Here's an email from Danny, a new friend who I met at last week's FGC-sponsored "Youth Ministries Consultation." I liked his observations and asked if I could share this on the blog. I'm glad he said yes, since it's a good perspective on where one convinced 19 year old Friend is at.
Update: "Here's Danny's new blog, Riding the Whale":http://Quakernow.blogspot.com/
Martin! I finally got around to checking out your website [after hearing about it at the youth consultation], and it is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a very long time! Many of the things you have written especially speak to my condition at the Chapel Hill Monthly Meeting, which could be a poster child for "the only thing i believe in is peace [+ that Bush is bad]" brand of Quakerism. While I cannot honestly say I have faith in Jesus as the son of God who died on the cross for our sins at this point in my spiritual developement, I do feel myself moving very strongly towards what you call conservative liberal Quakerism. It's mostly an issue of making the leap of faith. I feel very strongly that modern Friends need to go back to George Fox and the other old Friends for some context and guidance. Even though I am only 19, I consider myself one of those 20somethings who are looking for a real religion, not just some watered down semi-spiritual community. [I'm not actually a member of my MM. but I feel like I am. I feel like one of the most Quaker non-official-Quakers around]
I apologize in advance for my ranting.
Your writing helped me think critically about the youth consultation, although I already had some problems with it. Especially the lack of God --and just about no Christ [lots of "the Spirit"] and the lack of talk about why exactly young people are leaving Quakerism. I know you're not someone who necessarily needs to hear my rants, but I just don't understand why there's no communication network set up for Quakers from all over the place to come together and discuss things. the fact that there is no North American Young Adult Friends is just pitiful. I don't, and I'm sure lots of other disgruntled Friends don't --feel they have any easily accessible way of venting feelings and beliefs in a place where someone will listen.
For some reason, at the consultation I *did* feel like we were worshiping together, which is something I cannot say for CHFM. I don't know why.
that consultation left me feeling so incredibly hopeful and depressed about the future of Quakerism-at the same time. reading your blogs only fueled those feelings. living on a university, I am very aware that there are a zillion and a half religious groups that all want me to be one of them. What will I tell my fellow students when they ask me why they should be a Quaker? or even what it means to be a Quaker?
thank you for listening to my rants, again.
blessings, blessings, and blessings, Danny
When I asked Danny if I could repost his email, he also asked that he give this disclaimer: sure you can put it up. although i will have to give myself the disclaimer of having only attended the chfm for a year and a few months, so i don't want to claim that my experience of that community is necessarily the most fair one that anyone could produce. they are really good people,and the kind of community that some people want and need simply isn't a very religiously orthodox one. but i think that they could clarify what they believe as a community.