Thursday, 13 March 2008

How Many Quakers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?

"That depends. If the lightbulb is in the meetinghouse, then it takes the whole Meeting, and 3-9 months.First, property committee has to notify clerk that a lightbulb is burned out. It will then be put on the agenda for the next monthly meeting for business. When it comes up on the agenda, clerk will ask how Friends respond to the notice from property committee. Then, clerk of property committee will be asked for that committee’s recommendation regarding the burned out bulb, and we will learn that property committee was merely notifying meeting of the state of the bulb, and it did not reach the point of trying to make a recommendation. The matter will then be referred back to property committee to come up with a recommendation regarding the bulb, and the matter will be put on the agenda for the next monthly meeting for business, four weeks later..."

From The Quaker Agitator blog, read the whole thing here.


Gordon Ferguson said...

Humour is often the only way to jolt some people into realising they just have not got the message.

The message here is that our organisation and structures, our committees and working groups, are for the building up of our community and have no meaning in and of themselves. Or, as Jesus put it, "The Sabbath was made for man (sic), and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2.27)

Us Quakers may have done away with creeds and doctrines as the basis of our faith, but Quakers are still human beings, and us humans tend to take great solace in identifying with what we do rather than who we are. To be on a committee, to be a "weighty Friend", to serve and do ones duty. Jesus corrects us sternly: "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. " (Luke 17:10).

So what then are we to do? Love another of course, and that means trusting someone to get on and change the light bulb.

If we cannot trust one another in community and friendship, and instead put our trust in systems and organisation, we have made a very dangerous idol. For it is but one small step from putting our trust in our little structures, to putting our trust in governments and their armies and security services and finding that our freedom is being taken from us while war and destruction is waged in our name.

Peter Lawless said...

Well said. The Government are scaring us into giving them, our euphemistic elders and betters in the worldly sense, too much power to destroy communities and trust and not build them

Bill Jefferys said...

Regrettably, the blog to which you refer with the rest of the joke has been removed because (according to the message) of failure to adhere to the rules of The message there reads:

---- is no longer available.

This site has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
For more information and to contact us please read this support document.

John Hatten, Bellingham Friends Meeting said...

I liked what Gordon says about "trusting someone to get on and change the light bulb". Trusting is an affirmation and is often the best choice. And if we trust someone to act but they "screw up" (e.g. buy an incandescent or compact florescent instead of a fair trade, shade grown, organic, sustainably produced LED), we all benefit when we reaffirm our trust in the person and at the same time gently taking the opportunity to educate, listen, and be open to the Light.