When it comes to engaging with the world, Quakers have a saying: “Let your life speak.” What does that look like for us as citizens concerned about the policies of the federal government?
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Megan Fair: I’ve always felt like Quakerism has compelled me to act in the face of injustice. It’s been a core part of the faith for me, less so about the words and more so about the actions. For me, FCNL is the embodiment of that, the embodiment of Quaker action.
What is the Future of Quaker Advocacy?
Alex Stark: I am always guided by the George Fox saying, “Let your life speak,” and for Quakers the idea of not only holding these deeply-held principles, but also being compelled to act on them.
Ebby Lugava: Quakers, instead, we take our church and walk with it.
Michael Fuson: One of the spiritual hearts of Quakerism is a belief that God speaks to each of us in one way or another, and that each of us can in fact respond to that. That means not just a personal code of conduct about trying to live a good life myself but also how I’m involved in the larger world.
A Quaker Vision for the World
Connie Crawford: One of my favorite statements is from The Committee on National Legislation, that we seek a world with peace and justice and community that’s sustainable around the world.
Ebby Lugava: And in fact, that is our statement—FCNL’s statement—and we want to see a society that is just and equal.
The Quaker Approach to Advocacy
Michael Snarr: To me, Quakers’ most unique aspect of their advocacy work is they listen, they’re willing to sit down with those on the other side and hear all sides and try to create a place where there can be trust built, where relationships can be built.
Megan Fair: The core of FCNL’s work is all about those genuine relationships, it’s all about those relationships based on seeing that of God in the person across the table.
Michael Fuson: The other thing I find very special about the Friends Committee’s approach is that it has a very long-term perspective, and it’s willing to work on issues not just for a month, but for decades.
Building a Better World
Alex Stark: No matter what political era you’re living in but perhaps now more than ever, there is a tendency to despair about the possibility of change. The prophetic vision that FCNL holds up is helpful for me in holding out the hope and the vision that we are moving in broad steps, small steps, or large steps toward our prophetic vision and that the arc of the moral universe really does bend towards justice.
Mary Lou Hatcher: On any given day, you could be looking at a thousand different ways to spend your time, but if you’re trying to be strategic and say, “how can my desires for a better world be most clearly and effectively moved forward,” then it helps to be associated with a community of people that’s also working on that, and everyone’s bringing their best mind and their best heart to the work, and really looking for the next, best, most effective, most fully love-ladened action.
A Message for Future Generations of Friends
Michael Snarr: I guess my advice to those in the future would be: be patient. Change doesn’t often come quickly. Work for the long term, not just short-term victories. It’s going to be a struggle.
Connie Crawford: It can seem idealistic. It is. But there are some practical steps that we can all take if we work together. One little step at a time. Sometimes very small steps. Sometimes backwards. But if we keep looking at the big picture and being aware of our progress and our setbacks, and keeping those long term goals in mind, in some ways I think—especially in these times, that are difficult times—it helps keeps me going.
Ebby Lugava: So if someone is watching 75 years from now, I want them to realize that there are always people that we look up to in the past, there are those that have done the hard lifting, and we should never let that legacy go by the wayside. That perfect world, I’m still looking for it, so when I’m long gone, someone please come over and drop a coin or something on my graveside and say, “Ebby, we did it.”
- If you could communicate one thing to future generations of Quakers 75 years from now, what would you say?
- Megan Fair says, “I’ve always felt like Quakerism has compelled me to act in the face of injustice.” Where does this come from? How does it manifest for you?
The views expressed in this video are of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Friends Journal or its collaborators.