Monday, July 7, 2008


One query posed by a Gathering interest group member that resonated with me and still sticks to me:

When we label something as Quakerly or unQuakerly, are we talking about something that is essential to our faith or are we confusing Quakerly with cultural appropriateness? How do we tell the difference? How do we see and acknowledge those things which are basic to Quakerism and let cultural trappings melt away?


Hystery said...

This is sticking with me too. As I am becoming a Quaker and bringing my family along with me, I often encounter situations in which I have to socialize my children to behave appropriately among Friends. (They are very good at sitting quietly now.) I admit to feeling a wee bit repressed and unsure of myself, like an eleven year old at a formal dinner. There is not much smiling, very little laughter, no swearing or off color jokes, no naughtiness. I miss the naughtiness. But this is not, perhaps, Quaker faith but just middle-class niceness perhaps? Oh, I hope so! For me, a faith without belly laughs and off-color jokes is not worth its salt.

Jeanne said...

Oh, there's lots of salt among Friends (middle class Friends) but it more often comes from tears!

I do believe that the "no swearing, no laughing, no off-color jokes, no naughtiness" thing is a middle class cultural thing, and NOT essential to Quakerism.