Friends, permit me to announce formation of a new project for our Religious Society, namely The Committee for New Quaker Cliches, or CNQC. The need for this body hit me like a thunderbolt while attending a large yearly meeting awhile back. There I was, sitting and trying to pay attention, but feeling ever more uneasy, and not sure why.
I’m writing this post as a form of procrastination.
What’s being put off here is resuming the labor of writing down an explanation of Quakerism for a teenaged Quaker – let’s call her Lucretia. She feels strongly identified with the liberal wing of the Religious Society of Friends (RSOF), but has been having trouble answering questions about it from her peers.
This is a guest post, from our Friend John Calvi. John, for those who don’t know, is a Quaker massage therapist and healer who lives in Vermont. John has many interests and concerns, but here he speaks about his journey with and through the AIDS crisis, on the occasion of World AIDS Day.
In the NY Times today there is a pair of OpEd pieces occasioned by the 150th anniversary of the execution of John Brown, in Charles Town WV, which is today. These short essays offer much food for thought by Friends on the subject of war.
One article, by David Reynolds, praises Brown, whose raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry was meant to spark a southern slave revolt, as a national hero of freedom.
At Thursday morning’s program (Jan. 15, 2009), attendance was down significantly from yesterday. Is it just me, or could the smiling positive pietism be wearing on the patience of many?
The morning’s panel, entitled “Speak Truth to Power,” was another “surprise” lineup, not identified until we showed up. Yet in fact it was utterly predictable, made up of church lobbyists, all based in Washington.
The conference speaker Wednesday night was a welcome improvement. Alexie Torres Fleming’s story is easy to summarize: born and raised poor in the south Bronx, she escaped from a collapsing neighborhood into middle class respectability, but then was drawn back to live and work in her home turf. She now operates a youth program.
I’m here in Philadelphia, at a conference entitled “Heeding God’s Call” . It started on Tuesday Jan. 13, 2009 and will extend into Saturday the 17th.
It’s supposed to be about strengthening the peace witness of churches and other faith groups, but especially that of the so-called “Historic peace Churches,” namely Quakers, Mennonites & Brethren. These three groups, especially the first, made up the large majority of the 270 or so persons I counted present in the opening session.