This month’s *Afterthought is a follow-up to my earlier post, When Process Shimmers, about the value of process over outcome in Quaker decision-making. In this recent QuakerSpeak video—Why Do Quakers Care About Politics?—two Friends discuss the faith’s roots of political activism and how Quaker process can help cross political divides.
Noah Baker Merrill’s opening observation resonates for me. “We’re a small group. We’re politically insignificant in so many ways, but we’re being as faithful as we can be to the truth that’s being revealed to us.” That’s what usually compels me to speak out, even when my voice feels faint.
Marge Abbott (author of To Be Broken and Tender) summarizes some of the ways Friends in the U.S. have demonstrated this faithfulness: “Friends always have been very active in addressing our government and its rule. They had started out in the earliest days having to try and change laws that were affecting them directly …a century later, they were among the most active lobbyists to end slavery, active in women’s suffrage, in temperance movements… many, many places where they were lobbying over the centuries.”
I’m grateful to have these Friends’ words to return to at those times I feel “politically insignificant.”
*“Afterthoughts” are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, maybe even bumper stickers.