Quakers have a rich, fascinating and prophetic past – but on the whole we are not very actively involved with our future. We are the heirs and custodians of an enormous heritage of Quaker literature, buildings, spiritual struggle and historic witness, but we are investing less and less in the needs and interests of the next generation or even in the generation around us.
If left unaddressed, our youth are left ill-prepared and vulnerable to a system where war is left out of the public view, and Selective Service sweeps them up unaware. Our meetings have a responsibility to bear witness to conscientious objection and nurture the conscience that lies deep within our young people.
The backlash is devastating, the backlash is painful, particularly for folks of color who in our faith tradition see a white backlash to their dignity and to their lives. But nonetheless the backlash is going to be a part of the process and so how do we actually use the backlash to galvanize progressive sources even more? How do we unite our people even more to live our values in the time and not let the back lash undermine our efforts?
Chris Crass is a longtime organizer, educator, and writer working to build powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation. He is one of the leading voices in the country calling for and supporting white people to work for racial justice.
Coming to grips with some very basic practices, such as ordering well-made and styled clothing that is both simple and expressive, has been an unexpectedly liberating exercise, one that helps me overcome feelings of victimization and deprivation in America’s highly materialistic society. When these things become personal idols, then we need to worry.
Quakers throughout the beloved community of Friends United Meeting joined together with our fellow Friends around the world in celebrating this day. Here are a few examples.
You can tell how well your outreach is doing by seeing how attendance changes over time. You can tell how current events impact attendance. That’s both internal and external. Current events sometimes drives people to faith. Internal conflicts sometimes drive them away. My meeting’s assistant clerk said she wished she knew if the “this current conflict is making people stay away” talk my meeting had going on earlier this year was accurate. Well, I personally did head counts, so I could tell her the trends. None of that’s written anywhere, though.
Looking outdated can be a problem [for a website], because websites are for newcomers. When a seeker finds a website that looks like it hasn’t been updated in five years, they wonder “is this group still around?” In fact, a pair of first time guests at my meeting a few weeks ago explicitly told me they’d ruled out the first meeting in their Google results because the website looked so outdated.
It does apparently take a certain personality type to be dedicated to the truth above popularity or even security. That kind of personality is it seems at times flamboyant or “rude” or aggressive and self-righteous in making its point. As Redikar says about Lay: “His confrontational methods made people talk: about him, his ideas, the nature of Quakerism and Christianity, and, most of all, slavery.”
I found everything was out of date. A calendar where all the dates had passed. An old version of our “Guide to Meeting”. No mention of our website url. Random Quaker mailings and notices for Quaker programs that not longer exist. This is common in many meetings – someone posts a great event, but then it sits.