Entries in Quaker Sociology (3)
The value of learning about doctrines, catechisms, dogmas, confessions of faith, and creeds, has to do with the ways in which thinking and talking about such things can help our communities endure in bad times, flourish in good ones, and pass on the best of what they have to new generations.
It also has to do with the ways in thinking and talking about such things can help us simply to understand ourselves.
Who are we, Friends? What are we doing? And what are we accomplishing, if anything? Bringing our doctrines, dogmas, etc., to full consciousness, helps us get a grip on some answers.
As time permits, I hope I will have an opportunity to talk with you, my readers, about catechisms, dogmas, confessions of faith and creeds. But in this essay I think we need to begin at the beginning. I invite you to join me in looking at Friends from the perspective of the ways we have shaped our doctrines — and our doctrines, in turn, have shaped us.
My eye turned back to that place in the original article where Jeavons said that he had told the yearly meeting, “This is what we should do, and now I’m going to move ahead.” Ouch. I wish he hadn’t said that. I’d be hard pressed to think of any seasoned Friend I know who would not have problems with declarations like that coming from a yearly meeting officer.
To some extent, every Friends meeting needs people of each of these four sorts. It needs the ones drawn to the community and the silence because they are the ones who will wind up with the greatest commitment to caring for the community and keeping it welcoming. It needs the ones drawn to the causes because they’re the ones who will have the greatest commitment to keeping those causes alive.