What process did your meeting use to find unity concerning a minute of inclusion?
Editor’s Note: These two essays are intended to be considered – and discussed! – together. Once you have had the opportunity to read both, we encourage you to share your comments here, on this page.
Linda Daniel, clerk of Muncie Monthly Meeting of Friends Memorial Meeting in Muncie, Indiana reflects:
“. . . One member expressed concern that we would definitely lose at least one college-age member by taking a formal position against homosexuality. Others suggested that with an anti-homosexual stance we would not be able to attract young seekers. It was noted that the issue of homosexuality is a non-issue in contemporary youth culture. A couple of high school-age sisters quoted Lady Gaga, ‘I was born this way.’ Others noted that Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality. He condemned divorce but not gay/lesbian relationships. Queries were asked. ‘What would Jesus do?’ Suddenly, that wristband question had new meaning when asked by an octogenarian who lost her homosexual son to AIDS several years ago. Further queries were asked. ‘Would Jesus use a homosexual male rather than a Samaritan in his parable of the good neighbor?’ Some were silent. Throughout our discernment meetings it became very clear that we have a diversity of thought in our monthly meeting. Also, because of the respect we demonstrated toward each other, it was also clear that we love each other. We are Christians and we are Quakers.”
“This is not to say that we do not have hurt feelings at times in our meeting. There are heated moments in committee meetings, and occasionally tense moments in our monthly business meetings. We don’t always resolve the hurt in spiritual or healthy ways. There are times when our meeting functions like a dysfunctional family. But the key word is family . . .”
“. . . In retrospect it seems obvious that the core of our witness must be two decades lived together in everyday community. I suppose that once a way opens, the clarity of revelation often appears self-evident. But the committee struggled for a long time. The adrenaline of hurt, anger, frustration and impatience often overwhelmed us. Personality conflicts and other tensions burst out at unexpected times and in unanticipated forms. It was patient prayer and expectant silence that carried us through. Our faith in the Spirit and our conviction that humbly waiting upon the Lord would be rewarded allowed us to gradually lay down the passions that were standing in our way and instead follow the still, small voice that was our guide.”
“This was the most profoundly Spirit-led committee work I have ever experienced. God’s unconditional love was tangibly present among us as our witness to an inclusive community gradually crystallized . . .”