Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Sometimes human beings are simply intended to disagree, be divided, see matters differently -- if nothing else, so we won't all be wrong about everything all at once!
And certainly Friends' power as a pressure-group is tiny, if not outright negative -- so that no-one with any sort of secular power needs worry about any position we take, together or separately.
Yet, we are supposed to be able to reconcile differences, even seemingly intractable ones, by being willing to sit with each other even over wide divergences and mutually seek God's discernment on a matter.
Why doesn't this happen more thoroughly among us? -- Why is is so often a hard struggle over matters of wording, leaving the profounder differences in understanding quite untouched?
What does reconciliation look like though?
My take: agreement around an outward process, of worship at set times and places, of committees and business meetings, gives Friends opportunities to test their leadings and speak plainly to one another.
Perhaps agreement on a practice is sufficient and within that framework we have no agenda to create uniformity in thoughts or beliefs. We leave those alone, as the responsibility of the individual.
Let people cultivate their own style of thinking and self expression. The practice is one of not engaging in outward violence. We have some testimonies. We don't compel reciting a credo.
Provide a safe enough space for practice in doing business together, and you've done a lot.
I think we could handle "higher voltage" myself, i.e. our committee-and-business framework seems designed to operate on a larger scale. I'd like to see a company the size of Walmart developed around Quaker practice.
David McKay said:
Aren't we supposed to be self-herding? -- to seek & find a divine guide to truth that isn't just 'whatever we want to believe'?
When a Friends meeting seeks the way forward from the vantage point of the inward Presence of Spirit, amazing agreements on a deep level will always occur at the time they should after spiritual seeking together with the Spirit of Truth in our hearts. And when this is not occurring, it is time for everyone to FIRST understand the vantage point needed before proceeding - even if the process of just understanding that needed vantage point takes months to realize.
The inward Presence will always manifest as Light and Love, and not as ego manifestations associated with political allegiances, causes, patriotism and nationalism, religious proselytization, defensive posturing originating from fear, competition in order to feel superior, campaigns to convince others intellectually of the rightness of a position, on and on.
I would suggest that if Friends are operating from the vantage point of the inward Presence of Spirit, time will not be wasted "over matters of wording [and opinion], leaving the profounder differences in understanding quite untouched". The ego wants to argue over the insignificant in order to bog us down into separate "camps" and engage our intellect in order to make us each "gods". The Spirit wants to touch that which is its own nature so its deep and meaningful Oneness can be extended to the hearts of all.
I have experienced a meeting operating from ego mechanisms and one from the inward Presence of Spirit. When emerging from ego manifestations, the outcomes will dutifully mask themselves as loving outcomes; however, they really are not aligned with the loving Spirit, obvious because some (Friends and non-Friends) hearing of the outcome will feel unheard, unloved, attacked, and unvalued.
When emerging from the inward Presence, the outcomes will naturally be miracles unto themselves. None (Friends and non-Friends) will feel attacked or unvalued even though they may wish to not be involved in the outcome because that measure of the Light has not yet manifested within them.
The inward Presence of Light and Love emanating from the divine Source is patient - willing to grow within a person at the rate that person's ego will allow. Friends operating from this vantage point of the inward Light are willing to take time and extend love to the community as the way forward slowly emerges to all within that community. Outcomes are not manipulated, orchestrated, expected, debated, or pushed when delivered by the inward Presence. They just are manifestations of the Light that becomes self-evident and extends outward to all as a warm glow that is welcomed upon receiving its touch.
Jesus did not embrace acts of compassion, forgiveness, and love in response to a political, religious, or social agenda that appealed to his intellect. He responded naturally to others during conversation and daily life with compassion, forgiveness, and love due to the inward Presence of Spirit that consumed him. He felt this Spirit as his true being and Source of life. And he wanted us to do the same.
... amending my earlier remark in this thread, where I say "I'd like to see a company the size of Walmart developed around Quaker practice" I don't mean a Walmart clone or direct competitor. Different focus.
* Providing relief to those displaced by weapons testing (also known as "war theater") and
* sharing global data using Google Earth type displays 
would be two connected endeavors for my (already out there in science fiction) Global Data Corporation.
Going forward, global companies need not define themselves primarily within the Anglo-Euro legal tradition, which creates a false dichotomy between "charitable" and "for profit" businesses.
No, I'm not saying Sharia is the only other option, just lets remember: the English-speakers' global empire is long gone and the Doctrine of Discovery (the colonial legacy) is by now crumbling. 
Quakerism is already cast as business-oriented (praise God), and comes with working blueprints, time-tested designs.
Working with friendly quasi-sovereignties might lead to some "off shore" inland offices on so-called reservations (Warm Springs?), and staffed by N8Vs in many cases (precedent: the big IT shops already in place, used for "Indian Gaming").
