Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
"We sometimes forget all the tools Friends have used to make this happen. We have used these tools for centuries. They are the ways Friends teach, learn, experiment, and realize a testimony (in the sense of “make it real”)."
"These are not methods to force anyone’s conscience!"
"I urge you to remember that “unity” around a testimony is not the same as “unanimity ..."
"... testimony is a way of saying “We are clear in this matter of what God’s will is for us, and consequently we can say that this should be characteristic of every Friend.”
"The point, Friends, is that — in our testimonies of simplicity, abolition, and everything else — we have needed all of these and others I have not added to the list."
“Success” means that every Friend can see the importance of the testimony, and sees that they cannot ignore it."
I recommend to you that "success" can also mean that Friends do not see the importance of a testimony, ignore it,and do not participate in the advancement of it. The definition of success as the adoption of an outward testimony by every Friend is a contrivance. It does match with the reality of spiritual life. Some Friends may be of a conscience to embrace a Climate Change testimony and for the sake of conscience they should embrace it. Other Friends may be of a different conscience that either rejects the scientific assumptions and methods behind Climate Change theory or that may not see it as important and ignore it. The use of outward institutional practices and methods to recommend outward testimonies like Climate Change as a concern is certainly valid and has been the practice of many Friends since the notion that the inshining Light itself in itself was not sufficient to rule and teach and outward forms were needed and helpful. The resulting outward methods, practices, and institutional constructs were introduced and imposed upon the gathering of Friends in the 17th century over against the consciences of many other Friends through intimidation, slander, labeling, and excommunication. There were are Friends who know the direct experience of the inshining Light itself in itself as sufficient and complete to guide and teach without reference to or regard for outward testimonies, institutions, or persons. In fact, the appearance of the inshining Light upon their conscious and conscience teaches a independency from any and all outward formal helps, structures and persons. These "formal helps" are not needed or valued.
A conscience that scruples against ignoring Climate Change should be embraced in the same way that a conscience that scruples against taking up Climate Change as a testimonial. It is certainly a valid role for an outward institution like the NEYM to recommend concern over climate change to the conscience of other Friends, especially those Friends whose conscience embraces a role at all for any outward institutions, practices, and traditions. However, it is a design of imposition and a trampling upon the prerogative of the inshining Light upon the conscious and conscience as guide for any outward testimony to be established as something every Friend should follow and attend to. To promote and advance an outward testimony as incumbent upon the conscience of all Friends to follow and attend to under the pretense of being a leading or sense of a Meeting (Monthly or Yearly) is to participate in a Politic of Contrivance. No outward institution has such a prerogative. A testimony "cannot be ignored" only when by the appearance of the inshining Light a conscience is convicted against ignoring it. Those who share such a conviction, and the institutions they support, have no role in dictating that all Friends should attend to their conviction. The moment they move from attending to their conviction to telling other Friends, who do not share their conviction in conscience, they must or should follow their conscience even though they do not see it, is the moment they participate in trampling upon the prerogative of the unshining Light and turn their conviction into mere politic of contrivance.