We have been created with gifts – awareness, comprehension, will, empathy – to do the work of Life. We can play with these gifts – and it is only by playing with them that we learn to use them well – but in play we risk falling into traps of self-indulgence, we risk blunting and distorting the vital purposes of our gifts and our lives.
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.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” This was Cain’s retort to God after committing the first cold-blooded murder in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic record. And even though God banished Cain to a lifetime of “restless wandering upon the earth,” God remained silent on the question of Cain’s obligations to his brother.
I received more reaction to my posting, The Iconification of Nelson Mandela and American Racism, than for any other of the 257 postings that I had done in almost seven years. Some of the responses were supportive, some critical, and some “yes, but.” Below is my original newsletter article, followed by a sampling of the responses.