The blogger who hosted the post is named Evans but is not, as far as I know, relaed to me.
- - Rich
Thoughts on Quaker Faith and Practice as they appear to me. Topics and Concerns: Christianity and Quakerism, Pacifism and Quakerism, Social Justice and Quakerism, Truth-telling and Quakerism, Plainness and Simplicity, New York City Quakers, Brooklyn Quakers, Liberal Quakers, Conservative Quakers.
Advice to Friends from The Yearly Meeting
1. Hold regular public meetings for worship. Wait expectantly for divine guidance. Be diligent and punctual in attendance. Believe in and depend upon our Creator.
2. Read frequently the Scriptures and other books that inspire and instruct. Encourage your families and others to do so also.
3. Be mindful of your conduct and conversation. Observe the testimonies of simplicity and moderation.
4. Observe our Christian testimony for a faithful ministry of the gospel under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Remember that all have a responsibility in ministry.
5. Parents and teachers, exercise a loving and watchful care over children and youth. Meetings, help parents and children share religious experiences at home and in the meeting for worship. Give them an understanding of the principles and practices of Friends.
6. Parents and older Friends, be sensitive to the insights of younger people and keep a close and sympathetic contact with them. Children, love and respect your parents.
7. Work toward removing the causes of misery and suffering. Support efforts to overcome racial, social, economic, and educational discrimination. Bear testimony against all forms of oppression. Work for such treatment of prisoners as may help reconstruct their lives. Work for the abolition of the death penalty.
8. Refrain from practices that are detrimental to the body or the mind, such as the use of intoxicants and tobacco, and the misuse of drugs.
9. Avoid participation in lotteries, gambling, and betting, including schemes of chance that appeal as benevolences. Refrain from hazardous speculation. Do not engage in business that may be questionable.
10. Observe integrity in your living. Inspect frequently the state of your temporal affairs. In your dealings with everyone, endeavor to maintain a truly Christian character. Bear in mind the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
11. When contemplating marriage, seek divine guidance. Marriage is a life-long union of spiritual as well as temporal concerns. If you are united in your religious faith, you are likely to find not only a firmer bond of union but also greater strength in fulfilling all of life's undertakings. Therefore, when you contemplate marriage, acquaint your families and meetings with your intentions early and seek their approval. In this way you may avoid the far-reaching consequences of hasty and ill-considered action. Keep to the simple and solemn form of our marriage ceremony.
12. Conduct funerals and memorial meetings in a sincere spirit of worship. Avoid the display of floral decorations and the wearing of mourning. Adhere to our simple ceremony.
13. Take the opportunity, on occasions when special statements or oaths are required, to advance the cause of truth by simple affirmation, thus emphasizing that your statement is only a part of your usual integrity of speech.
14. Do not take of arms against any person, since "all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons" are contrary to our Christian testimony. Beware of indirectly supporting preparations for war. Examine in this light such matters as non-combatant military service, cooperation with conscription, employment or investment in war industries, and voluntary payment of war taxes. Be prepared to accept the consequences of your convictions. Maintain our testimony against war by supporting peaceful principles and the settlement of differences by peaceful methods. Lend support to all that strengthens international friendship and understanding. Give active help to movements that substitute cooperation and justice for force and intimidation.
15. Avoid any harshness of tone or manner when administering counsel or reproof, either privately or in meetings. Speak truth with love. Remember that if you would do God's work, you must abide in God's love. Even a seeming harshness may check the beginnings of true repentance, and a lack of sympathy may cause harm where only good was intended.
16. In Friends' business meetings, when there seems to be disagreement, encourage a free expression of all opinions. When you speak in meetings for business do not be unduly persistent in advocacy or opposition. After having fully expressed your views, recognize the generally expressed sense of the meeting. A deep and seeking silence can help to reconcile seemingly opposing points of view. Conduct your Meetings in the spirit of wisdom, forbearance, and love.
Our minds sometimes trick us into thinking that we have to choose between two seemingly different and opposing things when in reality they are only two sides of the same thing. For instance, we may think that we need to choose between justice and peace, between contemplation and action, or between faith and works. We Friends, at various times in our history have been especially prone to fooling ourselves that we have to choose between an "inner" Christ or an "outer" Christ.
If we really did have to make this choice most of us would probably choose the "inner" Christ, if only because it is primarily within us that we are able to hear Him and feel His presence. The Jesus of history may seem far away and hard to be sure about. We like John's description of Christ as the Word that was with God from the Beginning, as the Life that wells up in us, as the Light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world. But John also said of this same Word that at a particular time and place it "became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth". It is important to me to know that when I wait on the living Spirit of Christ in our meetings and feel his presence here that I am also touching at least the outer hem of the garment of that man who "dwelt among us" in the flesh, who got his feet dirty walking the dusty roads of Palestine, who touched people and let them touch him, who started out as a baby and had to "grow in wisdom and in stature" just as we do. Who knew about hunger and thirst and weariness. Who could be tempted. Who was moved by compassion. Who could rejoice with his friends at a wedding and who could endure suffering and even death when that was the price of faithfulness. In worshipping his living Spirit today I am also worshipping the man Jesus Christ, not choosing one over the other.
In the dream I was in a large classroom, sitting in almost the back row. The classroom was the site of a meeting for business of the New York Yearly Meeting and the clerk of the meeting (not the person who is the actual clerk of NYYM in waking life) was sitting at the teacher's desk. Someone was reading a proposed State of the Society Report to the Meeting, which was expected to adopt it. As the reading progressed I realized that the room in which we sat was moving. Specifically, it was descending. In part of the dream it seemed to be moving downwards vertically, as an elevator would. In part of the dream it seemed to be moving down steep track as a roller coaster would. No one but me seemed disturbed by this downward motion, but as it became more rapid I began to wonder if we were moving downward at a normal pace or if we actually begun to fall.
As all this was going on I was also listening to the State of Society report and I noticed that it made no mention of a loss of members over the years. A person sitting behind me tried to get the clerk's attention to point this out but was not successful. Finally I called out "clerk,please!" and asked that something be added to the report to acknowledge our loss of members. The clerk responded that the minute had already been approved and it was time to move on to other business. Then I woke up.