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InOBU BS: The Quakers (114* d) RE: BS: The Quakers 20 Jan 11

Dear friends and Friends

Alan, thy immage of a hippo dancing is a wonderful opening. I have to run down and open the theater at 8 this morning, so I may not finish this in one go, as I also wish to comment on our process and varrious witnesses for peace... but, here goes.

Has thee ever seen a Hippo underwater? In the right place, in the Shaker sense (by turning we come 'round right) a Hippo can certainly dance. A Catholic friend once said to me that after she took her classes towards her communion, her mother said, "before you take communion and join the church, ask yourself is this where I hear God the loudest, don't feel you would disapoint me if you don't become Catholic, I want you to go where you hear God's voice the loudest."

Some one here asked what is Quakerism. I gave a short answer about empting the will to allow God in...

In silence, in waiting on the lord or for light in meetings for worship with an intent on business, we sit in silence to weigh our light, is it the corporate leading, or is it our ego.

Some in worship give self serving messages about their own goodness in varrious situations using themselves as examples. They speak week after week, and should be gently eldered, and sometimes are... it seldom works. The self osborbed are often a burden we must bear with love and tollerance.
On the other hand, in business meetings, there are those who bully and behind the scenes politic for the sake of pride and gain. Each member should have the power in a well disaplyned Quaker meeting to make the meeting pause and consider - as very often the minority view is proved by history to be the correct one, for example the underground railroad was always a minority undertaking in our faith, as was membership for Black Friends for some decades after slavery ended.

Without this loving restraint a few grow to lead backed by a good number in the meeting, a majority who, as Billy Bragg once said trade "anything for the quiet life) and a sad and tormented minority... (I'm sad, others are litterally tormented by what has been done to their children, their service to the meeting... and other things.)

When we abandon the method by which we approach God in seeking unity in the Meeting, for profit of the schools, so that we may use slave made goods - the product today of the unfree labor of our American neighbors now in prison... we cheepen the witness of those of us who refused to be sent to war. I cannot tell you how many in the Vietnam years looked at my status as a C.O. and said I was a coward.

If we do not courageously follow our faith, we can seem to avoid war for fear alone. Some of us then went to war as witnesses, not with guns, but with medical bags, with aid to the "enemy" in the form of food and medicine, or with a camera and note pad.

Yes, no human community is perfect - however, we Friends created a practice of disaplyn and eldership to make ours a corporate journey towards truth. When that is led without faith, well, we are damned.

Thine, Lorcan

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