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Quaker Culture

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Quaker Culture: Positive Health [The] springs of positive health and the roots of preventative medicine are deeply buried in the life of the spirit and of religion. . . Therefore, the doctor must say to everyone that positive health requires the coordinated and balanced culture of the body, mind, and spirit.

Issue: On Healers (August 2023)

Quaker Culture: Direct Experience [The] Lord opened my spirit . . . [and] gave me the certain and sensible feeling of the pure, which had been with me from the beginning . . . such an inward demonstration and feeling of the seed of life, that I cried out in my spirit, “. . . there is not another, there never was another.”

Issue: On Perception (March 2023)

Quaker Culture: Smiting Words [When the] servant [of God] . . . is commanded to smite the rock, [he should] do so, and when to speak calmly to do so. Let the consequence be as it may. And I believe many precious gifts have been greatly marred and some lost by endeavoring to please.

Issue: On Conflict (January 2023)

Quaker Culture: Gather Together And know the life of God in one another, and the power of God in one another . . . Mind that which is eternal, which gathers your hearts together up to the Lord, and lets you see that ye are written in one another’s hearts; meet together everywhere.

Issue: On Cooperation (September 2022)

Quaker Culture: The Tragic Gap The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap – a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be. It is a gap that never has been and never will be closed. If we want to live nonviolent lives, we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility in hopes of being opened to a third way.

Issue: On Place (May 2022)

Quaker Culture: Practice [We] must remember that there is one worse thing than failure to practice what we profess, and that is to water down our professions to match our practice.

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Quaker Culture: Living Now Between the relinquished past and the untrodden future stands this holy Now . . . In the Now we are at home at last. The fretful winds of time are stilled, the nostalgic longings of this heaven-born earth-traveler come to rest. For the one-dimensional ribbon of time has loosed its hold. It has by no means disappeared. We live within time, within the one-dimensional ribbon. But every time-now is found to be a continuance of an Eternal Now, and in the Eternal Now receives a new evaluation. We have not merely rediscovered time; we have found in this holy immediacy of the Now the root and source of time itself.

Issue: On Freedom (January 2022)

Quaker Culture: Authentic Community In a true community we will not choose our companions, for our choices are so often limited by self-serving motives. Instead, our companions will be given to us by grace. Often, they will be persons who will upset our settled view of self and world. In fact, we might define true community as the place where the person you least want to live with lives!

Issue: On Cliques (September 2021)

Quaker Culture: Transparency We counsel less mystery and more openness towards those who are worthy of confidence. If men conceal from their nearest connections in life a knowledge of the actual state of their affairs, they may deprive themselves of helpful advice, and kind participation in trouble; expenses may be incurred, and subsequent distress may ensue, which might have been avoided.

Issue: On Debt (July 2021)

Quaker Culture: Challenge We are sometimes told that the only way to change society is to change its members individually. But this is not only unduly pessimistic; it involves a disregard of man’s nature as a social being and what is implied by our membership one of another. Because man is a social being, the spiritual level of a whole society can be lifted permanently by a few dedicated individuals, and a great reform such as the abolition of slavery can be brought about even though in other respects the ethical development of the mass of its members remains substantially unchanged. This fact is at the same time an encouragement and a challenge to all who are working for human progress.

Issue: On Tricks (May 2021)

Quaker Culture: The Right Track Religious education, it seems to me, is on the wrong track if it assumes that religion is something that must be drilled into people. It is on the right track if it recognizes that the source of religion is within us as a native endowment, and that the function of education is to call this endowment forth, supply it with the nourishment it needs in order to grow, and guide it in ways that promote maturing.

