Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I spend some time researching available Quaker material on the web and, about two years ago came across this from the Aotearoa/New Zealand Yearly Meeting of 1987~
"The places to begin acquiring the skills and maturity and generosity to avoid or to resolve conflicts are in our own homes, our personal relationships, our schools, our workplaces, and wherever decisions are made. We must relinquish the desire to own other people, to have power over them, and to force our views on to them. We must own up to our own negative side and not look for scapegoats to blame, punish, or exclude. We must resist the urge towards waste and the accumulation of possessions.
Conflicts are inevitable and must not be repressed or ignored but worked through painfully and carefully. We must develop the skills of being sensitive to oppression and grievances, sharing power in decision making, creating consensus, and making reparation."
I think it is pretty wonderful and return to it time and time again. I place it here to perhaps give it a wider audience and to see what other Friends make of it.
‘The Lord said to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.'
Does this imply something about how we are to respond to the evils of the world -- seeing as we often do find help in opposing them, and probably are truly led to do so -- but we then prove to be utterly incapable of actually ending them.
[That is -- When we do succeed in stopping slavery, we get a replacement pattern of injustice that continues to this day... while despite having ended legally-enforced segregation, the actuality remains in housing, schooling, the criminal injustice system. Likewise, whatever we might have once accomplished in ending the US war against Vietnam: Look what "we" are doing now in the world. A long list of other examples could be constructed, but I leave this to people who like to make lists!]
If Jesus rules through resting and letting God's influence on us do the work... Where do we fit into this picture? Should we seek the power to prevent oppression and other abuses of power? -- Or should we discourage anyone else who wants to try? [their efforts quite possibly elements of God's process of dealing with oppression etc.?]
This looks like a question to be not answered -- That is, I don't think it implies any sort of rule for us to worship and follow....
I would like to see what people could say about it!
Thank you for your reply Forrest.
I must confess I saw the piece as more about conflict in the home and workplace than in terms of the larger issues you mention. Quakers with young children will want to find ways of avoiding conflict between siblings (and conflict with other children outside the family) and it seems that lessons in negotiation, compromise and conflict resolution are important. Between partners in a family (or partners without children for that matter) the important issues are mutual love, strong respect and compromise ~ the first two may come naturally, but the third must surely be developed.