QuaCarol: You Don’t Want to Be Ranters Anymore

By QuaCarol
Sometimes I have to lift up comments and make them their own posts. Here's one of QuaCarol's reply to "Uh-Oh: Beppe's Doubts":/martink/archives/000544.php: "I see this community of bloggers, reaching out to each other and connecting, when meetings (and here I venture to say “all”) are focused on keeping their pamphlet racks filled, rather than posting URLs on their bulletin boards or creating a newcomer’s URL handout."


I see new seekers arriving who are trying to come to terms with September 11. They want more than to be handed a copy of “Friends for 350 Years” and to be told to stick around. Some of us are catching on to that, finally.
I see the 20- and 30-somethings arriving because they have read Woolman or Fox or Kelly and thus already know more than many oldtimers. (I say “many.” Not “all.”)
I see this community of bloggers, reaching out to each other and connecting, when meetings (and here I venture to say “all”) are focused on keeping their pamphlet racks filled, rather than posting URLs on their bulletin boards or creating a newcomer’s URL handout.
I see you(I’m still a nonblogger)trying to support each other in your searching and trying to provide for each other the depth and spiritual friendships that your meetings probably aren’t providing.
I see a real shift among many Friends who came into the Society in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Vietnam generation. Many rabid universalist Friends who couldn’t stand to hear Christ language have become more nearly Christ-centered and are now questioning the rigidity and fundamentalism of the universalist Friends. Some of these Friends are in leadership positions in yearly meetings now.
I see a real interest in and hunger for prophetic voices. I see a renewed interest in the Bible. In dressing plain as a testimony. In discerning spiritual gifts. These younger-than-the-aging-hippie Friends do not have the hair-trigger revulsion against leadership that the 60-somethings do.
Put simply, you don’t want to be Ranters anymore.
These are my reasons for hope.


This piece originally appeared as a comment on "Uh-Oh: Beppe's Doubts":/martink/archives/000544.php about a favorite blogger's questioning of his Quaker faith.
*See also:* Liz Opp's take on this in "Quakerism, From Generation to Generation":http://thegoodraisedup.blogspot.com/2005/03/Quakerism-from-generation-to.html on the Good Raised Up, Rob's "What Keeps Us Quaker?":http://consider-the-lilies.blogspot.com/2005/03/what-keeps-us-Quaker.html on Consider the Lillies and my own "It's My Language Now/Thinking About Youth Ministries":/martink/archives/000555.php

  • Mar­tin, I want to tell you how much I appre­ci­ate the gift and min­istry you have in shar­ing oth­er Friends’ posts, so that more of us can have greater access to one another’s per­spec­tives, con­cerns, and ideas. In this way, I feel as though we are “lift­ing one anoth­er up by a ten­der hand,” to para­phrase Isaac Penington.
    Blessings,
    Liz

  • James

    This is the prob­lem a small faith com­mu­ni­ty that doesn’t hedge itself well con­stant­ly have to face: that the reli­gious milieu in its congregations/meetings depend on the cul­tur­al melieu of dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of its members.
    This is less true with larg­er denom­i­na­tions, with much more diverse bod­ies of believ­ers. They are very dif­fi­cult to be hijacked by a sin­gle gen­er­a­tion of Ranters who joined them in flux­es (Just think about whether it is pos­si­ble at all for the Catholic Church to be hijacked by, say, a band of abortion-doctor-shooters.)
    This is also less true with bet­ter hedged faith com­mu­ni­ties. Is it pos­si­ble at all for anti-Vietnam pro­tes­tors to infil­trate the Amish com­mu­ni­ties in Lan­cast­er or the Hut­terites in Saskatchewan?

  • QuaC­arol

    “… that the reli­gious milieu in its congregations/meetings depend on the cul­tur­al melieu of dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of its members.”
    Thanks, James, for that very astute com­ment. That gives me a lot to ponder.
    Of course, in our pas­toral meet­ings, the milieu will be defined by the pas­tor. The prob­lem there is that there aren’t enough Quak­er pas­tors now, so Friends’ church­es are call­ing Bap­tists and
    Dis­ci­ples of Christ, among oth­ers, and Quak­erism is get­ting lost as these meet­ings turn into com­mu­ni­ty churches.

  • QuaC­arol

    And by the way, I don’t want to be a Ranter any more either.
    My use of the word “you” reflects my new­ness to this com­mu­ni­ty, my obser­va­tions as a non-blogging out­sider com­ing in.
    I hope to get over that short­ly. Bear with me.