Letters - 20 July 2018

From vision to clarification

Vision not words

To me, Quakerism is an experiential faith where there is mystery and a path of continual spiritual discovery. Words should serve our experience, not the reverse.

Do different shades of Friends really believe that they may be mistaken and others right? When I hear of Friends criticised for words they use in ministry I feel saddened.

Can we not listen to each other and be accepting of each other’s language? Are we not all on the same journey of discovery, climbing the same spiritual mountain by different routes? Describing ourselves as this or that type of Quaker is something I have always refused to do. Putting ourselves in boxes surely stops us hearing each other and, above all, can stop the Light shining in.

What we need today are insights that remind us of the unity of our origins, rather than the differences between us. What can we bring from our Quaker household to the needs of our broken world? How can we use our Quaker heritage to build a vision of the future that we all can adhere to? We only have to look at our world today to realise that never has there been a greater need for such a vision.

Early Friends in the seventeenth century had a shared vision that united them. They talked of building that peaceable heavenly kingdom here on Earth. We urgently need to identify a coherent and shared vision today, otherwise I fear we will spend the next decade arguing over words.

Chris Rose

League of Nations

In the course of some research, I have been looking at pamphlets published by the League of Nations Society in 1917-18. They include a list of about twenty or thirty religious bodies in the UK supportive of the idea of a League of Nations – national and local, mostly Anglicans and members of nonconformist churches, but not a sign of Quakers.

This seems very odd. I wonder whether anyone can throw any light on it?

Lucy Pollard

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.