I just can’t seem to make the time for writing out a real, coherent blog post. But sometimes it’s my perfectionism that paralyzes, so I’m making myself write something of what I’ve been thinking about. I pity you readers…but remember, I started this blog for ME, as a writing discipline. <end selfish rant>

I wrote a little bit already about the reaction to my top ten lists. This has done nothing but continue. I’ve had several very substantive conversations, and there’s one thing that really stands out to me as important: people who are around Quakers, even people who like what Friends stand for and want to be a part, do not feel as if they ever can break in or be a part of our circles. This came out in my list here and here and here and here. I had several long-time Friends respond/challenge my list by saying that they don’t see us walking around saying we wish everyone was Quaker. I now think that is utterly beside the point. Regardless of our intent, we have to deal with the reality that many who work and worship with us like what we stand for and don’t feel like they are included in it. They feel excluded, second class citizens, a sense of provincialism…the words I’ve heard go on and on.

What will we do about it?

If this is the reality of how we are perceived, how can we incorporate new people into us? What does it say about evangelism? How can we demonstrate in word and deed a willingness to include, listen, welcome? How will we “go into all the world, making disciples of all nations?” I think this might be shaping into a part of my call to our Yearly Meeting.

5 thoughts on “Blatherings

  1. Gregg, If you’re going to write a post entitled “Blatherings,” you’re really going to have to make less effort. This is well-written, thought-provoking, and gave me the chills. C’mon, you’re going to have try even less hard if you want to blather!

    In peace and friendship,

    — Chris M.


  2. You absolutely are speaking my mind here. Or, in laymen’s terms, I completely agree with you. I’ve been thinking about writing a similar post in my own blog, but hadn’t yet felt called to do so… You say what I was thinking about very concisely.


  3. Chris,

    Frankly this leaves me utterly baffled. On the one hand I do hear people saying things of this nature but from what I can see there is absolutely no justification for it. Is there any evidence that people can’t break into our circles? No. In fact there is abundant evidence that they can do so quite easily. All you have to do is regularly attend meeting, including business meetings and be willing to talk to people. I’ve seen many examples of newcomers doing that and becoming part of the in-group within a matter of weeks. I’ve never seen an example of someone making that sort of effort and being excluded. Now given how many Quaker meetings there are and how various they are I’m sure that it does happen now and again. What I’m saying is that I’ve never seen it happen.

    So for me the question is why would people feel this way when it’s not true? What would account for the illusion of exclusiveness?


  4. I tend to agree with RichardM.

    I was raised in the Church of God and came to NFC while going to GFU. I never felt like I needed to break into the inner circle – I just started coming and getting involved and have been a regular attender (I never turned in that darn membership form!) for many years now. Our young adults sunday school group has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last year or so with many newcomers to NFC.

    Maybe if I wasn’t already part of the “christian club” is might be different. Hmmm…. I guess I would also like some explanation.


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