19 April 2007

QuakerQuaker: Challenges and Community

QuakerQuaker.org takes me out of my own comfortable world of Santa Cruz Friends and challenges me with Quaker viewpoints that I don't encounter in my own Meeting. I have a new appreciation for the variety of Quaker faith and practice in the world. These different viewpoints challenge me to examine and deepen my own ideas. You're helping me grow in many ways, Friends, and I thank you for that.

The posts I like the most describe how Friends in other areas do things. I find great value in reading how different Meetings organize themselves, and the many different ways that Friends resolve issues.

I have also discovered a vibrant online community of Friends. I am glad to be among you, and am learning to love and appreciate many of you.

When I first heard of this blog carnival, Chris suggested that I might not feel warmly towards Martin. It's true that I disagree with Martin on many particulars, and that I have not yet connected with him on a level where I can appreciate his gifts. Chris' invitation, however, encouraged me to think again about what it means to be in a Christian community. Jesus did not command us to love those who are easy to love. No, our call to love goes deeper than that. We are called to love those who irritate us, those whom we initially dislike, those with whom we have profound and ongoing disagreements.

This brings me back to the center of what it means to be a Quaker, what it means to be a Christian, what it means to live according to God's will. We are called to love one another, in community, to forgive one another 70 times 7 times, to extend our hands to our brothers and sisters and to labor over our disagreements. QuakerQuaker.org gives us another way to extend our hands to one another and to labor together.

I am profoundly grateful, Martin, that you had the vision to create this gathering of Friends and that you are willing to do the work to sustain this community.

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