Remaining hopeful in trans* controversy
Clark R says liberal Friends need to stay engaged with George Fox University:
Despite how horrifying many aspects of this situation are, I am choosing to remain hopeful. I do not wish to unequivocally condemn GFU as awful and discriminatory and therefore a lost cause.
Prophesy and Quaker discernment
A look at social action and Quaker process from Anthony Manousos:
My response to that question is that Friends involved in peace and justice work often feel disengaged from the corporate body. What I have observed in my many years as Peace Committee clerk is that many Friends have individual callings to work on this or that cause, and are not aware of how our Quaker practices and process helps us to become interconnected as a religious community.
Johan Maurer reports back from Northwest Yearly Meeting
A Quaker look at controversies bubbling in the background:
Our yearly meeting sessions were probably not as dramatic as reporters might have hoped, but in a spiritual sense they were very dramatic indeed. Controversies over sexual minorities have cut a swath through many Christian denominations. Maybe our little Quaker body has not yet felt the full force of this storm, but my interim report is that we are firmly resisting the polarizing forces.
Are Friends open to new leadership and ideas?
Scott Wagoner looks at our unwillingness to embrace risk:
It often reveals itself when someone new to Quakerism assumes a leadership role, and their new ideas are met with suspicion and ambivalence. We love having new folks in leadership and on committees; we’re just not too comfortable with new ideas and approaches to ministry. It would just be easier if the new leadership would simply implement the old and familiar ways.
Pursuing new legal options for conscientious objection
Roger Vincent Jasaitis thinks Quakers should look at legal redress for war taxes:
What avenues need to be explored to test this argument in our legal system? Can we sometime in the near-future legally pursue our conscientious objection to war through not paying taxes to fund military activity but by paying taxes to fund peace processes?
Are we reacting to the wrong type of Christianity?
Craig Barnett suggests we may be missing the Quaker view of Christianity:
The most interesting aspect of these conflicting attitudes is that both those Friends who reject Christianity and those who defend it often share an understanding of Christianity that was explicitly rejected by the first Quakers.
Is God the elephant in the room?
John Edminister thinks we may have two “elephants” to content with:
The second unmentionable elephant in the room is the Deceiver. I have no inside information on his – or its – nature or ontological status: has ‘he’ a consciousness, a will-to-power, a hatred of all that God loves? Is he/it merely a life-defiling, truth-denying, soulless algorithm generated by the collective unconscious of fallen humanity?
Quaker phoneyness and echo chambers
Emerging Quaker asks who we emulate:
But in a faith group that levels hierarchy, that has no paid priesthood and no accepted path to ordination that sets some apart as leaders and sages, we are faced with the problem of the Friend who didn’t know what to think of Thomas Kelly: How do we decide who to emulate? Whose wisdom we should trust and follow? How do find our elders, mentors, and wise counselors?
Quaker physicist George Ellis on science and ethics
The Quaker scientist talks of differences between empirical methods and ethics:
Attempts to explain values in terms of neuroscience or evolutionary theory in fact have nothing whatever to say about what is good or bad. That is a philosophical or religious question. And they cannot for example tell you, from a scientific basis, what should be done about Israel or Syria today. That effort would be a category mistake.