Love is unconditional and accepts us for who we are

I tried to post this as a com­ment on “this piece by James Riemermann”: on the Non­the­ist Friends web­site but the site expe­ri­enced a tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ty when I tried to sub­mit it (hope it’s back up soon!). James describes his post as a “rant” about “conservative-leaning lib­er­al Friends,” and one theme that got picked up in the com­ments was how he and oth­ers felt exclud­ed by us (for that is a term I use to try to describe my spir­i­tu­al con­di­tion). Rather than loose the com­ment I’ll just post it here.
Hi James and everyone,
Well, I think I was one of the first of the Quak­er blog­gers to talk about conservative-leaning lib­er­al Quak­ers back in July 2003. I too am not sure it’s any­thing worth call­ing a “move­ment.”
I hear this feel­ing of being exclud­ed but I’m not sure where that’s com­ing from. When James had a real­ly won­der­ful, thought-provoking response to my “We’re All Ranters Now” piece, I asked him if I could “reprint” the com­ment as its own guest piece. It got a lot of atten­tion, a lot of com­ments. I didn’t real­ize you were using non​the​ist​friends​.org as a blog these days but “Robin M”: of “What Canst Thou Say”: did and has added a link to your post from “”, which again is a val­i­da­tion that yours is an impor­tant voice (I can pret­ty much guar­an­tee that this is going to be one of the more fol­lowed links). You and every­one here are part of the family.
Yes, we have some dis­agree­ments. I don’t think Quak­erism is sim­ply made up of who­ev­er makes it into the meet­ing­house. I think we have a tra­di­tion that we’ve inher­it­ed. This con­sists of prac­tices and val­ues and ways of look­ing at the world. Much of that tra­di­tion comes from the gospel of Jesus and the epis­tles between the ear­li­est Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties. Much of what might feel like neu­tral Quak­er prac­tice is a clear echo of that tra­di­tion, and that echo is what I talk about that in my blogs. I think it’s good to know where we’re com­ing from. That doesn’t mean we’re stuck there and we adapt it as our rev­e­la­tion changes (this atti­tude is why I’m a lib­er­al Friend no mat­ter how much I talk about Christ). These blog con­ver­sa­tions are the ways we share our expe­ri­ences, min­is­ter to and com­fort one another.
That peo­ple hold dif­fer­ent reli­gious under­stand­ings and prac­tices isn’t in itself inher­ent­ly exclu­sion­ary. Diver­si­ty is good for us, right? There’s no one Quak­er cen­ter. There’s muli­ti­ple con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing in mul­ti­ple lan­guages, much of it glo­ri­ous­ly over­lap­ping on the elec­tron­ic path­ways of the inter­net. That’s won­der­ful, it shows a great vital­i­ty. The reli­gious tra­di­tion that is Quak­erism is not dead, not moth­balled away in a liv­ing his­to­ry muse­um some­where. It’s alive, with its assump­tions and bound­aries con­stant­ly being revis­it­ed. That’s cool. If a par­tic­u­lar post feels too carp­ing, there’s always the “elder­ing of the back but­ton,” as I like to call it. Let’s try to hear each oth­er from where we are and to remain open to the min­istry from those who might appear to be com­ing from a dif­fer­ent place. Love is the first move­ment and love is uncon­di­tion­al and accepts us for who we are.
I bet­ter stop this before I get too mushy, with all this talk of love! See what I mean about being a lib­er­al Quaker?
Your Friend, Martin