(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the apprentice authors, and not official statements of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) or Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) of the Religious Society of Friends.)
I started attending Quaker worship in 1969, when a friend of a Friend invited me to attend without telling me anything about Quakers. I knew the first time I got inside the meeting house door that this would be my spiritual home, and it has been. Friends tolerated the anger and resentment I carried against Christianity at that time, telling me that I could believe anything I wanted and still be a member, but that I would have to wrestle with the fact that everything I liked about Quakerism was based on its Christian roots. That long-term wrestling with the faith tradition led me back to Christianity and grafted me inseparably into the living faith of which Wil Cooper wrote.
My competency in a work career was providing management skills to financially challenged nonprofit organizations, but my life-long vocation has been the public ministry. Sometimes competency and vocation merged, as in my service as General Secretray of Friends General Conference, but that has not often happened. When they conflicted, I have tried to see that the call of vocation has carried the day.
It seems to me that everything in our Quaker faith tradition stems from the experience of the immediate, perceptible guidance of God, which we are all invited to share: in George Fox’s words, the experience that Christ has come to teach [all] his people himself, including me and thee! Testimonies of simplicity and equality, methods of corporate decision-making, modes of worship, all stem from this foundational, formational experience.