Before the end of the year I posted this question on Facebook and I received an amazing string of answers. To me such an exercise is powerfully expressive of Quaker faith, which is not doctrinal but expressed in the individual experiences of those who practice. I think these answers together create a lovely poem expressive of the multitude of ways that Quakers understand and experience Quaker faith. If you'd like to view the whole conversation, ...
Note: Here is a poem, which came to me in worship, to celebrate the Winter Solstice. - Lucy
The snow is melting, the air is crisp
I sit in meeting for worship
Notice the ticking of the clock
A siren screeches
The benches creak
Bodies situate them selves
Resting their bones
Taking a breath, waiting
The noise revs up in my head
The ‘to do’ list, the moments I said the wrong thing, the news of a friend’s illness
The awareness of all the walls we erect to keep what will heal...
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore: Isaiah 2:4
What I love about this quote—both its content and its historicity— is what it signifies about the seemingly human-ness of our yearnings for peace. Some impulse in the human Spirit has been calling us to a time when we can lay down our fear and our hatred and to not “learn war anymore,” a time when we can transform our destructive energy into something more constructive. Humans have...
I used to often struggle with the proper relationship between peace and justice. More specifically, I wrestled with whether or not it is ethical to ask folks who are living in deplorable, violently oppressive conditions to vie for peace when there is such a glaring absence of justice in their daily lives. In many ways, the answer to this question continues to shape my understanding of the question of peace in the modern world.
My first attempt at resolving this coincided with my intellectual journey. On the one hand, I would read the work of such luminaries as Martin Luther King, Jr...
Studying English in college, one of the things I loved most about literature of all kinds was how it connected me so deeply to the humanity of people living in other centuries and other countries. Now I love reading old publications down in the American Friends Service Committee's (ASFC) archives for the same reasons—to marvel at how language has changed while our core beliefs have remained the same.
In December 1967, AFSC placed an advertisement in The New York Times with the headline, “What days are holy?” It read, “At this time of the holy days of four world faiths—Christianity,...