‘My Quakerism’ Post Responses, Thus Far

 

Old wooden pews in front of a window looking out onto a garden at a Quaker Meetinghouse in Coanwood, England.

“Quaker Meeting House, Coanwood” by Akuppa John Wigham, cc-by

My last post got a bit more traffic than I was expecting.

It saw just over 200 unique visitors in the first twenty-four hours, and it’s now up to 300. That’s, um. More traffic than I normally get.

First of all, I just want to say that I’m a little floored by the response. It’s really gratifying to hear from others who feel the same way about these issues.

I also put myself out there in a pretty major way by telling my own story, and spent most of the weekend physically sick with dread that someone was going to be a jerk about that. So far, no one has been. My defenses on that front are still jacked up to 11 and are likely to stay that way for a good long while, but I’m starting to have hope that they won’t have to be forever. Which is…’nice’ isn’t the word. There’s probably a German portmanteau for “this s— sandwich tastes much better than it could have.”

A big thank-you for all the supportive comments, hugs, re-tweets, and hell-yeahs. They mean a lot. I do want to go back and respond to comments, but it might be a little while before there’s room in my brain to do so.

One common thread I’ve seen in a lot of the response is a desire for next steps–how do we build a more feminist, anti-racist Quakerism?

I have Things To Say about that, but I think it’s important to recognize that the conversation is already happening. So before I kick off a post on that topic, I want to finish assembling a list of references and links to ongoing efforts to improve Quaker spaces.

In the meantime, if anybody wants to have a conversation with me about feminism and anti-racism in Quakerism, let’s do it. Shoot me an email. I’m also a big fan of Google Hangouts. If you’re in the DC area, let’s grab coffee. I’m on Twitter as @leeflower, which is probably the best way to get in touch with me if you don’t already have my contact information.

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2 Responses to ‘My Quakerism’ Post Responses, Thus Far

  1. Peggy says:

    I’m very sad to hear about your experiences at Quaker gatherings, especially Young Friends gatherins, and I know what you are talking about has happened to many women in our midst. I will be holding all Quaker women in the Light as we strive to build a non-racist, feminist culture in the midst of a strongly racist and misogynist culture.
    What I find ironic about this is how strongly the early Quakers stood behind their women ministers, and supported them in every way possible, even being subjected to imprisonment for their belief that women are equal.
    But in my observation there are many who are attracted to Quakerism because of the openness and acceptance, but who are deeply wounded and broken by the dominant culture, which is still so profoundly racist and anti-woman. Without very strong leadership by Quakers who “get it” about the core belief of equality, it is very easy for these folks to get by with offensive behavior. What happens too often is that those who really get it just leave Quaker meetings when they can’t stand the dysfunctional climate any more. And that’s a real tragedy, because we don’t get to have those strong people who would really stand up to offensive behavior and set limits and boundaries and provide strong leadership for healthy

  2. Peggy says:

    I’m so sorry these things happened to you and I know they have happened to many women in our midst.
    I’m holding all Quaker women in the Light as we strive to build a feminist and non-racist culture in the midst of the dominant culture which is so clearly racist and misogynist.
    You did the right thing to speak out.
    I have observed that many of us are drawn to Quakerism because of the openness and acceptance, and we bring with us our own woundedness and brokenness from our experiences in the dominant culture, from our dysfunctional families, and from our former faith communities.
    It takes strong leadership to deal with the learning curve of these newcomers to spiritual freedom, and many times inappropriate behaviors are overlooked or let go in the spirit of acceptance and non-judgementalness that really should be confronted and dealt with.
    The other unfortunate thing that happens is that people who recognize the problem get discouraged and leave the meeting community, rather than speaking up and providing the leadership that is so desperately needed.
    In the end with any group it’s about the people and how well they communicate and relate to one another. The tenets of Quakerism are ideals to live up to, but when they don’t work it’s the people who are acting in a dysfunctional manner who are the problem, not the faith itself.
    The early Quakers stood behind their women ministers 100% at a time when women were considered possessions!

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