Monday, July 27, 2015

Rocky roads and movements of the Spirit.

Chin up kids. Look how long it took for Woolman's message about slavery to bear fruit. (For those not familiar, as I had not been, with the history here in NWYM check

Yes, there is deep disappointment and loss of confidence in the leadership of the Board of Elders of Northwest Yearly Meeting. It's not new. We are all too human and that's what we get for dealing with humans. I have to wonder that the Board would continue in the most conservative reading of their mandate to resolve doctrinal issues after they acknowledge that there is some question as to the nature of that mandate and of the binding elements of our Faith and Practice. Clearly the nature of the difference between "Doctrine" and "Testimony" needs to be spelled out, as I have mentioned.

I have not seen rumored communications from Meetings that demand action to discipline Meetings which do not hold to Testimonies as written, but this is a parallel to what I understand happened to Western and Indiana Yearly Meetings and what is now happening to North Carolina Yearly Meeting. My reaction to such a communication would be to indicate that those people might be happier affiliated with say the Church of the Nazarene, but I have little patience with ultimatums in Quaker Business and consider such tactics far more "shattering" than published variance from stated "Testimony" under review. In the above referenced article the authors present what they have determined to be a pattern: "Given this long, recurring history, the pattern is easily recognizable: Several vocal pastors and other outspoken church members form a caucus, pick a target, based on issues which can be doctrinal, social or political, and insist that either those people go, or they will leave, and take their churches and donations with them."

It seems to be working.

And the difference seems to be that matter of tactics as no one has set up such a caucus to combat the openly sexist stance of Anthem (Now Anthem-Hayden Lake)Friends. As reported in the article: The issue of equity likewise looms large. In the 2011 Faith & Practice there are two statements condemning homosexuality. But there are also in it no less than seven declarations, dating back as far as 1887, specifying that the equality of the sexes, in church and out, is an integral part of the yearly meeting’s Quaker Christian testimony. (pp. 2, 10, 13, 20, 23, 81) Yet Anthem-Hayden Lake has been openly defying them for four decades, and still is, without consequence.Such widely disparate treatment brings to mind Leviticus 19:15: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”

In conclusion I would like to quote a recent letter from Camas Friends Church: "However, when we learned about the intervention of Yearly Meeting Elders into the discernment process that West Hills followed, Camas Friends Elders felt led to send a letter of concern. The entire meeting, as affirmed in a Business Meeting, wanted to be part of the letter as a sign of our meeting’s unity. For Camas Friends Church, what is most important is that our Yearly Meeting protect rather than police the discernment process of our local congregations.(bolding mine)

I don't see that happening.

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