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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


There are so many ways to facilitate addiction. People become addicted to their emotional responses. So, when we see Friends who are not in unity, we accept, often, the logic of their emotional responses and do not gently elder that they are causing conflict by those responses. I have seen anger break this meeting again and again. In each case, the person points to events in their past to justify their anger and mistrust, and in each case, the meeting as whole accepts that as being written in stone.

Anger is very like prejudice. It cuts the individual off from seeing the other persons point, it is a barrier, a wall against understanding built by fear. Anger is not a trait we encourage in each other. There is a good description in the Philadelphia Faith and Practice:

" In our individual lives, the peace testimony leads us to accept conflict as an opportunity for loving engagement with those with whom we disagree. That love can often be expressed in creative, nonviolent resolution of the disagreement."

When Friends use terms like "dysfunctional" to describe each other, and then that becomes the prescription for interaction that cannot lead to clearness and unity in the meeting. The fact is if Friends are not able to get along together, this break in the circle of the meeting causes rifts out from the center of the break. Traditionally Friends seek to heal that break, to heal the meeting. However, to assume that the behavior of one or the other "is" without a process of understanding, only solidifies that break, and the meeting either becomes camps backing one or the other, or individuals must leave the meeting.

We are not like the rest of the world in our intentions. Our intentions are to be an island of peace in a world of conflict. I don't see this happening much anymore.


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