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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Liberal v Orhodox and Quaker Process in Conflict...

Quacarol's comment to the post on Emotional Terrorsim, on the conflict in our meeting being a flaw in Liberal Friends meetings has me thinking deeply ( thank you Carol... good for me at this time... )

There are built in flaws in all human philosophies and underlying truth, transcendent truth in many. A dear and very very missed Friend once pointed out that the problem with nilism is that it is total in it's application and no one is really fully anything. So, though I am certainly a Hicksite... that is not a complete description of who I am, nor is any Wilberite or Gurneyite fully that ... and that is always the seeds of the potential for conflict among Orthodox Friends... splits happen in those areas of faith where each human is a little different.

So yes, Quaker process MAY be a lacking in Liberal meetings... per se, though I am not sure. More though, it seems to be an issue of loving trust. I have seen members who are Orthodox fall out on issues of fear to trust each other enough to come to loving resolutions of conflict as well, where anger becomes a part of the conversation and trust ends and Friends leave our society either hurt or angry.


At 5:42 PM, Blogger david said...

I went back and read your post on emotional terrorism -- and QuaCarol's attribution to liberalism and its lack of a common faith centre.

I livhin a liberal Quakerism -- Canadian Yearly Meeting lays claim to being a United Meeting but in reality the Conservative and Orthodox fragments are isolated within mostly liberal meetings.

I have seen the emotional terrorism. And I do see our fragmentedness as a part of the issue. Not so much a lack of common faith as a lack of grounding in each person's faith -- the inability to stand up to the angry or disturbed or strong-willed and say a simple 'no thank-you'.

The latest issue of the Pastoral Care newsletter from Philadelphia YM deals with this if your meeting subscribes.

Another possibility occurs. Maybe we are so steeped in traditions of nonviolence and peace that we see even minor conflicts as amjor disasters.

At 4:44 AM, Blogger QuaCarol said...

Maybe we are so steeped in traditions of nonviolence and peace that we see even minor conflicts as amjor disasters.

The other part of my point in my previous comment is that so many among us--attracted by our silence and nonviolent witness--come from alcoholic, chaotic, and abusive homes that we have no tolerance for conflict and no real coping skills when it occurs, only ossified and imprisoning defense mechanisms.

Those who grew up in angry, alcoholic families and families where empathy was distorted or lacking are incapable of standing up and saying a simple 'no thank you.' Furthermore, they are so terrified of authority figures, having grown up among tyrants, that they can't support leaders who can.

What I'm chewing on--I'm quick to say that I don't know what to do--is that our Quaker meetings are vulnerable a) because we attract these walking wounded as surely as we attract the refugees from fundamentalist childhoods, and b) we seem to be unequipped to deal with the consequences of their woundedness.

We don't have the faith, individual or communal. And, we don't have the structures, or, rather, if we have them--threshing sessions, clearness committees, eldering, strong clerking--the wounded overwhelm them with their fear and pain. Which I take to be what Lorcan is seeing too.

Furthermore, I think we're in for some bumpy times. It looks to me like all the rage and pain building up in us as a result of the powerlessness we're feeling in the face of the daily news is getting turned loose on our faith communities. It's as though we're saying, well, I can't do anything about what's going on out there, but, by God, I can straighten this committee out or I can make sure that doesn't happen!

I'll look for the Pastoral Care Newsletter. Thanks for the tip.


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