Being Convinced

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A couple of times on this blog, I’ve posted about new learning that changed my behavior (I’m Not a Birthright Blogger and Convinced to Tweet). While those titles were written tongue-in-cheek, both essays touched on one of the beliefs in Quakerism that I value most—being “convinced.”

Quakers view convincement as a transformation that goes much deeper than intellectual consent. For me, it’s the result of a clear sense of being led by the Divine to an action or a new understanding. Even in my light-hearted posts about being convinced to blog and tweet, there was an element of my coming to new awareness. I was “convinced” that these and other technological tools can be used well to nurture and connect with the next generation of Quakers (as well as some of the old-timers).

Quakers also use the term convincement to identify Friends who weren’t born into the Society of Friends (“birthright Friends”) but who came to this religious community later, typically in adulthood. Walter Hjelt Sullivan describes his experience of being convinced in a recent QuakerYouTube video.

My journey to become a Convinced Friend is similar to Walter’s. After attending University Friends Meeting (Seattle, WA) for a few years, I recognized that, to paraphrase Walter, the Quaker Way had come into my heart and nested there. While I had studied Quakerism and attended education sessions, I came to the conviction that I was a Quaker through the experience of worship, decision-making, and service. It was at that point that I requested membership in the Religious Society of Friends, believing that I was merely acknowledging a religious identity that already existed for me.

I agree with Walter that the Quaker Way isn’t the only way. For over thirty years, though, Quakerism has been the spiritual home, or nest, that sustains and nurtures the presence of God in my life. It’s the community that keeps me grounded in the Presence within as well as outside of me that guides my actions. I’m grateful to have been convinced. And as Walter describes, to keep being convinced through new leadings and “a deeper connection to Spirit.”

2 thoughts on “Being Convinced

  1. Iris, this is excellent. All of it. What first caught my attention was your claim to being a “convinced blogger” and tweeter. What I can claim is being a convinced emailer and Facebooker!! I experience that my Spiritual community is largely in diaspora, and this is the way I get to stay in touch with lots of folks I may never actually see again. I am deeply nourished by the interchanges and conversations we get to engage in, and often experience the Spirit’s presence more vividly In these contacts than in actual meetings for worship!!! So thanks for affording me the opportunity to reflect on this and share my thoughts. Big love to you and yours. Mickey Sent from my iPad

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  2. Thanks, Mickey. I’m impressed with how you’ve plunged in to the electronic age to stay connected with your spiritual community. It’s not that far from how early Quakers connected through letters and journals, right?

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