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

Quaker Culture: Creativity We hate to admit that we are confused, desperately longing for direction. We seem to deny that man was made in the image of God and that we are meant to be creative too, each in our own way. . . If the artist’s work is his worship, [then]. . . Greed will have to go. Greed, which is hunger for the power that money can buy . . . Speed will have to go. Speed, which kills the craftsman and his work, which spoils the enjoyment of nature, dulls our senses, prevents meditation and the maturing of a growing mind. . . We must recapture what we have lost; we must fight for our faith, fight our way back to God. We must become creative again, whole again, and aware of our responsibilities for a new moral order. (1952)

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

Quaker Culture: Guidance Dearly beloved Friends, these things we do not lay upon you as a rule or form to walk by; but that all, with a measure of the Light, which is pure and holy, may be guided: and so in the Light walking and abiding, these things may be fulfilled in the Spirit, not in the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

Issue: On Rules (November 2020)

Quaker Culture: Education The attitude of the Society of Friends towards education has been determined by their belief in the Inner Light. Holding as they do that there is something of the divine in every [person], they have regarded education (in the broadest sense) as the developing of the Divine Seed, or the fanning into a flame of that Divine Spark . . . To Friends, therefore, education is an intensely religious thing; it means the training and development of the spiritual life, the liberating of the Divine that is within us.

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Quaker Culture: Understanding Oh, that men could . . . not lean to their own understandings, nor idolize their own apprehensions and conceivings, but wait to receive understanding from God, who giveth liberally of the true wisdom to those that ask and wait aright! . . . He that will be truly wise must first become a fool, that he may be wise; that is, he must not strive to learn in the comprehensive way of man’s wisdom and prudence the things of God’s kingdom; but feel the begettings of life in his heart, and in that receive somewhat of the new and heavenly understanding . . .

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

Quaker Culture: Wealth [In seventeenth century England], nonconformists like Quakers were barred from universities, professions and public office, and so turned to trading and industry instead. . . The work ethic of the Quakers and their simplicity of speech and life quickly led to prosperity and property, and that property soon included ownership of the industrial base of factories and transport and their financial underpinnings through banking. In other words, despite the almost otherworldliness of their conscience and spiritual practices, the Quakers were instinctive capitalists. . .  The ethics of this are clear: once it is impossible for a family to own their immediate means of production, the owners of such means have various ethical obligations to their workers. The history of Quaker businesses demonstrates [their] keen sense of that obligation.

Issue: On Wealth (May 2020)

Quaker Culture: Simplicity Simplicity does not mean that all conform to uniform standards. . .  The call to each is to abandon those things that clutter his life and to press toward the goal unhampered. This is true simplicity. Friends are watchful to keep themselves free from self-indulgent habits, luxurious ways of living and the bondage of fashion. . . But this does not mean that all life is to be poor and bare, destitute of joy and beauty. . . Simplicity, when it removes encumbering details, makes for beauty in music, in art, and in living.

Issue: On Art (March 2020)

Quaker Culture: Accordance We do not come alone to the meeting. For the needs of those within and without the meeting sit down with us . . . in the person of our bodies which connect us with the whole of the natural creation and every exchange of breath reveals our profound dependence on the rest of nature and discloses to us our responsibility for it. They sit down with us in the persons of those who actually sit with us, each of whom is the center of a world . . . and who yearns as I do for the great tendering, the new angle of vision, the regrouping within, that would respond to the deepest thing we know. They sit down with us, the wretched and the poor of the earth, both in spirit and in body, and a new feeling sense of our unity with them may be opened in that sitting.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

Quaker Culture: Unpopular Stands If pressure is brought upon you to lower your standard of integrity, are you prepared to resist it? Our responsibilities to God and our neighbor may involve us in taking unpopular stands. Do not let the desire to be sociable, or the fear of seeming peculiar, determine your decisions.

Issue: On Separation (November 2019)

Quaker Culture: Hospitality And hence came the worthy family [of Judge Thomas and Margaret Fell] to be so renowned in the nation, the fame of which spread so much among Friends. And the power and the presence of the Lord being so much there with us, it was a means to induce many, even from far, to come thither, so that at one time there would have been Friends out of five or six counties . . . I was cherished and encouraged in the way of life by my entirely beloved friend Margaret Fell, who as a tender-hearted nursing-mother cared for me and was tender of me as if I had been one of her own children . . .

Issue: On Neighbors (September 2019)

Quaker Culture: Impossibility Do you see war as a giant, iniquitous, futile, unchristian system? Then hurl yourself against it, in full blindness to the seeming impossibility of the task. . . There are no impossibles to those who, in supreme dedication, are rooted deep in the Eternal Love.

