Quaker Culture

Quaker Culture: Testimonies

Friends’ testimonies are descriptions of actions and behaviors that have characteristically sprung from the very foundation of shared Quaker beliefs. They are neither proscriptive nor prescriptive, but descriptive of Friends’ lives.

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Quaker Culture: Discovery

“What is Quaker Faith? It is not a tidy package of words, which you capture at any given time and then repeat weekly at a worship service. It is an experience of discovery, which starts the discoverer on a journey, which is lifelong. The discovery in itself is not uniquely a property of Quakerism. . .

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Quaker Culture: Notions

Quakers have always been wary of what George Fox called “airy notions,” speculative ideas or doctrines not rooted in our experience . . . But we tend to forget that early Friends paradoxically never seemed to be at a loss for words: they made use of a rich and evocative vocabulary to describe their experience with the Divine.

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Quaker Culture: Corporate Worship

The purpose of meeting on Sunday morning is corporate worship. Worship transcends meditation, yet meditation can be excellent preparation for worship. Meditation is inwardly focused, as one plumbs oneself and frees oneself from worldly thoughts. Worship seeks a shared communication with God, through prayer, praise, thanksgiving, petition, humble penitence, or opening to God’s leadings.

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Quaker Culture: Speaking as Equals

Friends (of the non-pastoral sort, at least) do not have a hierarchy.  No chain of command.  No higher-ups.  No in-group.  No pyramid of authority.  No ultimate decision-maker, where the buck always stops.  Nobody on the bottom, who must keep his/her head down and mouth shut for fear of retaliation.  Nobody who is powerless.  Nobody more powerful than whomever fills the temporary and limited ro

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Quaker Culture: Friends and Alcohol

Friends have expressed strong concerns about the use and abuse of alcohol for more than three hundred years. . . Yet many contemporary Friends find such [concerns] anachronistic at best. . . Early Quakers found excessive drinking especially pernicious because it interfered with one’s ability to discern the divine will. . .

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Quaker Culture: Lifting Each Other Up

One Quaker idea that is not main-stream is that we are each to help one another do the best we can. There is no place for one-upsmanship or arrogance. We try to lift each other up and consider how we might help each other thrive and enjoy the Meeting.

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Quaker Culture: Standing to Speak

Whether in meetings for worship or business, Friends stand when they offer messages. (This is not the case in very small meetings or committee meetings.) When a message is being given, other Friends do not rise or walk into or out of the meeting room. To do so can interrupt the sometimes uncertain train of thought of the speaker.

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Quaker Culture: Punctuality

If we were coming together to worship individually, each to enter into his or her own private meditation, then it wouldn’t much matter whether all arrived at the appointed time. In private meditation, the worshippers could each “settle” separately, training themselves not to be disturbed by latecomers. But . . .

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Quaker Culture: Meeting for Worship for Business

We are the inheritors of a particular way of making group decisions. This way needs to be practiced, over and over, to be learned and understood. One can not learn it simply by reading or observation: one learns through experience, trial and error. . . The business focuses upon how we make our Light visible and creative.

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