What Quakers Would You Most Like to Be Rid Of?


Over on “Father Jake Stops the World,” I found this quote from the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, Katharine Jefferts Schori:

One of my predecessors was fond of saying, “in this church there will be no outcasts.” I concur, and I challenge each one of us to consider who it is we would most like to be rid of. That person, my friends, is the image of Christ in our midst. There will be no outcasts in this church, whether because of sexual orientation or theological perspective. God has given us to each other, to love and to learn from each other. May God bless each and every part of this body.

What Quakers would you most like to be rid of?

Are they the image of Christ?

What does it mean if they are? 

And who am I the image of Christ to? Who are you?


16 Responses to “What Quakers Would You Most Like to Be Rid Of?”

  1. quakerpastor Says:

    I just love Schori…her inauguration homily from last year is quite something to behold.
    Thanks for bringing this to us– with the queries. This would be an interesting worship focus.

    Friends, I’m restoring Quaker Pastor’s initial comment, which for some mysterious reason ended up in our spam filter. Sorry about that, QP! It’s slightly different from what she posted after this one didn’t show up.

    Also, Bishop Schori’s installation homily can be found here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_79214_ENG_HTM.htm

  2. kate Says:

    This hits me very profoundly. I look forward to talking with Friends about this, and I wanted to express that 🙂

    I also long for a translation of these questions into words that non-Christ-centered Friends could relate to, because I think the spirit of the questions is relevant to ALL Friends in our meeting,

    What would could we substitute? Would the questions need re-writing?

  3. Carol Says:

    What could we substitute?

    I agree, Kate. I’d like to do it. But the translation hasn’t come to me.


  4. quakerpastor Says:

    I think Schori ROCKS. Much of what she has generated in her speeech and in writing has great power. Her installation homily was great.
    “The Image of Christ” =”That of God” in my book–or at least for these queries…QP

  5. Nate Swift Says:

    Just for a start, how about, “Are their lives an expression of real love?”

  6. Elizabeth Eames Says:

    This post reminds me of a lyric from a Tom Lehrer introduction to his song National Brotherhood Week -“I know that there are people who do not love one another, and I hate people like that.” I am ashamed to admit now that I cringe inside when I hear the word “Christian” now – or that Quakers are centered on “Christ” rather on “that of God within”. That the light of God is called by some, Christ, by others Krishna, by others, whatever it is in their language, is what leads us closer to being able to hold one another close in the circle of truth.

  7. Rich Accetta-Evans Says:

    Hi Carol,


    The irreverent side of me wants to say that by definition there are never any outcasts in any church becaue they have been, well, “cast out”.

    Of course, ‘outcasts’ can also be those who have been cast out by some other group: the state, high society, or polite society in general. By this definition it might be said that the early church, the Jesus movement, consisted almost entirely of outcasts: the poor, the sick, the foreigners, the sinners, etc. Ditto the first generation of Friends for a few years at least (later converts like William Penn and Robert Barclay, not to mention Margaret Fell changed this picture). I would like the Society of Friends today to be a more welcoming home for such “outcasts”. I would like it, in fact, to be a more welcoming home for a huge variety of people of all clsses who would no doubt feel frozen out of our community-as-it-is because of the prevalent attitude of self-satisfied intellectual snobbishness that infect us all too often.

    If the presiding bishop you quoted means only that her church will not discriminate against people baed on sexual orientation, then I applaud their openness. This seems like a worthy goal for any church. If she’s also saying (as she seems to be) that “theological perspectives” have no relevance to membership in that church, then I am puzzled. I thought it was an Episcopal Church. My “theological perspective” as a Quaker tells me that a Church of Christ will have no ordained bishops and no ordained pastors, that it will not conduct sacramental rituals, will strongly discourage its members from military service in any country and might disown them if they undertake such service, that houses of worship should be plain and unadorned, etc. etc. If I advocated these positions as an Episcopalian, wouldn’t that lead to a breakdown of the Episcopalian system? I should think a good Episcopalian would be anxious to get any good Quakers out of his or her church and into a Quaker Meeting where they belong! I don’t think that would be a spiritual failing, it would be a service to spiritual clarity. Nor would it preclude the Quakers and the Episcopalians from cooperating with each other, listening to each other, and listening from each other. Preserving their differences from each other could even give them really interesting topics to talk about!

    On the other hand, if there are people I want to “cast out” – – or who I unthinkingly snub and keep at a distance — because I don’t like their personalities or the way they dress or their grammar or the television programs they watch, then that is a HUGE spiritual problem. It happens all the time, especially in Quaker Meetings, and I think we should all be watchful against this tendency in ourselves.

