Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
If a Meeting takes a stand on any significant issue whatsoever it excludes (and temporarily alienates) people who see the matter otherwise.
If a Meeting can not take a stand on matters causing great suffering (and there is always disagreement about these, or someone would have simply corrected them) we seem to fall short of a basic Christian duty.
A possible resolution to this might look like what we did (as I heard it) with the Quaker House in Ulster. Of two warring groups, both considered the Quakers to be neutral and disinterested. As the leaders of these groups grew old, and tired beyond tired of losing people they loved, they started slipping in the back door of the Quaker House. Remarkably, there'd be someone there from the other side who'd just snuck in. It was the one place they could talk.
They were not, of course, just sitting there being silent at each other...
I think we've become far too much afraid of offending each other. (If you can't offend your Friends, you'll have to offend someone else? That doesn't sound right either.)
"We agree to disagree (so just shut up, allright!!!)"? We may be better off with ongoing bickering, yes? At least then we wouldn't have to feel that something we hold dear is socially unacceptable. (Maybe it is? Yeah, we're weird creatures, aren't we?)
Bearing with each other is an essential piece of this. A sufficient piece?
I fear it leaves out one difficult, outright painful duty -- We have to seriously wonder, each time, whether there's something about the issue our silly opponent has somehow gotten right, while we've utterly missed it....
Ridiculous, wasn't it? Okay, we're all done now, aren't we? Uh, aren't we? oh oh...