Sometimes, it's hard for me to distinguish between different types of liberal friends. The majority of stuff I hear about FGC makes me roll my eyes. The tendency of certain active and well-known members in the large meeting I now attend to stand up and rebuke any ministry that is given about Christ is upsetting to me. The practice of combative "ministry," the aggressive dislike of Christianity, and the tendency to give membership to people who perhaps need a little more seasoning in order to truly believe in Quaker process and methods of worship make me long for more Conservative-style worship.
I am aware that there are many reasons to be uncomfortable with Christianity: aggressive evangelism, historical and contemporary persecution in Jesus' name, etc. I'm also aware that the "SPICE" testimonies which FGC friends tend to be so fond of are based in a cohesive and flexible interpretation of scripture. My own mother finds her feminism often conflicts with the New Testament, which is understandable given how much her Catholic upbringing/education chafed against her ideas about women and equality. It was when I announced when I was about two years old that I wanted to be a priest that my parents finally left the Catholic Church for Princeton Friends Meeting.
Over the weekend, I had the chance to worship with Princeton Friends for Easter. Princeton, like my local meeting, is an unprogrammed dual-affiliated (FGC/FUM) meeting in a college town. Unlike my local meeting, Princeton is a small meeting in a semi-rural setting on the outskirts of town. And there I found that several members were lead to speak of the crucifixion story and were not rebuked during worship by someone who identifies as a non-theist or pagan or Jewish Friend. I am certain these elements are present in the meeting, especially given the items and wishes that I was asked to pass on to family members, but they weren't combative, at least not on Easter Sunday.
I am trying to think of what I might be able to do to help heal the wounds that cause so much of the anti-Christian sentiment where I worship. I will continue to faithfully give the messages I am given, which are so often about comfort, sin, obedience, redemption, forgiveness and Christ's love. I will continue to spread the gospel as I am asked, although I feel my voice is largely unwelcomed. I don't feel that every Quaker needs to be fully Christian, but I simply can't understand how one can be virulently anti-Christian and still be a Quaker. Why can't one of the paths up the mountain be hand in hand with Christ Jesus?
I know that whatever I do, it will only be so far as I am led. In thinking about this issue, the only thing that is clear to me is that I need to continue to be fully honest about my faith. Honest about my universalism and it's limits. Honest about the power of Christian Salvation in my life. Honest about my struggles with theology and scripture. And perhaps most importantly, honest about how uncomfortable I feel expressing my Christianity in the Big Urban Meeting I attend.