Integrity

Our Debt to America’s Indigenous

A movement is spreading across the country to embed in many types of American cultural institutions a routine and repeated statement – verbal, written, or both – acknowledging that European culture displaced the landholdings of Indigenous peoples. Several Quaker monthly meetings now open each session with a verbal statement like this, as do some regional and yearly gatherings.

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John Woolman’s Remedies for a Disease

Until a century ago, the term “consumption” referred to the disease we now call tuberculosis (TB). The understanding was that the illness consumed the lungs, which was why people got a persistent cough and eventually coughed up blood. “Consumptive” people were often sent to sanatoriums in the hope of healing and to prevent the spread of the disease to others, but most died.

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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.

Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (2013)

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On Heritage

Choose life: It’s a good rule of thumb. But the life I have inherited is one that’s built on killing. While I’m safely minding my own business (in a wealthy suburb in the richest nation that’s ever existed), killing and the threat of killing are adding to the wealth of the nation I live in.

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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.

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We Complete Each Other

Dear Editor: Thanks to Friend Searl for helpfully reminding us that there need be no schism between Friends led to inward devotion and Friends led to outward activism (“The Illusion of a Split,” May/June 2016). Quakers like Thomas Kelly have long noted that inwardness and outwardness interdepend like roots and fruits.

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Practical Mystics

Dear Editor: We Quakers have been called practical mystics. The title of our handbook makes it plain: Faith and Practice. Our prayer and our witness are a tightly woven fabric. Inseparable yet unique. The warp and woof of our witness. We cannot have one without the other. This is our charism. And our challenge.

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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.

- Baltimore Yearly Meeting (2007)

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