You may or may not know this about me but I am currently a part of the Quaker Voluntary Service. (If you know me, you know this, especially since I have blasted every outlet of communication with obnoxious fundraising tactics—sorry, not sorry.) That means I am spending the next 11-months living in an intentional community, where I am practicing Quaker disciplines and living out the Quaker way with 5 other volunteers, as well as serving as an intern with a nonprofit in town.
So basically I am having some good, clean Quaker fun for about a year.
I know, I know: I am blessed. This really is a rare and special opportunity, and I am beyond thankful for the Quaker communities in the area, as well as the nonprofits cooperating with QVS and those who personally helped fund me, making this opportunity possible. And I love the work I am called to with the American Friends Service Committee, and I am really thankful for all the Quakerism I will get to experience this upcoming year. But as I am being immersed in Quakerism in a city that has Quaker meetings and churches, programmed and unprogrammed, Liberal and Evangelical, I have been confronted by something that I am coming to see as a goal. This so far unspoken ‘goal’ of mine has been sitting in me for awhile now but I have not known exactly how to approach it. This goal being me figuring out how the hell I fit into the Religious Society of Friends—or if I even do!
It is no secret that I have been interested in Quaker history and spirituality for a few years now. How George Fox, Margaret Fell, and Robert Barclay articulated the gospel of Jesus Christ does not just resonate with me but inspires me—and the same goes with their, and other Quakers’, stories. How Quakerism has historically valued contemplation, simplicity, community, and peace is glorious. I love that! I love “holding people in the Light”! I love the sacramental nature of… life itself! I love how the Quaker testimonies have driven so many people to be radical! And yes, no branch perfectly expresses my own convictions, but still something in me is… convinced. Is that the right word? Have I become convinced that Quakerism is true? I think I have. Maybe the form of Quakerism I have found to be true is some idealized version that only exists in my head and maybe this is me romanticizing a culture and community so that I can finally have a home, but I cannot deny that I am inspired by the vision of Quakerism—even if that may be just my vision. It looks too much like Jesus and reeks so much of the gospel that I cannot help but pursue whatever this is.
No matter what happens, I intend on being faithful to Jesus wherever he leads me. How the the Religious Society of Friends fits into it all is beyond me, but I am thankful for this year of immersion with Friends. Perhaps I will get some hints throughout the year on how to go about this whole Quaker-thing. I hope I do. More than that, though, I hope I can see Christ more fully for who he is, in his love and glory, and realize his gospel more powerfully in my own life. I think the impact of Quakerism in my life probably cannot be undone at this point, and I am at least thankful for that.
Hold me in the Light as I serve with my house, my meeting, and the American Friends Service Committee–and as I pursue Christ among Friends. This is a fascinating, beautiful, and wildly different season of my life where much discernment is needed. Trust God for me, for I am unable to claim that my faith is perfect. I know how this whole following Jesus, God, the Light, Love, etc., can be–it’s not easy, but I am glad we can lean on each other. And may you be blessed wherever you are on your own journey.