Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Yesterday I attended 'Community - build it or break it?', tenth in a series of Dialogues organised by London Quaker's. 53 friends from across London gathered at Friends House to hear Catherine West and Nigel Norie speak about difficulties of finding ways of tackling inequality consistent with Quaker principles. We heard about initiatives such as the Islington Fairness Commission, North London Citizens and the Islington Youth Council. Catherine described Islington’s methods of tackling gang-based crime through restorative justice. The afternoon raised many more questions than it answered.
Nigel spoke of how, as a photographer, his camera was originally a way of maintaining distance from a community alien to him, before it became a way of making contact. Are we keeping others at arms length? Jesus said ‘the poor will always be with you’. Are the poor with us? Or, perhaps it is better to ask, are we with the poor? Do campaigning and charitable giving without building relationships perpetuate our separation from the dispossessed? Does it concern us that many of our Meeting Houses are in affluent areas? The issue of economics was so important to the early church that two members are struck dead for deceitfully withholding some of their resources from the group. What issues are so important to us that we would challenge someone’s membership of the Quaker community? Why do we not model the radical economics and intimate sharing of the early church?
Mark keeps a blog on Quakers and Community (http://qicil.org/)