    Thanks for letting me rant.

  8. Cynthia Says:


    Thank you for this! I found instant rebellion within, when I considered the Friends I would most like to be without: “THAT”S not the image of Christ!”


    Rich, the way I read the bishop’s words, I thought she might be referring to the theological perspective that would cast out those of a particular sexual orientation. In other words, she was crying against the splitting of the Episcopalian church.


  9. kate Says:

    I read the paragraph as Cynthia did, but the queries took my mind way past the theological differences, and other differences that Rich mentions, and right to deep personality-level conflicts I am aware of.

    What Quakers would you most like to be rid of?

    If you can put a name to the answer, then what?

    If we all asked ourselves that question, and answered it honestly, would it launch a frenzy of clearness committees?

    If we don’t ask ourselves that question, and answer it honestly, what kind of Friends are we?

  10. Will T Says:

    When I first read Rich’s comments I was inclined to agree with him. But when I tried to apply his reasoning to the Society of Friends and not to the Episcopal church, it fell over. So which theological views would I cast out from the Society of Friends? But since I know Friends with a wide spectrum of theological views the question becomes, which of my friends would I cast out from the Society of Friends. And my answer is none.

    I do not recall Jesus ever asking a person who came to him for healing about their theological views. I do not recall Jesus including a theological test in determining who the least of these that we are to feed and clothe are. In fact it looks as though the 12 apostles covered pretty much the range of Judean theological thought of the time.

    At the last FUM General Board meeting we did not talk about our theological differences. Which is not to say that we are unaware of them. But we did experience a deep unity when we turned to the work before us, such as how to proceed with our work at Kaimosi Hospital. I think that there is a lesson here.

    People like to organize their experience in coherent intellectual systems. This is the way human brains work. This is one of the things we do best, find patterns in apparently random data. Compared to God, any theological system in incomplete and inadequate. As a result we need to maintain a little humility about our own theological preferences, knowing that it is, by necessity, and incomplete picture. The value of maintaining a community with diverse views is that we can often find glimpses of God in the tension between seemingly contradictory viewpoints.


  11. Anj Says:

    Umm… I have been thinking and praying for a few weeks on Friends that hold meetings hostage………and to be honest, those are the Friends I would like to be rid of…of course, in my daily retirement, I am being confronted now with the ways I hold my meeting hostage… Are they (we) the image of Christ? Yes, in our sweet spot, but can I see beyond our compulsions and delusions? What does it mean if they are? I think I will spend today holding this query in the Light. What does it mean if they are the image of Christ?

  12. Jeanne Says:

    What of the people we unconsciously shun because they are not like us?

    We say we welcome all. We say we love everyone. We say we would never ever discriminate.

    But we do. It’s evidenced in the makeup of our Meetings. PYM did a survey and found that we are overwhelmingly middle and owning class, and very very well educated compared to the broader population. And we are certainly overwhelmingly white.

    So I think the answer to your question is “Anyone not like us.”

  13. Jean Weston Says:

    This is an interesting thread, and I certainly do agree that we shun anyone that is not like us. I have, in fact, felt shunned, because I see my faith differently than the comfort zone of my meeting. The only way to change this is to see it, first. I would like our meetings to have much more dialogs and threshing sessions so we could be humbled by seeing our hypocrisies. I really don’t think most of us ever realize that we are doing this. And it is painful to see, but when we do, we can change it, which is a wonderful thing! We just need to let go of guilt and of ridiculing ourselves over it, and just decide to do it differently! I hope this day comes, and soon!

  14. Quaker hit lists–watch out! (Links) – The Quaker Ranter Says:

    […] Among Fds Carol wonders what Quakers would you most like to be rid of? Are they the image of Christ? What does it mean if they are? And who am I the image of Christ to? Who are you? (tags: quaker quaker.liberal) […]

  15. links for 2007-10-27 - Quaker Ranter – Quaker Ranter Says:

    […] for 2007-10-27 Oct 27th, 2007 by Martin Kelley. // nRelate.domain = "www.quakerranter.org"; // Among Fds Carol wonders what Quakers would you most like to be rid of? Are they the image of Christ? What does it mean if they are? And who am I the image of Christ to? […]

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    […] to? Who are you? Oct 26th, 2007 by Martin Kelley. // nRelate.domain = "www.quakerranter.org"; //Among Fds Carol wonders what Quakers would you most like to be rid of? /**/ Share this:EmailFacebookPosted in: Tumbled. ← Site update Where are we putting our […]

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