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, September 19, 2006

Placing God back at the center of our Convergence in the Society of Friends

Reaching towards each other for unity is the act of placing God at the center of our meetings and our society.

Today, we are laboring with the question is Friends Seminary a Quaker school. Some voices say that we need to immediately restore more direct direction over the school, and some say that the school has assimilated property and ownership of the institution and we must accept that the reality is that it is a separate institution and should be fully independent, possibly taking the property and no longer being called Friends Seminary.

Respectfully this is not Quakerism. In the first instance in God's time we move towards what God directs, in the second instance, God does not lead in a Quaker meeting through implication. If in the past twenty years we have shirked our responsibility to make decisions over Friends Seminary, than we must either come to unity that the job is beyond us, or we must get to work examining the issues and seeking openings towards change.

On one had some speak of separate incorporation, on the other some say they would not ever accept that. Well, in the face of an impasse we need to look at other ways that open. We must remember that it is not the schools time demands, nor ours that lead, it is God's time. If we are not doing right in our schools we do not say to our God, sorry, we are not up to the job, we seek God's direction, and admit that our polar opposite plans are both not the open way.

I think that we need more direct involvement in the schools and the only way to accomplish this is programs which seek out Quaker teachers and students. A school that has almost no Quaker students or Quaker teachers is not ready to become independently Quaker. In these days when we have been made afraid of terms that defined us as Liberals, we need to reclaim the value of such words such as affirmative action. I think it is time for Quaker affirmative action to put Quakerism back in Quaker schools.

We are not ready, yet to examine the polar opposite plans, so we need to examine new middle and common ground.


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