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.

Monday, February 12, 2007

EPILOGUE: What to do until the second coming

Quakerism: a view from the back benches
Copyright 1966 The Back Benches


In this pamphlet we have made a number of Outrageous Proposals for experimental changes in the Society of Friends. Our aim has been to suggest ways in which we might deepen our worship, improve the life of our meetings and strengthen our witness in the world. We have not tried to produce a “blueprint” for the Society; nor have we tried to comment on every aspect of Friends’ faith and practice. For us, the important thing has been to make a beginning - to stop waiting for a Second Coming or other miraculous intervention to challenge or change our lives, and to move ahead with our responsibilities as “Sons of God” and “Children of Light.”

Our discussions have raised some other topics with which we do not deal here: for example, Quakerism and the sexual revolution; the testimony on alcohol and tobacco; theological differences among Friends; and others. We may explore these further in the future.

No doubt some Friends will find our present proposals much too outrageous; others may feel the do not go far enough. In either case, we ask Friends to consider these suggestions with serious good humor, realizing that laughter as well as impassioned argument and meditative silence produced them.

As we present this first collection of observations from the back benches, we should like to commend to Friends no merely our ideas but the manner of our search. Our meetings and strivings together have persuaded us that perhaps this search is best carried on by small, self-starting groups of Friends who share a common concern for the state of the society and an openness and willingness to experiment with change.

We can’t help but hope for an enlargement of the total company of questioners and searches; and we feel a deep sense of fellowship with all those who strive to put into practice what the Light has shown them to be the truth.


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