This past year, I started coming to grips with the fact that I am not a political scientist; I am not a sociologist. I have finally, after more than a decade, let go of some of those college textbooks. I accept that I will never rewrite the thesis I should have written for Poli-Sci. I am not a debater. I am not a diplomat. As it turns out, I am a musician.
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.
Dear Friends: Conflict in our meetings is often not resolved in a manner satisfactory to all involved. Frequently, some individuals or groups are left on their own to swallow changes they are not ready for. This happens even though much willingness to being open to a way forward has been experienced within the meeting.
Dear Editor: I wanted to thank you for undertaking a group discussion by videoconference. I listened to the entire hour. One type of “bullying” that did not come up is the personal use of the silence as a bully pulpit (I call it “Quaker open Mic”). I have participated in a number of meetings in different parts of the West. A weighty Friend in one meeting produced a sermonette each First Day.
Dear Editor: How perfect! We are about to have a retreat here in Flagstaff with a focus on the question of Friends and politics. We were going to try to put together a compilation of quotations from “historic Friends” on this topic. And we have found on your website that you have done it for us. You are always so timely and in tune with Meetings in the West!