That phrase, “tender mercies”, came to mind a couple of months ago, as I was looking at a blog entry written by a couple of Friends in Michigan.
…It came to my mind a second time a week or so later, when one Friend raised the issue of nuclear power right here on this site, and another Friend responded by defending nuclear as an answer to global warming.
The phrase was one of John Woolman’s favorites….
I’m scheduled to be one of the major presenters at my yearly meeting, Iowa (Conservative), a little less than four weeks from now — Thursday, July 26.
For much of two evenings, and for a good part of one afternoon, he preached his own version of Christianity to us — something he had half-discovered, half-invented, in the course of his personal journey to Christ. And if you’ve never been evangelized by a fervent, articulate, creative, born-again native American, I think you’ve missed something interesting. It’s lots different from being evangelized by an Anglo!
When Friends elsewhere, on the two sides of the FUM personnel-policy dispute, are tearing FUM to pieces, it’s an assault on perhaps the single most important piece of outside support helping to make lasting Quaker communities possible here.
Would that the hotheads in Southeastern YM — and in Iowa and the yearly meetings of East Africa — would think about this!
A few years after the Civil War, the last three thousand surviving Osages, exhausted by their struggles against the white tide, were relieved of the burden of their remaining lands in Kansas, and removed to the relative safety of Oklahoma. And now the Osages’ tribal elders decreed, after some deliberation, that it was time for the tribe to give up its native religion and learn the “black book”, the Bible.
To help the tribe make this great transition, the elders enlisted Isaac Gibson, a white who had won the Osages’ trust by his hard work as their official Federal Indian agent back in Kansas.
As it happens, Gibson was a Friend, a Gurneyite Quaker. The opening he made for the Gurneyite version of the Gospel was followed up, a generation later, by Gurneyite missionaries Daniel and Hattie Williams. And so it came to pass that a small fraction of the Osage Nation turned, for a time, into Gurneyite Friends themselves.
…If we humans were all to die over the next four years for want of pollinating bees to renew our crops, or for any other reason, those of us whose lives were dedicated to the service of God would surely be mobilized, and endowed with spiritual gifts, to give extraordinary service to our spiritually and materially distressed neighbors. Are you ready for your spiritual gifts?
What would those spiritual gifts be?
Yesterday, Friend Angela Manno of New York Yearly Meeting (FGC / FUM), contributed a posting to the “earthwitness matters” discussion page here on this site, condemning nuclear energy as an “abomination” and citing her reasons for doing so.
This was an important posting, I believe — particularly because it comes at a time when the winds in Quaker circles seem to be blowing in an opposite direction.
Paul said something quite interesting about the familiar twentieth-century list of testimonies (Simplicity, Integrity, Peace, etc.): he said that for Friends, these are not virtues but instincts, not lists of conscious goals but natural ways of being. I myself have often said something similar, but Paul’s way of putting it delighted me; I felt it was quite the best I’ve heard so far. I do wonder how the other Friends in that room felt about it.