Out of our respect for those who practice other religions, Quakers aren't big on proselytizing--that is, trying to convert non-Quakers to our ways. This means we rarely explain ourselves or our practices in detail to a non-Quaker audience. If someone is curious to know about us, we tend to trust God to lead them to learn more for themselves. I hope my blog readers will understand there is no attempt here to convert or convince them of the superiority of Quaker ways, but rather to shine light on an aspect of Richard's interior process that has largely been unspoken, therefore invisible and indescribable.
For while now, I have felt drawn to write a series of articles on common Quaker practices and spiritual experiences. Then I realized "Practices and Experiences" are nouns, but Quakers see their spiritual lives more in terms of action and transformation over time, so I turned to the primary Quaker metaphor: The Journey. The journey is a metaphor used by many who rely on spiritual experience rather than dogma to instruct their understanding of God. The Journey communicates the constant turnings, obstacles and objectives we engage in living out our spiritual lives in this imperfect world.
For the next few months, I'm excited to share with you some of my experiences on A Quaker Journey. Initially, I began to call this series "The Quaker Journey", but as I reflected, I realized every Quaker has a unique journey, so the title "The Quaker Journey" began to seem founded on an exaggerated claim of uniformity. So instead of attempting to speak for thousands of other Friends, I'm taking up writing A Quaker Journey with the intention of narrowing the topic to allow me to convey my own experiences as a Quaker with greater integrity. I hope to point out where my experience coincides, and where it differs from Richard's as I go along.
The Inner Light, Silent Worship, and Becoming Convinced
Deep Listening, Clearing Space, and the Inner Teacher
Clearness and Quaker Process
First Day Meeting for Worship
Vocal Ministry and Metaphor
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
Just to make what I'm doing more transparent, I am conscious of two Quaker values reflected in the content above: Equality and Integrity.
In addition, writing this series of articles is an example of Quaker practice that is time-honored: Writing about personal spiritual experience. I rely on a form of language--metaphor--you will see in many settings where Friends (Quakers) describe their unique spiritual experiences.
A video from the Quakers Speak series by Jon Watts follows: