Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quaker by Osmosis

What I remember learning about Quakerism as a child is much more by osmosis than through First Day School. For instance, these were my direct experiences of Quaker testimonies growing up in a small meeting:

Equality: we all called each other by first names, regardless of age
Simplicity: it was normal—almost desirable—to wear our worst clothes to meeting
Peace: everybody was against the war in Vietnam; we went to lots of peace marches and always ran into other Quakers there
Community: Yearly Meeting and Quarterly Meeting were the only places in our lives where my brother and I felt truly accepted for who we were
Right sharing of world resources: this came up so often that I always thought it was a testimony
(I didn’t run into unity or harmony expressed as testimonies until I was in my ‘20s)
Integrity: occasional role models, many as inconsistent as I am, so I’m still working on it…

Most of these were good ways in to a later, deeper understanding of the testimonies, especially when I started reading lots of pamphlets and biographies at about age 12. But my meeting didn’t really engage with the kids around theology, and I still haven’t traced back many of the indirect influences of early Friends’ writings on my convictions. So as I enter this conversation with you all, I expect I’ll be asking questions as much as sharing my own experiences. Stay tuned, and I look forward to hearing from you.


At July 28, 2006 at 7:30 AM, Blogger Kody Gabriel said...

I'll be in SF August 6-14. My most pressing need is for someplace to stay the 7th through the 9th. I'll be recovering from surgery, and need a place to spend a day or two in bed. Thanks for looking into this!

At August 8, 2006 at 12:22 PM, Blogger Chris M. said...


Thanks for sharing your experience. It's definitely interesting for me as a convinced Friend raising two Quakers boys!

We had a brief conversation at PYM about the Quaker view of salvation... I found this today on Ben Richmond's website, writing about his book Signs of Salvation: New Life Where Grace and Truth Meet:

"Salvation is not merely private 'fire insurance.' Rather, the Bible reveals a God who saves in practical ways from the 'first evil' of loneliness into community, from economic oppression and scarcity into bounty, from our enemies in a life of peace. The requirement is listening to and obeying the living voice of our living God who brings us into the community of grace and truth that reflects the grace and truth that we see uniquely combined in Jesus Christ."

Thought you might like to know.

--Chris M.
Tables, Chairs & Oaken Chests


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