Quaker Culture

Quaker Culture: Radical Hospitality

Three principles which are especially relevant to this effort [to act in accordance with perfect virtue] are inclusiveness, self-sacrifice, and noncoercion, which are each part of the nature of God. Our practice of these principles may be grouped together as radical hospitality.

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Quaker Culture: Environmental Awareness

[Friends are not sufficiently] sensitized to environmental issues, and the result has been that we are now only slightly more awake to their significance than the average American . . . [As] individuals, many of us have become involved with environmental organizations, or have spoken out on special concerns within the environmental arena.

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Quaker Culture: Contributing to Decisions

Decisions [among Friends] are not made based upon how many agree most and most loudly, but upon whether the speaker has caught the Sense of the Meeting and articulated it well. Speaking twice does not give your words more weight. . . . We may have to train ourselves out of some of the attitudes we have learned from the cultures we grew up in.

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Quaker Culture: Speaking Up

“Have you anything to declare?” is a vital challenge to which every one of us is personally called to respond and is also a challenge that every meeting should consider of primary importance. It should lead us to define, with such clarity as we can reach, precisely what it is that Friends of this generation have to say that is not, as we believe, being said effectively by others.

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Quaker Culture: Unorthodoxy

[The] very raison d’etre of Quakerism lies in the claim that a passionate unorthodoxy is nearer to the truth than a habitual orthodoxy. . . We believe that mere orthodoxy has little value, and that confused, muddled thought of God is better than the repetition of formulas without thought; that it is better to think wrong than not to think at all.

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Quaker Culture: Brevity

Brevity is an under-appreciated virtue. If you speak [during Quaker worship], do not feel compelled to explore all the implications of your insight. Rather, leave room for the Spirit to work through the next person, building on your words and possibly extending them in an unexpected direction.

- Baltimore Yearly Meeting (2007)

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Quaker Culture: Speaking and Silence

[In Quaker worship,] words should not break the silence, but continue it. For the Divine Life who was ministering through the medium of silence is the same Life as is now ministering through words. And when such words are truly spoken “In the Life,” then when such words cease, the uninterrupted silence and worship continue, for silence and words have been of one texture, one piece.

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Quaker Culture: Right Action

For Friends the most important consideration is not the right action in itself but a right inward state out of which right action will arise. Given the right inward state right action is inevitable. Inward state and outward action are component parts of a single whole.

Howard Brinton, 1943.

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Quaker Culture: Income

In earning income by work or by investment, Friends try to keep in mind the good of the community at large, not simply themselves. They strive to be strictly honest and truthful in their business dealings, refuse to manufacture or deal in commodities that are hurtful to society, and guard against gaining undue profit at the expense of the community.

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