We know a lot about war talk. We speak of fighting crime, obesity, drugs, and climate change. I am currently “fighting” depression. But if Quakers seek alternatives to violence, we need to develop a practical language for building peace. It’s not enough to “smite the enemies” of the problems in our lives.
It is surprising to me that so few Friends do sports. For me, doing a sport and going to Quaker meeting are of the same intention and compulsion. If I don’t do something physical for a few days, my body hurts. If I don’t center regularly into meditation, either in a group or by myself, I feel out of sorts. For me, Quaker meeting and sports are both essential parts of an authentic life.
Dad was tight-lipped about the war years and only occasionally referenced his having been “stationed in Guam.” In sorting through my Dad’s papers to write his obituary in August 2013, I discovered his certificate for Distinguished Service as a Navigator in nine successful air flights, 1943-1945, to drop bombs on Japan during World War II.
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.