Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, January 08, 2005



This question comes up in several present loggerheads in our meeting. I wont go into the details, other than to say that I find that whether or not a Friend self identifies as Orthodox or Conservative, the Sadduceean mind set I write of in my earlier post, defines any orthodoxy.

Hicksite Friends, in the Phariseean model, accept that the advices are not rules, and that we may not see eye to eye on the advices, but we still help each other, or at least do not block each other. On the other hand, to be orthodox: the book, the rule, the image rules. And, more, as any abstraction can be interpreted, the interpretation of the orthodox individual rules. This is why when looking at the history of Quakerism the Hicksite tradition remained somewhat stable, while the orthodoxy split into hundreds of facets.

I am not ragging on Conservative Friends. I only say, that for us to be a single community of faith, we must bend to each other. Let orthodox Friends be hard lined on their rules with each other and with themselves. However, for us to work together, there should be enough understanding that they not demand that Hicksite Friends act as if they were converted to an orthodoxy.

How does this work. I have had projects that cost me time, money and effort, vetoed by members using unity as a club. I have NEVER stood in the way of another member's light. However, even the gentlest suggestions to the meeting, that some decision was rash or not in our traditions, without objecting to a proposal and breaking unity, has often led to my censure by conservatives in the meeting. I use the small "C" on propose as some are conservatives who are not Orthodox in the traditional sense.

Instead of a split, as happened over the Hannah Bernard incident, at the dawn of the great schism, I see Friends leaving our meeting again and again burned out and angry. I sometimes have to center myself painfully in my faith in order not to follow them.


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Christine Japely said...

I am a fellow Hicksite Pharisee, if I have that right . . . and I know I am in good company. Lorcan, did you have kin on Cape Cod or Nantucket? Or were you a Friend there in an earlier life and did you collect whale oil?
Just wondering . . . .
Also, I need legal advice regarding my separation agreement from my husband . . .

At 2:51 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

My life at sea began when I was a wee asthmatic fellow and my father would take me down to the piers at City Island at 3pm when I could not breath. Back then, there was still a wooden fishing fleet which would be quite active that time of night, and it was pure magic. So, I was drawn to go to sea as soon as I could, when I became a more brawny teenager, on schooners and square riggers, seeking romance and only finding brutally hard work, which I completely hated and loved. On the water I wanted to be on the beach and on the beach I wanted to be on the water. I became an apprentice boat builder, and built boats for some 11 years. I actually did sail on a square rigged whaler, no longer hunting whales of course, a Scandinavian ship in my late teens. So, yes there is some whale oil in my blood, but I don't have the honor of being a Nantucketer or a Bedford man.

As to legal advice, having a Juris Doctorate, without being a member of the New York Bar, I cannot give thee legal advice, but I can tell thee where to get it. Genie is a member of the New York Bar, and if the question is outside her field of law, she or I can give thee another referral, but she does have a very broad practice.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

Sometimes an argument or disagreement or misunderstanding between two friends is just an argument or disagreement or misunderstanding between two friends and not a confrontation between world-views or isms.


Post a Comment

<< Home