Issue: On Control (July 2019)

Quaker Culture: Attention The art of exercising the faculty of thinking, and reflecting upon every object that is seen, ought to constitute a material branch of a good education . . .

Issue: On Puzzles (April 2019)

Quaker Culture: Harmonious Wholeness Instead of wanting to go to heaven, the practical mystic wants heaven to come down to earth.

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Quaker Culture: Spiritual Weapons [We] have been enabled to see a splendid vision of what human unity is, and of what human fellowship may be, and have of necessity been filled with a profound sense of the evil of violating this fellowship. This vision has brought us a renewed faith in the power of spiritual forces to build the structure of humanity, and to redeem it from error and wrong. . . Backed by these convictions, we hold the moral law of gentleness and forgiveness and love to be unconditionally binding upon us now. It seems a poor and pitiful thing to believe in principles except when they may have to be applied, in forgiveness only when there is nothing to forgive, in love only for those who love us. . .  May we be faithful to the vision! It bears with it a grave but splendid responsibility.

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

Quaker Culture: Diversity of Beliefs The many words and phrases Friends use for the divine life and power at the heart of the universe reflect the diversity of beliefs and variety of experiences among us. What one Friend may understand as the Inward Christ, another Friend may understand as the Ground of Being. Over the centuries, Friends have used many such words and phrases: God, the Eternal, the Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Divine Principle, the Light Within, the Inward (or Inner) Light, the Seed, the Light of Christ, Christ Within, the Living God, Lord, the Word, Power, True Silence, Spirit, Source, Grace, Presence, and others. All such terms are weak attempts to express the inexpressible – that which is beyond words.

Issue: On Mixture (November 2018)

Quaker Culture: Children In the Puritan and Calvinist cultures prevalent in 17th century Britain and America, children were believed to be born corrupted by “original sin”. Quakers rejected this doctrine, and Robert Barclay called it “an invented and unscriptural barbarism”. . . In an age when harsh punishments for children were the norm, Quaker parents rejected corporal punishment and used reason to appeal to their children. Today, the Quaker Peace Centre in South Africa conducts training for teachers on alternatives to corporal punishment in schools.

Issue: On Children (September 2018)

Quaker Culture: Clerks and Committees For Friends . . . “A lot of work happens in Quaker committees. A lot of work is done by appointed individuals. (We hesitate to call them Officers, as that sounds quite corporate or military.) A lot of work is carried out by those who know how to do it. . . Committees are appointed for action, not for stalling or burying an issue. Quaker individuals work as best they can; they are not figure-heads and do not have honorific titles. For example, the Meeting has a Clerk. In old English that meant a secretary, a servant. The Clerk and others serve the Meeting as workers, as servants, not as high-handed administrators.”

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Quaker Culture: Science and Discovery Science starts from wonder and the unceasing questioning of the free human spirit. The study of it enriches the mind through the fascinating and ever-widening picture of the universe that it provides . . . The power of the human mind when used methodically in the pursuit of truth . . . must not lead us to mistake the means for the end and to forget that in its practice we are engaged in discovering the truths of God’s creation . . .

Issue: On Expansion (May 2018)

Quaker Culture: Creativity The creative impulse is part of being human, a gift from the Holy Spirit, and a way of finding a deep connection with our Creator. . .  Creativity can be a form of worship and witness, a ministry and a calling, a way of speaking out of the silence. Like other spiritual disciplines, creative expression carries the potential for spiritual transformation.

Issue: On Music (March 2018)

Quaker Culture: Prisons The terrible sufferings of our forefathers in the prisons of the seventeenth century have given us as a people a special interest in the management of prisons and the treatment of crime. . . [There is] much work still to be done, in creating a right understanding of the nature and causes of crime, and in emphasizing the need for redemptive treatment rather than retributive punishment.

Issue: On Captivity (January 2018)

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. But we have failed to see the overall magnitude and urgency of the environmental crisis . . . We have failed to see that the environmental crisis has a towering spiritual dimension, which must be addressed if the crisis is to be resolved . . .

