Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I try to write myself a query, each week, usually addressing something I am peeved about. I tried to write one on my Quakerquaker profile and discovered I am limited to 143 characters. As a Friend, somewhat long in the tooth, I find it hard to write a query in less than 143 words, much less characters.
Take for instance the following query: Do Friends just tolerate or do they welcome and embrace seekers and members that are functionally challenged by disability, developmental disability, trauma survival, economic status or education, as is, without trying to fix them? Okay, it is only 34 words, but it is 193 characters not counting the spaces and punctuation. Someone needs to rethink the whole idea of how Quakers talk, the tweet just won't do.
I recall a Friend I met at the first yearly meeting I attended. A trauma survivor and a person who had battled homelessness and panic attacks that seemed to be seizures until a diagnosis was arrived at by her state's vocational rehabilitation department. It turned out that she had a brilliant mind and got a full ride to her bachelor of science degree in guidence and counseling. A auditory tic she had kept her from fruitful practice, she returned to school and worked on a masters in psyhcometric statistical analysis.
Yet, she often complained that her meeting always treated her with condescension. I often witnessed a lot of eye-rolling when she tried to speak in meeting, so there seemed to be some truth to her concerns.
Often, meetings seem to have an unwritten ideal of what a meeting must look like to the outside world. We, less effective communicators, are often the fly in the ointment that would lead to reaching that ideal. I remember overhearing two elderly women in one Friend's church, I was visiting, telling a woman with cerabral palsey that if she couldn't be more presentable she should stay at home. Apparently, they found her drooling and the bib objectionable. I visited a small liberal Friends meeting once that barred the developmentally disabled attenders because their erratic behavior made the congregation feel uncomfortable and fearful. I was supply preaching at a nearby FUM church for nearly four years, and a few of these "rejects" became regular attenders who contributed often to the spirit of the meeting, albeit with a lack of orthodoxy, but magnifying God and the word with gusto.
I am painting a picture that is unflattering to Friends but I do so with with reliance on our manner of process, gospel order. We pose queries to test the state of our faith and practice paying attention not to the top of the rock but the bottom.
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