Uh-Oh: Beppe’s Doubts

I’ve occa­sion­al­ly thought of Beppeblog’s  Joe Gua­da as my blog­ging Quak­er dopple­ganger. More than once he’s writ­ten the post I was about to write. And more than one impor­tant arti­cle of mine start­ed as com­men­tary to one of his insight­ful articles.

So I’m wor­ried that he’s writ­ten the first of a mul­ti­part arti­cle ask­ing Is it time to leave Quak­erism. I’m wor­ried not just that Quak­erism would lose a bright Light, etc., etc, but because I know that now I’m going to have to pub­licly mull over the ques­tion that’s a con­stant back­ground hum that I try not to think about.

Update: just to prove my point, my com­ment to Joe’s post was more inter­est­ing that my post point­ing to his post. Here’s the com­ment I just left there:

There was one day in wor­ship a few years ago right around the time when my wife Julie decid­ed to leave Quak­erism when I had this odd vision. I imag­ined us as boul­ders the front edge of a water­fall. Thou­sands of gal­lons of water swept over us every day, erod­ing and scar­ring our sur­face and under­min­ing the frag­ile base we were on. When Boul­der Julie final­ly dis­lodged and fell off the precipice of Quak­erism, I real­ized that one of the rocks that had held me in place was now gone and now there was going to be even more water and pres­sure try­ing to push me off.
I say this because you’ve become one of my blog­ging rocks, some­one who con­firms that I’m not a total nut­case. If you went over the edge I’d have to reassess my sit­u­a­tion and at least take a peek down myself. At the very least I’m going to have to blog about why I’ve stayed so long. I’m sure this is only part one to my com­men­tary on these issues…

  • QuaC­arol

    “Don’t mourn, boys. Organize!”
    The Soci­ety of Friends is ripe for renew­al and revival. Don’t walk away now.

    • Hye Sung

      Still is.

  • Thanks for your thoughts Mar­tin. I have a post that I’ll put up soon in reply to your com­ments. But, this will occur after I stop hav­ing prob­lems with Blog­ger (it seems to be hav­ing major prob­lems right now) and after I post about the new Dr. Who series that is pre­mier­ing on the BBC, March 26th. Priorities…
    QuaC­arol — I’d be inter­est­ed in read­ing more about what helps you to see the Society’s ripeness for renew­al and revival. Intriguing…

  • M. Newl­in

    A cri­sis like this is some­thing almost every­one goes through, and I’m not going to try to tell you how to feel about it, but con­sid­er this:
    In the world we live in now, reli­gion is in an awk­ward posi­tion. Faiths that orig­i­nal­ly preached peace and good will are being used as excus­es to impose on peo­ples rights and start wars (not that this is any­thing new). Our Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion has always been based on the empha­sis of non-violence, kind­ness, and social jus­tice. While I under­stand it is arro­gant and most impor­tant­ly incor­rect to imply that these things are exclu­sive to us, we cer­tain­ly aren’t part of the major­i­ty. If not us then who else will stand counter to the stream?

  • Hi Joe: tomor­row I leave for the FGC “youth min­istries con­sul­ta­tion” which I think should show where the insti­tu­tion that is FGC is at. There have been some same-old same-old pro­pos­als float­ed in advance but I’ve been assured that younger voic­es are expect­ed to do most of the talk­ing. Whether these voic­es are the right voic­es and whether they’ll be bold to talk and whether they care about revival, etc., waits to be seen. I’m sure I’ll have more to say come ear­ly next week.

  • Under­stood. Have a great con­sul­ta­tion. I’ll be inter­est­ed to read what your after thoughts are.

  • QuaC­arol

    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.

  • QuaC­arol, your fan­tas­tic com­ment needs to be lift­ed up more. I’ve made it a “guest piece” on the blog so oth­ers will be able to see it (I hope/assume that’s okay). Thanks for your encour­age­ment, it means more than you know! I’ve also start­ed putting togeth­er a page of “Quak­er Ranter fan emails”:/quaker/testimonials.php since they give a hint as to the Friend­ships that are build­ing. I think a lot of this is hap­pen­ing under the radar of insti­tu­tion­al Quak­erism and maybe these can help let them know what’s happening.

  • James

    I real­ly appre­ci­ate Carol’s com­ments here. This real­ly could be a gen­er­a­tional thing. It is time for Friends to re-wrestle their her­itage from Ranters, who wor­ship the false radi­ance of their own hal­lu­ci­na­tions rather than the true Light of Christ (to quote John Wilbur & William Penn, though Wilbur didn’t men­tion hal­li­c­i­na­tion. He’s more suc­cint, he called it the Dev­il) Jesus did not come to bring peace to the world, but a sword. He will set fathers against sons and moth­ers against daugh­ters. So what are we exact­ly wait­ing for?

  • Bar­bara Smith

    Oh please dont leave…where would you go? You can be a Quak­er in your soul, in your soul, you can be a Quak­er where you go, where you go…but it would cer­tain­ly suck for us who read your blog. I’m with the writer that said change is com­ing. I am a bit apoc­a­lyp­tic by nature, but I think every­thing is going to be shak­en, and the true will emerge. Look at the excit­ing things hap­pen­ing in the world..the rev­o­lu­tion in Ukraine, the Lebonese-Syrian pull out…rock and roll hoochie coo. Change is com­ing for us fat com­pla­cent well off peo­ple. Maybe not so good things, as is fit­ting for our posi­tion in the world, but as Bushie said, ‘bring em on’. We were born for times such as these. And God will have a people.