Why call yourself a Quaker? Why go to a Quaker Meeting House building?

Replying to comments by Martin, Callid, Wess below a previous post, on Scott McKnight's stuff about community.

I'd agree we have to be willing for everything to be pruned away, whilst we hold to the cross which we can rely on. My model is that "being a Quaker" is living in that willingness to give up everything, to be re-formed by Christ amongst us into the church God intends us to be. That's what I mean when I use the word, what do you mean? Sounds like you want to use the Quaker banners on this site to hijack the name Quaker and set up yet another a new set of splinter groups in the U.S.A.? You don't find that embarrassing? I don't live in the situation you folks are in so I don't know.

Do you not have a Meeting to live amongst? What's so wrong with (us) other folks? What happened to the eye and the nose not telling each other they're not required? I guess I think the core practice of being the Body is to be one body not keep dividing like amoebae, but that's the perspective of a "rest of world" Quaker where I think we don't in general have all those splinter groups I gather you're cursed with in the U.S.A..

I mentioned that thing about "twice the number of Quakers" because I've found a Meeting to live with here, we try to do the Quaker thing. I brought that particular one up as an example of some habits we used to have (like that one of not actually including newcomers) that worked against our collective ability to live up to the Message we've been given. I've learned a lot from what Martin's written about outreach - my parents were both convinced Friends in their early twenties so wondering whether I'm living gospel order such that similar people of their age now would get included is a useful test with special meaning for how I go about living my life and being part of my Meeting community.

Are you U.S folks starting yet another branch of your tradition of Quaker separations or what? I guess I know how much I gain from seasoned Friends who have lived many years in this same Light we're talking about, people who travelled the world preaching the gospel or picking up the sick and dying or just getting their possessions bailliffed because of the Light they live under. It is so unusual that the stuff you're talking about Christ, communities of resistance, scripture study, and living in the presence, people have been preaching this gospel to me since I was a teenager? They mostly say they have to suffer for it as a lot of people find it hard to hear but I got the impression that since our leader led all the way on that one and it worked to bring the Roman Empire down we could trust in the grace God gives?

The New Foundation fellowship turned out a lot of folks in the UK who had a really clear message and lived it in Meetings, they were the ones who brought me into this Quaker thing - I guess I got the impression that was the natural foundation of the Quaker thing, living the gospel. It's what I found when I started swimming upstream to find where the gifts of peacemaking and resistance to consumerism and fashion and so on came from: the folks who were doing it were the ones who would tell me about why following Jesus meant they had to do it that way. We have been managing to struggle along, e.g. homophobic and gay people side by side mostly without throwing out the either the bible or the waiting worship, I guess I assumed that was there everywhere if you looked for it, maybe I'm wrong about that as well.

Maybe it is really different for you, Martin, Callid, Wess, in the United States than it is here in the UK, or maybe I just don't get what you're on about! Likely, I know my brain is not in the best shape. Quakers are almost all one group here in the UK, not at ease but nothing like two churches in one street. As far as I know, we struggle together to understand ourselves as one Body despite the huge differences between the worldviews: from the spiritually wounded who may just have come for the shelter of a church that might love them and celebrate their gifts, to people who know they have been called to live in the cross but don't always know how to express it or help the wounded find healing and hope.

I'm not so attached to the name Quaker as I am to the community, the gospel and the praxis of it. I guess I'm writing this because it comes across a bit to me like you are building and you've looked at this foundation stone and said to yourself, nah, I can find a better one why should I start here? Have I got it wrong? I think all you guys are gifted so I can well see it might be that I am not seeing what you are trying to show me.

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Comment by Amelia Anne Schafer-Rutherford on 10th mo. 5, 2009 at 7:18am
I understand it was started as "outreach" possibly to nonQuakers. But I think that is type of blogging, which I have never done. Can have the up side of helping to stimulate reflection action in ones spirtual thinking. I thank all of you for all of it. As usual I find all thing unsettling and activating no matter if I agree and like what I am hear and seeing. I find being a Friends is always something I have to work at. Thank once again for the chance to do that work. Hold all in the Light
Comment by Forrest Curo on 10th mo. 6, 2009 at 10:52pm
Because Martin started this site, he thinks he knows what it is "for." But that doesn't make his purpose the only good purpose it might serve. Deepening our own connection to Spirit is both an aid to and a consequence of 'outreach'.

But as a rule of thumb, it is likely that the longer a particular exchange goes on, the less light it will shed on the original question, and also the less likely that most people will read through the early parts. One can always try a new question, or seek a more helpful way to ask the old one.


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