10 things that unite us
I speak to my fellow seekers of the Truth, to whom I have been enjoined through the mystery of electronic communication: blogs, emails and websites. I am so blessed by your ministry, be you F.U.M. missionaries, F.G.C. agitators, silent seekers, ambivalent Christians, righteous agnostics, gorgeous young shoots, ancient craggy oaks, peaceniks, simplniks, Bibleniks – all of you, all of you are in my spiritual family and I honor you. Here are some things that unite us:
1. Something about George Fox and/or the Valiant Sixty.
2. Something about Jesus.
3. Loving peace and abhorring violence.
4. Caring for the earth.
5. Speaking the truth gently and plainly.
6. Walking the walk.
7. Worshipping together.
8. Helping everyone.
9. Feeling the Spirit of God.
Let us focus on these things that unite us, and the other things, the ones you are thinking of now that I have overlooked in the rush of my excitement. Think of our meetings for business – we seek the ways the Spirit brings us to unity (which is not the same as unanimity). It is a poor meeting indeed that focuses on what divides us. Let us spend more time announcing and celebrating our unity, rather than irritating our differences. Our differences are like our skin: they announce our distinction. But Friends let us not be convinced by surfaces. Let us worship what is eternal between us, what lies beneath, what flows from the Source that makes everything.
There is a hidden wholeness. There is a binding oneness.
Now here’s the controversial part:
Let us refrain from using the words “liberal” or “conservative” to describe ourselves as Quakers. These are empty words which can only reduce the awesome complex glory of one’s faith to a misunderstood stereotype. These are secular words used in hurtful ways by people outside our Society. These words makes us small and petty. These words sow division and mistrust. Besides, no one knows what they mean anymore anyway.
I am Philadelphia Quaker who worships in an unprogrammed meeting. You can make some assumptions about me if you know a little about my Yearly Meeting. If you tell me you are an Indiana Quaker who worships in programmed meeting, I may make some assumptions about you. But glory to God, when we meet each other face to face (or word to word in cyberspace?) and we sense the Love Which Binds Us, when we truly call each other “friend”, assumptions fall away and we are left only with a beginning.
Way will open to our loving hearts when we answer that of God in each other.