I don't like it at all and yet I find myself using it.  It just pops out.  Anything I am tempted to describe as quakerly is about testimony, witness and practice, none of which are exclusively Quaker, and all of which are much more than following Quaker 'rules'. So to say something important is quakerly is to diminish it.  And to say something trivial is quakerly is to diminish quakerism. (oops! I dislike the word quakerism too, but that's hard to avoid too)  I referred to a quakerly perspective on the cross, last sunday, and was admonished because the admonisher disagrees with my comment, so what I said wasn't quakerly to him, and I wasn't being quakerly in saying it either!  But how, oh how, to avoid it?  

Views: 259

Replies to This Discussion

I don't even like the word Christian! Outside of the Society of Friends no one is going to know what Quaker "means". The only time I use it is when I'm asked what church I go to.
In general, how about using the word "loving" in its place? There might be others as well, but that should cover quite a bit!

When it comes to specific perspectives on theological matters (such as in your example), perhaps it would help to think about what we value in that perspective. WHY do we think its "Quakerly?" Does it include the outcast? Encourage forgiveness or healing? Illuminate the darkness in our hearts? Of course, another Friend may still disagree with you, but at least you will be clearer on what the disagreement is about!
I like the historical resonances of the word. While today's RSoF is not George Fox's, the word "Quaker" evokes a connection, however tenuous, to that first generation and their energetic witness. I need some stories in my life, stories as repositories of powerful metaphors-- and this word recalls stories of Friends whose lives I want to remember. But using the word doesn't diminish other stories, other words, or the spiritual experiences they imperfectly articulate.

And I've felt it too-- "quaking" inwardly when the spirit moves. I use the word to honor my experience, and that of Friends long past.
Thanks James. Shorthand names ARE a worry. I am happy to call myself Christian, when I have a sense that others around at the time have a similar meaning to the shorthand. I am a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, and if questioned, say I've learned (and still learning) form Jesus' teaching and example of nonviolence. I readily say I'm a Quaker, knowing many people don't know what it means, and then I enjoy some discussion if they're willing!
I'm working on it David, thank you. I'm thinking that within Quaker community, it's a good discipline to use a real word instead: "loving" does cover a lot. One might use "simple", "peaceable", "truthful", "patient". In the example, I was saying that there is a distinctive Quaker theology, and thus some different perspectives to pay attention to. Some wd disagree that there is any common Q theology.
Thank you James. I love the word Quaker. It is real for me too - quaking. Though I quake less these days. When feeling inward movement, I simply give in and do what it requires. Perhaps the quaking is about unwillingness to surrender. I feel much joy to have this trust.
But I would not call it 'quakerly' to be like this. I would call it faithful, maybe, or obedient. And such words remind one that it is not just us-Qs that have these experiences.

As a person who strives to define Quaker ideals I have experienced both pain and pride at its usage.  I like the word because it evokes the simple testimony of early Friends.  Unfortunately, the people using the term define it in their own world of reference which can be quite small.   It amazes me how "quakerly" is used distructively and life denying as it can be toward persons with different sexual preferences or gender identities.  My belief tells me that "quakerly" is life and love affirming which can, like any adjective, be used poorly.





Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.

You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Keith Saylor posted a blog post

All Shadows, Types, and Figures

Let him to whom an Idol is nothing, to whom all shadows, Types and Figures, are come to an end, let…See More
5th day (Thu)
Kirby Urner replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Quakerism and Religious Freedom'
"Thanks for joining the discussion.  Yeah, one line or word summaries of a complex conversation…"
5th month 8
jay replied to Kirby Urner's discussion 'Quakerism and Religious Freedom'
"Great message, thanks!  As you point out, it's not a simple question of good guys Vs bad…"
5th month 8
Kirby Urner commented on Kirby Urner's blog post 'On Recording One's Affiliation with Friends'
4th month 27
Kirby Urner posted a blog post
4th month 27
Kirby Urner commented on Kirby Urner's blog post 'A Campus Curriculum'
"http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2019/04/facebook-rant.htmlI have a followup query at the end of my…"
4th month 27
Kirby Urner posted a blog post

A Campus Curriculum

I'm reaching out to Friends in higher education with my recent Youtubes, which I'm free to…See More
4th month 13
Keith Saylor posted a blog post


Iconography: The process of guiding and informing human relationships and interactions through…See More
4th month 10

© 2019   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service