My roots are Quaker on both sides — for at least four generations. My great-grandmother was a circuit-riding Quaker preacher in Nebraska. So I read Jonathan Stoll’s “Interfaith Voices” column on Quakerism with interest.
I recalled my own upbringing. I, too, sat in meditation, with Friends speaking into the silence. I learned to trust that as we pursued wisdom, we would, in time, be of one mind. I examined my heart in response to Quaker queries. I studied powerful principles of peacemaking and the lives of Friends who — at great personal cost — upheld the dignity of women, enslaved people, the incarcerated and the insane.
But my background also differs from Stoll’s description. I heard biblical sermons. I came to know Jesus as the unique Son of God who exemplifies God’s character and redeems fallen humanity, and the Holy Spirit as the Person of the Trinity who stirs divine Inner Light into flame. I read Quaker authors like Robert Barclay ("Apology for the True Christian Divinity"), Elton Trueblood ("The Company of the Committed") and Richard Foster ("Celebration of Discipline").
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All Friends trace their origin to the same roots, but expressions of Quaker faith have been diverse for centuries. No single description fits all groups. The Corvallis meeting includes people with various creeds, or none. The groups that nourished my faith see Scripture and the person of Christ as central. My extended family includes these various streams. We remain friends — and Friends.
Corvallis (Sept. 2)