Alison Irving
  • Sydney, NSW
  • Australia
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About Me
Married to Malcolm, we have two daughters, Jenni and Joanna and two Border Collies. Malcolm and Jenni also attend our local meeting house. We're just attenders, but are enjoying the fellowship of Friends in Sydney. Our local meeting is Liberal, but I would describe myself as Christian and would like to learn more about conservative Quakers.

Alison Irving's Blog


Posted on 12th mo. 27, 2011 at 2:56am 1 Comment

Lately I've been watching the rather wonderful BBC series 'Coast' on DVD, so the sea was on my mind yesterday as I sat down with the Bible, my sketchbook and my journal. At present I'm reading through Isaiah. In Isaiah 41, I found the verse:

'Listen to me in silence, O coastlands, let the people renew their strength; let them approach, let them speak; let us together draw near for judgement'. 

The idea of Christians as the coastline appeals to me. The shoreline is different. It…


Learning simplicity

Posted on 12th mo. 5, 2011 at 3:13am 6 Comments

This week, as I approach the start of the Quaker Basics course, I've been reading about simplicity. To a new Friend, this is a challenging concept. I was concerned that it made a virtue out of not thinking and this troubled me. Many years ago, as a new Christian, I remember being told that Christians should accept all they are told without question. Even as a teenager, I thought that was ridiculous. How could I separate the two ideas? Simplicity, as it was presented, seemed at first to mean…


Stepping out of the boat

Posted on 11th mo. 29, 2011 at 5:12am 4 Comments

I've never done a blog before - never blogged? Is it a verb? Anyway, here goes...

This morning while walking with my two dogs and an Anglican friend, I was thinking about how much of a step it has been to move from our local traditional Anglican church to the Quaker meeting. Suddenly, into my head popped the story of Jesus walking on the waves and Peter stepping out of the boat. The story is something like this: 

Jesus had been praying all night, while the disciples went off…


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At 6:52pm on 11th mo. 22, 2011, David Carl said…
Well, the inward journey can be the more challenging part, can't it? I'm glad you have found a supportive community of Friends!     
At 10:24am on 11th mo. 21, 2011, Aaron J Levitt said…

Hi Alison,


I'm a non-Christian (at least in any typical sense)  attending a liberal meeting, and I just wanted to say that the meeting's explicit openess to and respect for Christ-centered members was one of the reasons I chose it from among several in the area. Particularly given the centrality of Christianity to the history and development of Quakerism, I'd have real reservations about any meeting that wasn't welcoming to Christian members, their perspectives and contributions. I hope that you, and other Friends in your position, will always feel comfortable sharing your experiences of God with the rest of us.



At 10:35pm on 11th mo. 20, 2011, Kirby Snell said…

Hi Alison, I just happened to spot your exchange of comments with David re: being a Christian in a liberal meeting, and thought I'd offer my 2 cents. I'm a Christian, and have been attending a liberal meeting for about a month now. While this hasn't been enough time for the question of Christianity to come up on any deep level in my personal interactions with the folks there (and, like you, I was hesitant about how my beliefs would be received), the general vibe I've gotten is one of openness towards Christ-centered beliefs (with much regard for other faith traditions as well). Similar to what David said - I suspect that as long as we, as Christians, are welcoming of others' spiritual backgrounds, there will be room for us in a liberal meeting. One thing that helps me is to remember that each person's spiritual journey is as valuable as my own, whether they call Jesus their Savior, or are questioning whether God even exists. And God cares just as much about bringing each of them closer to God's Truth as for me - and how wonderful that Quakerism offers them that searching space. I'd imagine there's a fair number of liberal Friends who would never have a positive encounter with Christianity outside of Quakerism... Anyway, I wish you well as you seek and learn, and know that there are others here sharing your journey. Peace!

At 6:58pm on 11th mo. 18, 2011, David Carl said…

Alison, there was a post here a few years ago on this topic, but I've been unable to find it.  I  would encourage you to learn about early Friends by reading their journals.  You can also visit find information on the web from current conservative yearly meetings.  A liberal meeting can be challenging to Christian Friends.  But it can also be a place where you can learn and practice Christian virtues and faith -- can I be loving and yet forthright in the face of disparagement and conflict?  Also, liberal Friends often will respond to Christian themes and scripture if presented in an inviting and friendly manner.  Finally, I find the objections many liberal Friends (and others) seem to have toward "Christianity" are often valid ones and actually help me become a better Christian.  I don't know the situation in Sydney, but in the liberal meetings I've been members of (I'm on my second now) there are indeed liberal Christian Friends!  Often there are "closet Christians" as well, or people who are open to Christian themes but not sure its OK to talk about them...until someone does!


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