In another posting I very awkwardly responded with a question that really had nothing to do with the Friend’s statement, but was an immediate and off topic response to an issue that I have pondered for some time, triggered, I think, but something the Friends had said. So let me restate it here, hopefully more appropriately and after having gathered my thoughts a little more. I would really like to learn if other Friends have struggled with this as well.

How do topical issues and concerns arise in different Friends Meetings and how - or why - are these brought forward for group discernment? Are concerns brought before the Meeting for the purpose of drafting a Minute - and is this good Quaker process? How do we know when a concern is raised in this way whether it is something God wants us to labour with or whether it is more a reflection of our collective social and political leanings - our “groupthink”? In other words, are these concerns clearly and deeply rooted in long standing Quaker testimonies and deliberations or do they seem more like a response to recent headlines?

For example, here in Canada our tiny worship group, part of a geographically scattered Monthly Meeting, has been asked to “consider” Minutes on native issues, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the XL Pipeline, and so forth. All good causes, to be sure. But have other Friends been in this very uncomfortable position where the first thought that comes into our head is, “Well sure. Why not? Won’t cost me a thing”? Is this what our collective discernment process is supposed to be - easy? When Friends in earlier generations took collective stands - on refusing “hat honour”, or releasing slaves, or not participating in wars - they faced very real sacrifices. What sacrifice am I being asked to make on these questions?

What is the difference between a position and a Witness?

And how many of the Minutes we have found unity on sound like arguments in a term paper? (Come on, Friends, I know you’ve seen these!) Perhaps this is particular to Liberal Quaker Meetings, but if we aren’t willing to say clearly that what we have found unity on is what we believe God wants of us, why are we even saying anything at all? I hope Friends can share some thoughts on questions like these.

Thy Friend in Christ, Randy O.

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Randy - Can you re-post this in a way that we can read the ends of the lines? I'd like to see what you wrote but can't read it.

Barb

Sorry, Barbara.  I'm still figuring out how to use this.  How is this?

 

In another posting I very awkwardly responded with a question that really had nothing to do with the Friend’s statement, but was an immediate and off topic response to an issue that I have pondered for some time, triggered, I think, by something the Friends had said. So let me restate it here, hopefully more appropriately and after having gathered my thoughts a little more. I would really like to learn if other Friends have struggled with this as well.

How do topical issues and concerns arise in different Friends Meetings and how - or why - are these brought forward for group discernment? Are concerns brought before the Meeting for the purpose of drafting a Minute - and is this good Quaker process? How do we know when a concern is raised in this way whether it is something God wants us to labour with or whether it is more a reflection of our collective social and political leanings - our "groupthink"? In other words, are these concerns clearly and deeply rooted in long standing Quaker testimonies and deliberations or do they seem more like a response to recent headlines?

For example, here in Canada our tiny worship group, part of a geographically scattered Monthly Meeting, has been asked to "consider" Minutes on native issues, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the XL Pipeline, and so forth. All good causes, to be sure. But have other Friends been in this very uncomfortable position where the first thought that comes into our head is, "Well sure. Why not? Won’t cost me a thing"? Is this what our collective discernment process is supposed to be - easy? When Friends in earlier generations took collective stands - on refusing "hat honour", or releasing slaves, or not participating in wars - they faced very real sacrifices. What sacrifice am I being asked to make on these questions?

What is the difference between a position and a Witness?

And how many of the Minutes we have found unity on sound like arguments in a term paper? (Come on, Friends, I know you’ve seen these!) Perhaps this is particular to Liberal Quaker Meetings, but if we aren’t willing to say clearly that what we have found unity on is what we believe God wants of us, why are we even saying anything at all?

I hope Friends can share some thoughts on questions like these.

Thy Friend in Christ,

Randy O.

In football there's a term called "Piling On".  It refers to tackling someone who's already down and doesn't need to be tackled anymore.  We probably have to be careful to avoid this with our minutes.  In other words are we just getting on the bandwagon or is the Spirit prompting us to start a wagon rolling - which takes the most energy and hard work.

In the third paragraph ("For example ...") Randy speaks of the ease of approving Minutes, "won't cost me a thing." One of the early tests of a leading was taking up the cross, accepting the pain of the action. Now we have minutes, a record of the Meeting such as a secretary might take, and we have a Minute (the capital "M" is to acknowledge God's presence in the process). The former are not trivial and may authorize an action by the Meeting (budget comes to mind: spending money), but neither are they particularly weighty. The latter should represent a discernment of God's will and should usually call upon us, and maybe others, to do something. I find "Minutes of appreciation" particularly annoying. To express appreciation in the minutes is one thing (as in "Friends expressed appreciation") but a Minute of appreciation devalues all Minutes.

Peace, A Quaker Curmudgeon

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