A Friend After 50 Years

A record of one journey into a peculiar type of Quaker Christianity, and a bit of silliness to boot.

Location: Arkansas

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Problem with Quakerism Today

No, I don't really have anything to say about that topic. Other than I'm tired of it at the moment. Not that it hasn't produced a lot of soul-searching, study, sifting, and so forth.

But I want comments! And using a subject heading like "The Problem with Quakerism Today" (PQT)is, I think, as provocative a title as I can think of. In Quaker blogworld, its as titillating as "naughty nurse webcam" would be elsewhere.

Sure, I know the title alone isn't sufficient to draw any comments. I need something trenchant, probing.... let's see....

The PQT is...is... ah, its late and I have to get up and go to work tomorrow. And, as I said, I'm not all that hep on this at the moment. Maybe Quakerism is exactly what its supposed to be. Has been where it needed to go at the time. And is going where it needs to go from here. Nah, that won't get those comments! I've got to think... need something better.... who's ox shall I gore? Tree huggers? Christians of Norwegian-Irish descent? Carnivores? Must think...but getting...so tired....


Blogger earthfreak said...

Having just ranted about Gathering "themes" on an earlier post of yours, I am now tempted to offer this as the theme of a future gathering! what do you think? Just jump right in there for a massive kvetch-fest ("kvetch" is one of my favorite new words!)

But really, what if quakerism is exactly where it should be? what a concept! I like it. And it's been where it should have been, and will go where it's going. wow wow wow.

Of course I think that the problem with quakers is that they aren't all just a little bit more like me. Why can't we all be vegetarian universalists and give up our cars? I'm actually okay with some people not being gay, or having straight hair, y'all don't have to be exactly like me!
Oops, I'm rehasing another post, aren't I?

Oh well

that's it for tonight, getting verrrrry sleeepppy........



8:21 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...


I'm with you about the grand themes. Not sure I'd even suggest "right where we should be....etc." I suppose it could sound a little self-satisfied. I'd prefer something along the lines of: "Quakers Meeting Again: 2007."

Perhaps the only Problem with Quakers is that we're human. Thus, we have all the same problems of communication, differeing expectations, resistance to that which we do not want, etc., that all other humans do.

I agree that we all should get rid of our cars. Except for musicians: we need'em to haul our gear around!


9:09 AM  
Blogger Thee, Hannah! said...

Human-ness is such a bugger, isn't it? We'd get so many great things done if we weren't . . . human.

I must confess the PQT discussions invariably snow me because I don't really feel like Quakerism is self-destructing. "Right where it should be" might be a bit of a stretch, but I don't imagine we're in any worse shape than anyone else--look at the Catholics, overhauling mass! Which is not to say we're perfect, but it seems to me we're still causing social unrest/reconstruction and making contributions far out of proportion with our relatively miniscule number of followers.

10:59 AM  
Blogger earthfreak said...

"Quakers, Meeting again"

Well, whaddya know? plain speech, who'da thunk it??

I love it!

I've actually been thinking about this today because I had a conversation with friends who are adopting a 15 year old who is currently in the foster care system. They are frustrated with what they feel is an overwhelming response (largely from our quaker community) of "what, are you crazy? don't you know that that's HARD?" Not to be a party pooper, but I do think that is a problem with quakerism, (not that it's "solved" in any other religion) - where did we get the idea that following leadings (or doing Gods work) is easy???

Now this problem won't be solved by kicking out the atheists, or the christians, or by wearing suspenders or caps or grey clothes. heck, it won't even be solved by giving up our cars (though if it were, many more of us might!) or going vegetarian! (ditto)

"exactly where we should be" is definitely too smug!

3:30 PM  
Blogger Thee, Hannah! said...

Isn't that the hard part about being dedicated to anything? Not that Quakerism is an exception, but I can't imagine it's an exclusively Quaker problem.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...


I'm surprised Friends would respond that way. Maybe I live a sheltered life here in Arkie-Okie land. Perhaps when I weary of Friends complaining about each other, I really don't know what they're facing. Perhaps I'd be kvetching too! Hopefully though, I'd labor patiently for unity, finding in these dilemmas opportunities for ministry. I'm getting too old to go running around looking for another spiritual home. If I can throw in a truly counter-countercultural word here, commitment seems to be a watchword for me these days.

Hannah, "right where we should be" was modified with "going where we need to go" in my original post. Underlying that are some theological ideas that are not well-formed or easily expressed for me at the moment, at least not in brief.

But more concretely, I guess what I mean is that I'm losing interest in the PQT, which at the moment seems too large-scale a concern. I need to conserve my energy for my own spiritual journey and the life of my meeting.

Which means I am not going to end this post with something like: "And if all you kvetchers out there would do likewise, we wouldn't be having so many problems!"

Nope, wouldn't be prudent.


8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a Quaker . . . yet, but I've become very interested in the Religious Society of Friends due to the books of Gulley and Mulholland. From the research I've done on the web, I get the impression that Quakers are just as messed up as every other Protestant group. There must be every variety imaginable, from conservative evangelicals all the way to the far, far left. Where can I find pastoral Friends like Gulley and Mulholland? That's the branch of Quakers I'm interested in. I don't live in Indiana.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Dave Carl said...

You might try looking here

Good luck, I hope you find the Friends you are looking for!


11:29 AM  

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