Quakers - Helping others and the planet

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Post by Quaker Ranter on Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:09 am

How Quakers Can Transform The World

Quakers are: For world peace, many dress simply and plain, many are minimalists, meetings are silent (no preaching), Quakers don't push their views on others, Quakers don't discriminate or hate, Quakers don't support war, Quakers are NOT Amish, and Quakers don't make Quaker Oats - a big multinational company does ;-)

Noah Baker Merrill discusses sacramental living, Quaker Voluntary Service, and how our Quaker prophetic witness can transform the world.

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Prophecy is about seeing the world as it is from a God's eye perspective. It's about looking at the world the way it is from the perspective of love and justice and the possibility that all things could be made new.

The Possibility of Every Moment

We live in a world where hope is scarce and fragile and where -- as a species, as a whole community of life -- there's this sense deep at the roots that something is wrong, that something about the balance of the world is changing.

There's this low level anxiety that surrounds us and I think a huge part of that is that we have lost a sense of the sacredness of our journey here on this planet, and I think one of the gifts for me of my journey as a Friend is that I find tools for what has been called "sacramental living" -- for recognizing that in every moment there's the possibility for the in-breaking of something beyond us.

The Heart of the Prophetic Message

Taking the condition of the world and all of the suffering and all of the injustice and all of the joy and all of possibility, and all of the reality of global climate disruption and the massive inequality that we experience as human being, and also says, "but this is not all that's possible. Something could be different." Ultimately, I think that's the heart of the prophetic message: "It could be different."

A Way of Living that Makes it Real

I think prophetic service is not just a perspective. It's not just a word we would say, or a vision we would lift up, but its a way of living that incarnates that -- that makes that real in our lives, in our families, in our workplaces that says, "how do I live in a way that's invitational? That invites people into that possibility that something could be different?" That this -- that we see every day -- is not all that could be possible, and that together in communities, we could be living into that. We could find that place together.

And it sounds grand and it sounds huge and it sounds impossible to achieve, but living in our daily lives in that way, open to the invitation, is something that we hope we're inviting people into in Quaker Voluntary Service. And I hope that when people come into a Quaker Meeting that once in a while they experience that invitational living, where we're seeing things as they are and also reaching for what could be together.

Friends lives are built on these Six Quaker Values.

Use financial and natural resources carefully.
We make use of our existing rich offerings such as public libraries, museums, nature centers, and historical sites.
Value the spirit over material objects.
We celebrate acts of kindness and generosity instead of bringing toys or electronics for show and tell.
Keep popular culture in perspective to avoid distraction from what is truly important.
We attune  to the wonders of nature and a sense of competence through hands-on crafts .
Keep life simple so we are free to live in harmony and alignment with soul’s purpose.
Service learning is a priority.

Build conflict resolution skills.
Foster effective communication and alternatives to violence.
See conflict as a springboard to moral growth.
Use the conflict at hand as part of curriculum, asking each person involved to take responsibility for his or her part in escalating tension.
Seek elegant, simple solutions to problems or disagreements.
Encourage creative problem-solving and assume others have worthy, practical ideas.
Make decisions by consensus or the “sense of the meeting.”
Empower friends to share responsibility for the meeting culture, using the idea of voting sparingly.

Let your life speak: your outer life reflects your inner life.
Nurture your inner moral compass, cultivating inner motivation not driven by externals such societal norms.
Treat others with respect and honesty.
Set a tone of high expectations of morals in your daily live.
Acknowledge interconnectedness and essential oneness.
We are all one on the planet.
Draw out the minister within.

Connect with all members of the community.
Plan friends activities that enable others to bridge differences and create a close, working group.
Be our authentic selves.
Do not put on falsehoods for the sake of other or popularity.
Balance needs of the individual with needs of the group.
Address and bring to the surface this seeming paradox while trying to lift up those in emotional turmoil.
Teach respect for everyone and the idea that everyone has a piece of the truth.
Gather in silent meeting for worship and listen to other people’s thoughts without judgment or comment.

Respect different people and different ideas.
Invite families of diverse race, socioeconomic status, family structure, and faith backgrounds to attend meeting.
Honor all faiths.
Do not try to "convert" others to Quakerism.
Reflect a broad, inclusive spectrum of the global family.
Avoid isolationism and be part of the global community.

Protect and care for the Earth in a sacred trust.
Walk lightly on the Earth, recycle and reuse whenever possible, and reduce the amount of energy we consume.
Promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
Appreciate their world via scientific inquiry, artistic expression, outdoor education adventures, and a thorough exposure to the natural world.
Teach social justice and the need for equal access to resources.
Instill a sense of social responsibility and service work such as volunteering, fundraisers, partnerships with outside organizations, and many more initiatives.

This is a document re-written for the average friend from a document by Mark Dansereau and Kim Tsocanos, co-heads of Connecticut Friends School in Wilton, Conn.

Quaker Ranter
Quaker Ranter

Posts : 6
Join date : 2013-05-07
Location : Kennett Square, PA

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