Sitting in weekly silent Quaker worship has provided me both the freedom and nurture for ongoing, continued spiritual growth and discovery. That, in turn, led me to join with the Society of Friends, as we Quakers are formally known, and to treasure our communities of faith. Guided by sets of questions (the queries) rather than creeds, and by direct, daily experience rather than ethereal speculation, Friends embody a radical Christianity that emphasizes simplicity, equality, honesty, nonviolence and pacifism, and personal integrity.
As clerk (the presiding officer) at Friends business sessions, where all decisions are made in unity ,without ever taking a vote, I’ve learned to sense that one individual, rather than the majority, may be closer to the optimal outcome – and to allow room for “Way to open” as others unite around that position or even a third unanticipated solution that may surface to our awareness. When we’re faithful and closely follow our Guide, the process of reaching this harmony can be exquisite. When we fall short, though, what we feel can be excruciating, ultimately demanding forgiveness and contrition.
My close examination of the writings of the original “Children of the Light” and “Seekers After Truth” in mid-1600s Britain has convinced me that the first Quakers perceived an alternative Christianity – one they dared not voice fully, given the deadly consequences of the blasphemy laws of the period. Couched in their interlocking metaphors of the Light, the Seed, and the Truth is an outline strikingly different from conventional interpretations of Christ and the person of Jesus.
Free editions of my books are available at Thistle Finch editions. For your own copy, simply go to Thistle Finch editions.
Related work has appeared in the magazines Friends Journal, Quaker Life, and Quaker Theology. I have presented workshops at New England Yearly Meeting and the annual Friends General Conference.
My essays on Quaker spirituality also appear at my blog As Light Is Sown.