The post about the end of NCYM-FUM has been read widely. And a question has recurred in comments across Facebook and in other media. It is:
How did this happen??
It’s a legitimate question; and it’s one we’ve been grappling with for three years. It’s also one this blogger is feeling a bit overwhelmed at having to try to explain again and again for those who are new to the saga.
Yet it’s important for concerned Friends to have answers for it.
So I’ve compiled a review, a list of many of the blog posts produced here as this process unfolded, and NCYM-FUM basically underwent assisted suicide. To my knowledge, whatever its shortcomings, there is no other comparable record of these events extant.
[And BTW, the suicide motif was used explicitly in an NCYM-FUM memorial/campfire on Friday, after the final session opened. That is, it’s not just a blogger’s lurid invention; it was spoken, and it fits.]
NCYM-FUM-the last “campfire.” It looked more like a pyre, something going up in smoke.
The posts listed here are in chronological order. They include links to many documents produced in the process, official and unofficial. Many of these are, in my view, quite impressive; others are shocking.
Much of the context is filled in, in mosaic fashion, along the way. As you’ll see, I have not hidden my views about the events, but have taken as much care as I could to back up factual statements.
In gathering this, I’m abashed at how often I underestimated the lengths that some would go to achieve their goals. At first it was to purge all “liberals.” But in the end, having failed at that, it was to destroy the body. To get to the goal, their own Faith & Practice was tossed aside; mincemeat was made of honest Quaker practice; and then, repeated resort to downright chicanery; no I didn’t expect that, or figured any such attempts could be stopped; silly me. The drawing I borrowed from Sherlock Holmes could have been used on several occasions.
But is this not also the larger story of our time? Too many like me, over the past eighteen months, kept believing what we were told daily by “experts” we then respected, that the terrible thing looming and thickening and darkening over the entire land would not, could not possibly come to pass — “Now, now, it’ll be all right” — there would be no such tornado, or tsunami.
But beginning last November, it did happen, and the storms have not abated. The shock has dulled, but not yet worn off; many of us have still not fully regained our balance.
The impact of that cataclysm is still with us, but it was useful in clearing the air around NCYM. For one thing, it brought into view what I call the “Blockbuster Effect,” the stunning (to me) recognition of how little that was crucial to Quakerism, religion or life was actually at stake in this yearly meeting’s fate. When push comes to shove (as it now has) , we don’t really need it anymore.
For another, to me at least, it abruptly revised priorities. NCYM’s self-destruction was largely pushed aside by bigger events: since last winter, much more energy has gone into such things as the struggle [not yet over] to preserve heath care. I believe many others among the beleaguered “liberals” in NCYM-FUM have come to feel something similar.
And after all, those of us who labored to fend off the purge ultimately succeeded: we weren’t forced out. This is not Indiana, where the purgers purloined the name and a legal claim to being the “real” yearly meeting. Nor is it Northwest, where a closed Establishment is condescending to its LGBT-friendly meetings, offering to establish a toy mini-YM for them, like a mollifying sandbox for unruly preschoolers. There are welcome signs from out there that the deportees may be wakening from the spell of this faux authority, and beginning to stretch their own wings.
No, Carolina is different: liberals here, for what it’s worth, stood up for their legitimacy, foiled the purge, and gained equal standing in the sanctified ATM machine which is all NCYM leaves behind. This won’t be worth much money, but it preserves the legitimacy of their identity as Quaker Christians, which is, after all, what the 320 years (and much of the purge effort) was all about.
Yes, I’m proud of us. Even this much took guts.
The doormats stood up in Carolina
In a way that’s hard to articulate, NCYM’s protracted, often absurdly pathetic, holy histrionics feel related to this larger struggle. But they are not a substitute, and have also been a colossal distraction from it, one that, please God, may now be receding behind us.
So, here for interested Friends, is the tale of Carolina’s Quaker götterdämmerung, a Grand Old soap opera, if there ever was one, in many acts.
March 2015: Thunder In Carolina & NCYM Letters (from Quaker Theology)
May 2015: Lunch with the Anti-Christ at Western Quarterly Meeting
June 2015: D-Day for Carolina Quakers–Or Maybe Not
June 2015: Carolina Quaker Witch Hunt: Here Comes The “Auditing Committee”
July 2015: Farewell to Doormat Quakerism?
August 2015: Bombshell! Three NCYM-FUM Meetings are Expelled
September 2015: Another NC Meeting Bails Out. Who’s Next?
November 2015, An important sidebar: Quakers & The KKK--The Real Thing, Not the Rumors
March 2016: A “Blockbuster” Report: “Streaming Quakerism” Is Coming to Carolina
August 2016: North Carolina YM Split: Stick A Fork In It
January 2017: Another Day, Another Split Attempt— Same Old Target: North Carolina YM
March 2017: The Shoe Drops (Yet Again) for North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM
August 2017: Breaking: North Carolina YM-FUM Shuts Down