Competition has a bleak reputation among Friends. It brings out extremes in people, and Friends are inclined toward moderation. For some competitors, the demands of adversity arouse a vile nature in them, and Friends would rather ignore our shadow sides. However, for most of us, particularly most children and youth, our most extreme selves also express the best in us.
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)
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.
I recently realized some of my small everyday acts both meet my own needs, and give testimony to the Quaker value of simplicity. Here are two examples:
Six months after Sister Alegría (née Beth Blodgett) and I moved to Honduras in 2006 and began to live our Methodist-Quaker monastic life, cell phone service came to this remote region of the country.
Dear Friends: Liberal unprogrammed Quaker meetings are organized or disorganized by committees. Without an identified pastor or priest, we count on the wisdom of committees.
A Quaker Prayer Life
by David Johnson
Review by Helen Gould
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