Yesterday I wrote in response to Rev William Barber’s admonition in his article in Friends Journal, “Quakers, it’s time to get back into the public square. If you believe that there’s life above the snake line, it’s time to get back in the public square.” The Third Reconstruction, Friends Journal, September 1, 2016.
As I get ready to go to meeting for worship this morning, I’m enjoying how that article begins. “It’s always been one of my great dreams to come and be at a Quaker Friends meeting, even if it meant just sittin’ and bein’ quiet. And that’s because I know enough about history to know about the Religious Society of Friends and the abolition campaigns that began long before the end of slavery in Britain.”
In yesterday’s blog article I was trying to illustrate ways that I have been trying to express a spiritual, moral, Quaker voice in public. I was hoping there might be some ideas there that you might use in your own efforts to speak out in public. I might not have made it clear enough that I am hoping more of you will speak out more in the public square.
Some of the key issues are how you feel comfortable in sharing what you have to say, who your intended audience is, and how we can identify what we are saying as coming from a Quaker viewpoint, if you want to include that. It is my hope that more of us find ways to identify ourselves in public as being Quaker. Is it time to bring back plain dress, the broad rimmed hats, and bonnets?
I would encourage emphasizing the Quaker part for a couple of reasons. One is that it sets an historic and spiritual context for what you are doing. Your interested readers/listeners may be led to make a Quaker connection, to answer the spiritual seeking they are doing. They may not live anywhere near you, but may look for a local Quaker connection as a result of your writing.
I believe a great number of people are trying to find a spiritual home right now, and that Quakerism may be an answer for many of them. But they need a way to find us. That means (1) sharing your work in a way that is identified as Quaker, and (2) sharing in places where seekers are looking.
Without overdoing it, you can mention that you are a Quaker when you write things. When introductions are made at public meetings, you can include that you are a Quaker. And consider various ways to use graphics/art for Quaker identification, like the ‘Quaker man’ icon I use to identify my blog posts. Including photos and drawings in your writings often adds interest, and there are many Quaker related images you can use–meetinghouses, peace vigils, gatherings.
Social media seems to be where many seekers and others look for news and interest items. Facebook is a quick and interactive way to engage. Besides just following your friends on Facebook, look for Facebook groups, where you can find like minded people to share with. Type the subject you are interested in in the search box, and a list of related groups will appear.
As I mentioned, I have found writing on a blog to be the best solution for me, thus far. There are a number of places that will allow you to have your own blog, free of charge. www.wordpress.com is one of the most popular.
Listen to your inner light. Are you being led to share? Don’t hide your light under a bushel.