Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Although conflict is not foreign to Quaker meetings, there are many reminders within Quaker life to live with respect in community. Quakers are “cautioned against any harshness of tone or manner when administering counsel or reproof.”[i]
This advice is not limited to simple congeniality. True cooperation requires true engagement. Quakers are to “seek to know one another in the things which are eternal, bear the burdens of each other’s failings and [to] pray for one another.”[ii] Such community building takes time, patience, understanding and creativity.
Quakers are to ensure that their family operates as a harmonious community. Homes are to be places of “loving friendship and enjoyment . . . where all who visit may find peace and refreshment in God’s presence.”[iii] Building, sustaining and nurturing community is not a task or duty. Rather, it is a way of life. A way of life that is “open to receive.”[iv]
Cooperation is a fundamental aspect of community. Quakers are encouraged to follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.[v] Such cooperation is to extend beyond one’s own meeting to ecumenical efforts and joining with other groups who share common concerns.[vi] Quakers are to “speak truth . . . and yet remain open to truth as understood by others.[vii]
Quakers are led to live cooperative lives as an example to others and in doing so build community that is equally exemplary.
The sayings that follow include both encouragement and caution about joining with others in community activity.
[i] New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Advice 15
[ii] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 18th Query and Advice
[iii] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 26th Query and Advice
[iv] Central and South African Yearly Meeting Query and Advice #2
[v] New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Advice 10
[vi] Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 6th Query and Advice
[vii] Advices and Queries of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), #2 - Outreach