Issue: On Garbage (November 2017)

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. Radical not in the sense of oppositional or of extreme political identification, but in the sense of “at the root.” Hospitality lived “at the root” says everyone is welcome, everyone has a place at the table, everyone has enough, no one has too much. Rather than putting myself and my possessions at the center of the story, radical hospitality remembers that God is at the center of the story, guiding us to act as God acts.

Issue: On Home (September 2017)

Quaker Culture: Concerns in the World The pioneering quality of Quaker social work is largely due to the character of the meeting for worship. Silent waiting worship permits a fresh and direct facing of facts under conditions in which the conscience becomes sensitized. There is no screen of words and abstract concepts between the soul and reality. . . The worshiper finds a certain condition in the outside world presented to his mind at the very time at which he is seeking God’s guidance for his actions. . . . A concern develops and with it a sense of uneasiness over a situation about which something needs to be done. This uneasiness persists until the required action is undertaken either successfully or unsuccessfully.

Issue: On Politics (July 2017)

Quaker Culture: Inward Life [I] was early convinced in my mind that true Religion consists in an inward life, wherein the Heart doth Love and Reverence God the Creator, and learn to exercise true Justice and Goodness, not only toward all men, but also toward the Brute Creatures. That as the mind was moved by an inward Principle to love God as an invisible, Incomprehensible Being, by the same principle it was moved to love him in all his manifestations in the Visible World.

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

Quaker Culture: Humble Waiting And thus have we learned of the Lord: to wit, not by the high striving, aspiring mind; but by lying low, and being contented with little. If but a crumb of bread, (yet if bread,) if but a drop of water, (yet if water,) we have been contented with it, and also thankful to the Lord for it: [for it is not] by thoughtfulness, and wise searching, and deep considering with our own wisdom and reason have we obtained it; but in the still, meek, and humble waiting have we found . . . the mysteries of God’s kingdom . . .

Issue: On Insight (March 2017)

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. We may have to leave behind a need to always be right, to be obeyed, to be “the best.” We may have to leave behind a manner of speaking (either too softly or too loudly) that doesn’t communicate well what we have to say.

Issue: On Competition (January 2017)

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. What, indeed, have we to declare to this generation that is of sufficient importance to justify our separate existence . . . ?  (1956)

Issue: On Media (September 2016)

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.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

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.

Issue: On Limits (May 2016)

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.

Issue: On Beginning (March 2016)

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.

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

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. In spending their income also, Friends strive to consider how their actions affect society. They try to live within their income, are wary of incurring debts, and avoid entangling themselves in heavy financial commitments. That they may be well acquainted with their annual income and expenditures, they strive to keep clear and correct accounts.

Issue: On Money (November 2015)

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. . . What is unique to the Religious Society of Friends is its insistence that the discovery must be made by each of us individually. No one is allowed to get it secondhand by accepting a ready-made creed. Furthe

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

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 role of clerk.

Issue: On Difference (July 2015)

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. They are not creedal; they may change or develop over time; they sometimes help define our faith in a society hostile or blind to our beliefs, and they may become invisible when their need vanishes. Thus a testimony against slavery, although well known, is not now visibly practiced in America. Testimonies against taking of judicial oaths and against gambling, although often not practiced by modern Friends, still have the same basis in our faith and beliefs as they did in prior generations.

Issue: On Needs (May 2015)

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. This vocabulary consisted not so much of propositions or declarations, but of metaphors like Light, Seed, Spirit, Inward Teacher, Wisdom from Above, Life. They understood that in speaking about the Divine, metaphors (however imperfect) are all we have.

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)

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.

Issue: On Reconciliation (January 2015)

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. . . [They also] considered intemperance a social and political issue as well as a spiritual/personal one. . . In the final analysis, however, there is probably no argument that would convince a moderate drinker that the occasional drinking of alcohol is always invariably wrong in any absolute sense. But Friends have generally tried to apply higher standards to their behavior. . . The traditional Friends testimony on alcohol has long offered a good reason why we should be willing to give up something that may in and of itself be of little consequence to ourselves. We should do so because of the example we are providing for others.

Issue: On Temptation (November 2014)

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. An often-heard phrase is “Let’s hold each other in the Light.” In Quaker practice this is not translated as “I’ll pray for you to do better,” but it is a request to Spirit to help someone else out, without naming specifically what we think should happen. We are inviting the Spirit to work among us.

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

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. It also distracts others, who may need to concentrate to receive and understand the ministry being offered. If one happens to enter the meeting room just as a Friend is rising to speak, it is best to find the first empty seat by the door or to stand motionless against the wall until the speaker sits down.

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

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. Our focus is upon the practical details of our work in the world and how we deepen and strengthen our spiritual lives.

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

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 . . . our goal is to achieve a group mystical experience, deepening and enriching our individual experience; we need to start the process at the same time.  ~~~

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

Quaker Culture: Audibility When we are led to speak in Meeting, we try to do so in a way that everyone can hear. It is our custom to rise and to speak slowly and loudly so that messages are audible to all.

Issue: On Patriotism (January 2014)

Quaker Culture: Queries Friends’ Queries started early in the history of Quakers, and the primary focus of monthly Meeting for Business was once to to examine and respond to them corporately. Today Queries are sometimes used to prod us into a reexamination of our faith and how we practice it daily. Queries can be used as daily devotional readings. The Advices sometimes provide helpful suggestions as we try to put our faith into practice. We read the Advices and Queries in our Meetings for Business as a reminder and to open ourselves to the possibility of receiving useful ministry on that month’s topic.

Issue: On Deception (November 2013)

Quaker Culture: Vocal Ministry All vocal ministry comes from a divine source, and we cannot judge who will benefit nor how this will happen. Thus Friends do not rise and respond to spoken ministry in a Meeting for Worship. Friends may be inspired to follow a direction initiated in the meeting by a previous message, but this is never directed as a response to the previous speaker or to contradict or object to the message. If a message seems objectionable, consult with members of the Worship and Ministry Committee afterwards.  

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Quaker Culture: Plain Speech At the time when Quakerism began in the seventeenth century, the expression “plain speech” had a particular meaning for Friends. The plural form of the second person in English (you) was used to address someone of distinction or higher social status. The singular form (thee) was used to address one’s peers. George Fox and his Quaker followers chose to use the singular form to address everyone, reflecting a firm belief that all are equal in the eyes of God. The grammatical distinction has long since fallen into disuse, even among Quakers who continued the practice well into the twentieth century. The underlying belief, however, remains intact.  

Issue: On Superiority (July 2013)

Quaker Culture: Speaking in Meeting Friends worship in silence; it is not necessary to speak in Meeting for Worship. If we are led to speak, it is our custom not to speak more than once during an hour-long Meeting. Business Meeting is also a form of Meeting for Worship. If you have already spoken to a particular item of business, please give those who have not done so a chance to speak. When considering whether to speak a second time during a Meeting for Business, please do not repeat yourself: it is appropriate to rise and speak again only if you have something new to add.  

Issue: On Consumption (May 2013)

Quaker Culture: Unity When reaching decisions in a Meeting for Business, Friends shun consensus (a secular decision, usually comprising the common acceptable part of the opinions brought by those present). Rather, Friends seek the unity which is the result of spiritual discernment of God’s leading for the group, often an unexpected decision transcending the opinions brought by those present.

Issue: On Power (March 2013)

Quaker Culture: Transparency Perhaps because unprogrammed Friends have neither ministers nor formal worship services, people who are new to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) sometimes have the impression that our worship has no structure at all.  This impression is incorrect.  We Friends see ourselves as led by the Spirit, and we have quite a few customs, rules, and procedures that are important to us because they help us to “hear” both the Spirit and each other.  We seldom explain why we do things the way we do, nor what is appropriate behavior in and around our meetings for worship and business.  To help newcomers become aware of our procedures, and to remind older Friends of these ways that unite us, Western Friend will offer a little nugget of “Quaker Culture” in each issue.

Issue: On War (January 2013)