Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
The problem with Quaker gossip is that conflicts within meeting are handled like a gossip session. The subject is not in the room. The committee may spend hours on the issue. Nothing is shared with the individual(s). One wonders what was accomplished. What is particularly difficult is that many of those involved, the subject and the members of the gossiping group have know each other for many years. How can this way of relating to one another be good for Quakers? How can this help each of us become more loving and real with each other?
Yes, it sounds like we've observed some of the same ways of unrelating in Meetings. I've heard of other instances since I wrote this. Not being directly involved with these, all I know is that they've been pretty hurtful to the people involved.
I gather this sort of thing is considered bad practice in most all religious traditions -- but where silence is so prized, it can be very hard to know what people think.
I think that the silence would be limited to worship. In the life of a Quaker meeting, it is fair to say there are many situations when discussion, not silence, can express love, support and reason through dilemmas.
We gather to seek the light, and we gather to experience, as well as see the light of God in each other.
Am I close to understanding what the Quaker worship life is about?
Ideally we aren't silent merely to make our worship "Quaker."
To 'worship' means to respect, to hold worthy of respect. As human beings, our job is to know God in that light, in that sense.
Early Friends called what they were doing 'worship' because they felt it brought them face-to-face with God. Modern Friends tend to believe silence is a good thing in itself (as it often is!)
But like darkness, people can hide in it. Our purpose in doing that is generally to avoid a quarrel.
We know of many ways a quarrel can be fruitless and pointlessly upsetting. But risking it may sometimes be necessary.