In the earliest years of our faith, buoyed up by currents of the Enlightenment, Friends professed Truth as they drew it from individual revelations. Even though they shared a common Christian background and perspective, early Friends’ revelations multiplied wildly, leading to strife and confusion among them. By 1666, many prominent Friends had been executed or imprisoned, and the faith seemed destined to fizzle. What saved Friends’ faith was Friends’ invention of practices of corporate discernment, which allowed them to create some order among themselves, so they could truly function as corporate bodies (articulated), rather than merely as disperseable collectives of individuals (amorphous).
On Countries (January 2016)