Hi Quakers! I'm doing a little ethnographic report on you all for an anthropology class. I've been attending meetings at a few locations in my area and conducting interviews and... what a crowd. I've never met a group of such friendly, open minded, helpful people. It can be kind of hard to find meetings and the right people to talk to, and even with me being up front about my academic (rather than spiritual) intentions, Quakers bent over backwards to help me learn about your community.
I can't attend meetings and do interviews all over the country, so I made up a little question and answer form/survey. The only problem is, a lot of the Quakers in my region are older (Read: no twitter or Facebook), so I have a very limited distribution network for my online form. This is where you folks come in:
I just can't seem to get this thing off the ground. I haven't been able to get a single person to participate (other than those I've met in person and their friends). In a few weeks I'll compile the data and send every participant a copy, and you can even have a copy of my final report if you'd like. I think it could be rewarding for you too, if we can get a reasonable number of participants, to show you a small portrait of your community.
A lot of it is just demographic stuff, but there are also opportunities for you to talk about what makes Quakerism special. It truely is lovely, in my region anyway. I've never encountered a religious group as warm and accepting as the Quakers around here are. I feel like the world would be a better place if Quakerism were our dominant religion, and I'm not just trying to butter you all up. I'm imagining Quaker voices from all over the country expousing why they choose to live the way they do, and the idea if putting it together in one place; I think it'd be beautiful in a way.
Now I realize all that is very grandiose and unlikely. I'm sure the survey won't reach many, and even fewer will have the time and ability to articulate all that. I suppose maybe I've idealized Quakerism a bit. One of the pitfalls of anthropological field work is the tendency of a group to show only their best angle while an outsider is present, and I'm sure I've grown a little infatuated with this seemingly perfect organization, but even if that's the case - I want to know still. I know you're a special group of people either way. I've read too many good things and seen selfless behavior too consistently for me to believe otherwise. But don't let that scare you. The survey even says the "interview" portion is optional. If you just want to go through and hit the buttons that would still be wonderful!
Boy what a rant.. Thanks everyone!
Here's the link one more time: