“Treating people as if they are a gift of God is part of how I express the love of Christ to others. It is part of who I am because of who has shaped my inner most being. I am a different person because I responded to the love given to me by God a long time ago. My testimony is more than a principle to emulate. It is who I am.
You will read about many ideas of equality in this issue. David Johns in his article, “Moving Forward or Circling Wagons?” encourages the Religious Society of Friends to “make faith, hope and love real in the world,” while Matt Hisrich and April Vanlonden appeal to different ways of expressing equality. They ask whether equality should be focused on outward practice where actions and attitudes are the same or have Friends meetings become so individualized that the differences have begun to hurt the corporate Society of Friends? In “Visiting Prison,” Robert Moulthrop offers a spiritual insight into being present with everyone. Leigh Eason offers an insight into the timelessness of the testimony of equality.
I encourage you to look at all the offerings in this issue. It is my hope you will be inspired or moved by the words chosen by our authors. How is God ministering to you through their stories? Is there some phrase that makes you pause? I pray you will consider and reflect on these words given as a gift to you.
Again, I encourage you to write me, send me an email or post your thoughts and reflections on Facebook. Let us be in conversation together as we journey with Christ.
Annie Glen – Communications Editor, Quaker Life
Moving Forward, Or Circling The Wagons? - By David Johns
“We may be called to discipleship; we may be called to be more Christ-like; we may be called to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God; we may be called to invest our lives deeply in the human family; we may be called to love ourselves and our neighbor with the wild abandon of the Good Shepherd. But one thing is certain: God is not calling us to be Quakers.”
McDonald’s Equality And The Equality of Friends - By Matt Hisrich
“Ironically, not unlike our peace testimony, Friends have a history of undermining our own witness of the value of the testimony of equality to the rest of Christianity and the world whenever we reduce it to a McDonald’s ‘same as me’ prin ciple. Fortunately we are not bound by our history. That frees us going forward if we are willing to learn from both our best and our worst behaviors.”
The Corporate Testimony of Equality – By April Vanlonden
“Who are we in God? If we are all in this same God, does it stand to reason that there will be some consistency of experience? Consistency of believing and behaving? What is spoken here is not consistency of creeds and strict religious dogma. Rather, what these questions point to is the possibility that consistency is not always in direct conflict with individualism and equality.’”
Timeless Equality - By Leigh Eason
“In today’s world, most members of the Religious Society of Friends support the testimonies of peace, equality, simplicity and integrity. They believe these testimonies are important principles by which to live. Have you ever thought how these testimonies represented not only a benchmark by which one can live, but how they also brought forth a radical change in life?’”
Climb The Hill - By Eloise Hockett and John Muhanji
“We need others to come along side of us, to climb the hill with us and envision the possibilities of assisting the Quaker schools in this Mt. Elgon area as well as in other areas in Kenya. The needs at this school and community are vast and overwhelming. We know that with our God, all things are possible.”
Visiting Prison - By Robert Moulthrop
Quaker Simplicity And The 1% - By David Zarembka
“‘Gladys and I live more or less the same life-style in the US and Kenya. In the US our lifestyle is ‘Quaker simplicity’ while in western Kenya we are the super-rich. This illustrates the structural inequality in the world.”
Other Articles In This Issue:
Ask Tom: Where Did The Phrase “That of God in Everyone” Originate? – Tom Hamm
Equality Equals Community – Pat Byers
Are We The 99%? – Cherice Bock
Passages: Quaker Obituaries
Book Reviews – Liz Wine and Jim Wortham