Such a development makes plenty of sense given all the displacement that's gone on in North America. N8Vs well appreciate from their own recent history what it's like to walk hundreds of miles in search of a next life in some designated area. Not unlike Syrians escaping their former Mesopotamian state.
 see latest Scientific American on "macroscope"
 no, not the one in Camarillo, CA. More mythical:
Keith: A 'leading' is supposed to be a divinely-inspired, inwardly received assignment to mitigate a condition in the outward world -- yet you still object to that? Why?
Kirby... It doesn't strike you as problematic that Native Americans are being organized into European-style corporations for the purpose of stealing-the-loot-back from the descendents of the Europeans who originally stole it all from their ancestors -- by enticing greedy moderns into gambling, a useless and addictive pastime that deprives people of their material goods via the hope that someone else will lose theirs instead --
that this is nothing at all like 'Right Livelihood', but more akin to ripping off savages with glass beads or taking unfair advantage of children?
Excellent question Forrest, about Indian Gaming only perpetuating the cycle of group A ripping off group B. A couple factors to weigh:
(i) what's done with the proceeds?
(ii) what's the future of gambling?
Spirit Mountain Casino, owned by the Grande Ronde Federation, puts money back into the community through charitable giving in ways I've approved of i.e. reflect my own values.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has been a beneficiary, for example. I could see them helping out with the CodeCastle idea I've been exploring with Methodists (neighborhood abandoned church, looks like a castle ).
Up and down the coast, ecosystem rehabilitation has been a goal of many a casino-backed foundation, through buy-backs of land, redoing the salmon-blocking culverts made by loggers, restoration of wetlands.
Yes, I'm admittedly painting an idyllic picture. The economy as a whole benefits. The State of Oregon plays the very same game (video games in bars, with bars needing the cut to stay in business -- i.e. states actively sponsor the sins they then tax).
Yes, casinos distill capitalism to its essence, with risks up to the player and no guard rail when adults choose to go overboard (off a financial cliff).
As a place to socialize with some chance of financial gain (not a sure thing), around inexpensive food with a max loss budget, many retirees find more happiness than in a mall, which preys on mostly younger adults in other ways, filling their home-maker garages and basements with more stuff for recycling, enticing Friends to spend more on middle class lawn care products, cosmetics, i-stuff, bling.
So many outward forms! You'd have to be like a Keith Saylor to completely ignore them (those directly Being-inspired account for less than 0.001% of the population, so no real threat to business as usual -- the Bible never tells us if those money-changers were back the very next day after Jesus threw a fit; wanna bet that they were?).
As for the future of gambling, I've put some thought into that and have a philosophy worked out most Catholics would recognize as "church bingo". But that's not quite it either.
I just happen to have updated a not-so-frequently added-to blog on this topic, spelling it out. The player gets to choose where the money goes, and add to a profile / portfolio, a track record. It's not up to the shop to manage the cleared winnings after expenses.
These philanthropic casinos (not churches, more like meetups), where winnings go to those refugee camps, WWF, EFF etc., are envisioned as a network of coffee shops. The philosophy takes off from how coffee shops sprouted up in Paris and places, as steeping grounds for new philosophies of a more existential sort, following a time of horrific war-making. I see some parallels.
When I add it all up: yes, I could see a future NPYM Annual Session happening in a resort casino instead of college / university campus, experimentally, some year. Doesn't have to be soon.
Lets focus on better, more participatory "reality television" with charitable intent and lots of global data.
Seems like the Catholics do more of that than about anyone but could use some fresh ideas, some assistance.
We need to recruit a generation of eco-cleanup pros ready to take on the legacy of generations prior.
The TV I'm imagining would role model attractive lifestyles not built around senseless consumption and malign neglect of starving millions. Viewers might find it refreshing and some would eagerly sign up for duty, which might involve flying to a front line somewhere, or just getting more involved down the street in some charitable project. We have the army and police for that now, but some Friends would like more options.
PS: I haven't forgotten about the Quaker bank in Turkey practicing Sharia principles. That could be another source of funding, once mature.
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.
Forrest Curo said:
David McKay said:Aren't we supposed to be self-herding? -- to seek & find a divine guide to truth that isn't just 'whatever we want to believe'?
Hello Keith —
I agree in principle but not fully in practice. For any person or group of marginalized because of someone else's label there is an experience of having been marginalized by people who feel they have transcended the process. One of the best ways to deeply trouble a black person is for a white person to claim to be colour-blind. To reach the level of unity in the spirit that you are calling us to at least some of us have to go through a process to get there. And that means respecting and honouring me and them in our differences because our differences matter and they matter in part because we have been oppressed because of the labels imposed on us by others because of those differences. At one level believing that "our differences don't matter" is a form of false consciousness which also needs to be transcended. And the language of a deeper unity that you speak of is counterfeited at that level and at least on the surface sounds the same as what you're speaking about. And so it becomes important to honour our outward conditions out of a sense of compassion before we move on to the experience that you witness to.