Quaker Culture

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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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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