In this time of increasing recognition of and actions on a wide range of social justice issues, by a rapidly increasing number of people, there comes a growing awareness of how interrelated these things are.
Each summer Quakers in the Midwest, who belong to Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), gather at Scattergood Friends School and Farm just outside West Branch, Iowa. We spend the week enjoying each other’s company, worshipping, and sharing the work involved, such as washing dishes and sweeping the floor and caring for the children. We learn what social justice organizations have been doing, and we take care of our business matters. Sometimes a Minute, a statement related to our beliefs to be shared with others, is brought from a committee for approval.
This summer during our Peace and Social Concerns Committee meetings there was a sense of the interconnections among the many things we are concerned about. Following is the Minute that was approved.
Interconnections Among Dilemmas
We as Quakers, experience the unifying core that animates all peoples and nature. This common experience compels us to work at resolving injustices that separate peoples and people from nature.
American society, in which we live and breathe, is today saturated by greed and violence to the extent that life as we know it veers toward extinction. Maladies that we experience as separate are in reality deeply interconnected.
Examples are legion:
Our imperialist foreign policy, which encompasses mass killings of people of color has the same roots as violence within our borders.
Gun violence parallels military violence and systemic racism.
Domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse are directly coupled with military violence and structural poverty.
Massive population displacement results from war, climate disruption and economic policy.
Climate disruption follows from the unquenchable greed and military dominance that alienates us from each other and the rest of the world.
Only radical turning will save the world. It is both frightening and challenging to consider that a great part of both the problem and the solution lies within U.S. society.
Our hope rests in the spirit of Christ moving within and among us and our attentiveness to its direction. Within Friends, different members bring different gifts of discernment and action.
Artistic creativity opens possibility and inspires broader participation. Those who faithfully lobby lawmakers and insert themselves in democratic processes move us forward. Those who engage in healing and rebuilding our communities provide the basis for peace and stability. Interrupting the racism woven into our culture opens untold possibilities. Alternatives to Violence workers dismantle roots of violence and build bridges. Those who aid in releasing us from the greed endemic to capitalism can do much to save the environment and interrupt rapacious resource exploitation. Spirit-grounded educators ease technological and intellectual barriers to the world we seek. Individuals nearing the end of their life may offer unique wisdom, love and support to those with the energy to continue life on earth.
Quaker Social Change Ministry of AFSC, Advocacy Teams of FCNL, Experiment with Light, and Clearness Committees are among the various Quaker techniques for moving us forward towards the Light and away from fear and despair. How we avail ourselves of them will rest on the particular resources of the communities in which we live and diverse gifts within our meetings.
We have one purpose; a spiritual awakening and creating a peaceful, loving, just and sustainable world. And there are diverse approaches to reach the goal. We act in harmony when we support, appreciate, and speak truth to those whose struggles intersect with ours, even when the paths seem to be different.