes those in the meeting who are not part of it. There could several reasons why one would be committed to the Quaker tradition, but be unable to find a compatible Quaker fellowship in the area.
To suggest options for you, one would need to know more about what you are hoping for in a Quaker fellowship and not finding. It would also help to know what you have tried as a way to solve the problem.
One thing I am sure of is that the Bible teaches the importance of being part of a spiritually alive and supportive fellowship. If you don't have such a fellowship to be part of, you are jeopardizing your spiritual well-being. Don't settle for life as a solitary Christian! That is not what God wants for you!
William Rushby forgot one other reason for being unable to 'find' a compatible Quaker Meeting: location. My summer home is on Vinalhaven I., Maine, 75 minutes by ferry from the Maine-land at Rockland. Vinalhaven, being 1,200 people full time has no Quaker Meeting and the closest one is Mid-Coast MM in Damariscotta 40 minutes south of Rockland. BUT, there is the Union Church and one day/week this spiritual home offers silent worship to all interested. I found the only other Quaker on the island and he, at 90 yers old, fulfills my need for community, not in silence but in conversation. The beauty of Quaker to Quaker community is that we 'get' each other without explaining our life stories. Perhaps Jason could find that one other like-spirited Friend and engage in conversation. No man, or woman, is an island even when on one. Peace!
As I was only twelve years old when my family engaged in the founding of a local meeting, I was neither looked to for leadership nor made to feel excluded for not formalizing a member status.
Clearly the practices, and predilections of Quaker character were both charming and radical for someone brought up in a traditional, though liberal, independent Church of Christ setting.
My brother stepped into leadership early on, as a late teenager facing Vietnam era conscription. He also guided me towards political awareness in what I thought would be a parallel interest in what's known in libertarian circles as the NAP or Non-Aggression Principle. Sadly, politics was never universal enough to resonate that principle in meetings I interfaced with, at least to the degree that Romans 13 seemed to have a hold on restraining radical Quakerism from challenging the broader question of governmental abuses. Pacifism and prison reform were plenty on the plates of most Friends.
Thus, most of my life has been led by a adamant Quaker spirit and posture, but one with only limited reliance upon the community. And as my strongest reflection of the Quaker ideal is that of introspection, who needs them~? The path inward is the strongest component, in my opinion. And to see both local and regional meetings support the tiniest outcroppings, no one should feel troubled or reticent to go it alone when that is the circumstance at hand. The broad community is always there, usually welcoming, and as such, a strength to the sojourner's spirit and mind in solace.
Obviously, as William suggests scripture recommends community, there is great benefit in the fellowship and all other aspects of sharing and network. But I think George Fox demonstrated from the start, the importance of a man or woman standing on their own as they develop both inward and outward.
Mark Gailey said:
But I think George Fox demonstrated from the start, the importance of a man or woman standing on their own as they develop both inward and outward.
As did Jesus model from his own practice. It is said that the very earliest Quakers (George Fox included) modeled their worship style after none other than Jesus who retreated into silent meditation and prayer to commune with the divine.
It is our meeting's practice to provide a key to our meetinghouse to anyone who starts worshipping with us so that they have ready access any time to a quiet place for worship in the manner of Jesus and other great spiritual mystics from all spiritual traditions. We are an egalitarian community of Quakers with no hierarchy or named leadership whatsoever. Anyone who comes off the street to worship with us is immediately considered to be one of us, especially since we don't emphasize or require recorded (formal) membership. We are blessed with four serene acres of woods with our meetinghouse sitting right in the middle of these woods; then these four acres of meetinghouse grounds are surrounded with another one hundred tranquil acres of a Wildlife Preserve. The meetinghouse is used all week long by Friends to commune with the divine; sometimes more than one Friend happens to show up at the same time, and they join together in worship.