Sunday, 13 April 2014

What it means to be a Quaker today

This current question intrigues me.   I would love if a variety of perspectives could be put forward from within our community so that we could all gain a greater clarity as to what it means for us to be Quakers today.  I am mindful of George Fox’s words (Quaker Faith & Practice: 19.07): “Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say”?  So I dare to offer my perspective trusting that others may feel led to do likewise!
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From a personal point of view, being a Quaker means that I seek at all times to take heed of the promptings of love and truth in my heart – trusting them as the leadings of God - always recognising that they will show me my darkness, but bring me new life. (Advice & Queries: 1)
John Macmurray, (Swarthmore Lecture, 1965) has helped me to understand that there is no such thing as a ‘person in isolation’ but only ‘persons in relationship’. So, as part of a Quaker community I feel invited to meet regularly for worship with F/friends bringing with me this same trust.  Then in the silence of worship, I seek to open myself to the spirit of God communicating directly to my heart but also indirectly through the ministry of others. My faith (trust) as a Quaker includes my willingness to share with others, as seems appropriate, what comes to my heart & mind in worship and my willingness to listen with an open heart & mind to what F/friends are moved to share in their ministry.
 Hopefully following on from worship we all go forward with a sense of  having being enriched. Then, actively in the world, as a community,  we endeavour ‘to let our lives speak’ and in various ways contribute  towards the building of God’s kingdom.  To me this is best understood  as a universal community of friendship in which under God all persons  are equal and free.                                                                         


Laura Kerr said...

I hope we could get a variety of responses to this. it would be great as a regular feature in SQN. When I do my full response, a key word will be COMMUNITY.

Craig Barnett said...

Thank you for this Maurice, which speaks very much to my own understanding and experience of the Quaker Way. I think the way I would express it is trusting in the presence and the guidance of God in daily life, being open to perceive the reality of my own experience (even when that is uncomfortable), and being willing to faithfully follow the insights and leadings that are given to me. For me, this is only possible with the support of a wider community, and the challenges, insights and encouragement that they can offer.
In Friendship,