the friend online
12 October 2007

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Called to be peacemakers
I had the privilege of attending a meeting in New York with president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran
  • The gathering was requested by president Ahmadinejad and organized by the Mennonite Central Committee
  • It was endorsed by the American Friends Service Committee, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Mennonite Church, the Church of the Brethren General Board, et al
  • It seemed to many of us to be a very satisfactory meeting and I came away refreshed in our call to be peacemakers

  • Arthur Larrabee & Alan Sealy

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    Comments:

    Stephen Petter, 10 October
    Like Alan Sealy I was troubled by David Boulton's portrayal of Quakerism in The Guardian. Not so much by his mention of flatulence as by his description: "There are biblical and secular Quakers, Jewish and pagan Quakers, born-again Quakers and Quaker agnostics and humanists." He goes on to say this is a problem only "to those who stubbornly insist that they alone know the way, the truth, and the life." I consider the latter to be a very unfair characterisation those who do not accept that, for instance, one can be a Quaker humanist, or, as I believe David Boulton champions, a non-theistic Quaker. I am very happy with the reality of Jewish, pagan, Hindu, etc etc Quakers. I do not stubbornly insist etc but I do accept that Quakerism involves commitment to a way of worship that allows God to teach and transform us. And that our practice (which I do not claim is the only way, truth or life) is to *trust* (a verb which implies the possibility of being mistaken) that the promptings of love and truth in our hearts are the leadings of God. I do not think Quakers need believe what I believe but I do think it reasonable to assume that anyone joining a religious society is religious, or at least is willing to become so, and that if I join a society for whatever, be it darts or debating, I will encounter others who engage in the stated practice. I certainly would not expect to find darts-deniers in a darts society and bigots in a debating society, even if, like David Boulton, they are very pleasant people. I think we have a problem which so far we have not faced up to, similar to that of the Labour Party when Militant Tendency tried to take it over. Who will be our Kinnock?



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