A video by the Friends Meeting of Washington teens group
Revisions to the draft petition reveal some new details as well as insight into the thinking of the black and white activists who collaborated on it. For instance, whereas the final draft refers to an anonymous “humane person” who secretly transported Job Albert out of North Carolina, the initial draft identifies him as Caleb Trueblood. Trueblood was a member of the North Carolina Standing Committee, the southern equivalent of the PMS. He was also the former master of Moses Gordon, the unnamed “fellow black” described in the petition as being in jail. Another revision to the petition clarified that the “exiles” were not only “late Inhabitants” but also “natives” of North Carolina. This change highlighted the African Americans’ birthright connection to the nation in order to buttress their right to petition Congress for redress of their grievances.
Fear should not be allowed to dictate the path of our spiritual journey. Each of us is challenged and it’s how we respond to the challenge that matters. We all have a lot to learn and the answers aren’t always conveniently laid out for us. It can take a lifetime of searching to find it
But traditional Quaker spirituality also has a strongly communal, public and embodied aspect. Quaker worship, discernment and testimony are collective, physical practices. Our physical presence with each other is crucial to the practices of worship and discernment.
Yet why has a universalist understanding of Quaker faith and practice become so important in the modern world? Why reach out beyond Quakerism’s historical Christian roots? Radical honesty and radical toleration have been core Quaker values since the very beginning of the Religious Society of Friends in seventeenth century England.
The point is that whoever takes on this work should have the time not only to recognize and respond faithfully to the leadings and ministries that arise in the life and membership of the meeting, but also to work proactively to foster a vibrant culture of eldership in the meeting.
Yes, I take courage. In this, our winter season, God can speak to us. We need to prepare ourselves, be accessible, continue active in “ministering before the Lord,” even when we don’t hear God’s voice. We need to be open to whatever messengers God chooses, including our young people.
He was my great exemplar, I wanted to be like Jesus. And so I thought, “What is it like to be Jesus? Oh, OK, they might put you on a donkey and sing Hosanna and put palm leaves in front of your donkey and be delighted with you, and on the other hand, they might kill you.” It’s a pretty big range of possibilities when you walk that walk. And so that will be true for my life as well.
I wanted to offer a short reading list with some basic background to the Quaker tradition here in hopes of helping those who are getting started out and want to know more about the history, beliefs, and practice of the Religious Society of Friends.
I learned to be careful in my own speech, not always to say the first thing that came into my head and to be as accurate as I could be. Knowing that this carefulness and respect for the truth was a basic testimony of Quakerisn made it more attractive to me.