We Complete Each Other

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Dear Editor: Thanks to Friend Searl for helpfully reminding us that there need be no schism between Friends led to inward devotion and Friends led to outward activism (“The Illusion of a Split,” May/June 2016). Quakers like Thomas Kelly have long noted that inwardness and outwardness interdepend like roots and fruits. And, although it is essential to cultivate both inward reflection and outward action in one’s personal life, it as also good to remember that we need not all be alike and need not each be gifted in everything. Not every activist will be gifted as a pastoral companion. Not every contemplative Friend will be gifted as a prophetic witness. We are a community, completing each other, not an army of clones striving to be alike. John Woolman and Anthony Benezet both influenced the anti-slavery movement, yet their gifts and spiritual expressions were very different. One’s Truth was directed more outward, the other more inward. Together, they did more than either alone, and the vocal ministry of both existed within a community full of silent gifts of which we seldom hear. Let’s strive for community (commonunity), not uniformity. Together, we are far more than any one gift.

–  Rob Pierson, Albuqurque Meeting (IMYM)