Are You a Liberal or Orthodox Quaker?

Many seekers have discovered Quakers through online quizzes like Beliefnet, but what do they mean by “Liberal” and “Orthodox” Quaker?

Is QuakerSpeak worth $1 a video?
Jon Watts

Jon Watts

Jon Watts launched and directed the QuakerSpeak project for its first 6 seasons. Keep up to date with Jon’s work at his website.

7 thoughts on “Are You a Liberal or Orthodox Quaker?

  1. We have been using QuakerSpeak to facilitate discussion during second hour on some firstdays at Hopewell Centre Mtg. I anticipate that this one could spark some great discussion on where members and attenders “fit” along the spectrum of beliefs of Friends. What fun!
    This is a terrific service you are providing to us, Jon! Keep them coming please.

  2. Hi from italy. What about conservative friends? Here in italy i can see only (few) self-styled friends who talk about LGBT activism, leftism and so on.. i don’t like these kind of politics, and i’m not a leftist.. i only want to get involved in traditional quaker worship: silent, unprogrammed, and with plain people.
    Are these “conservative “ friend?
    Ora what kind of quakerism i should look for?
    Thank you
    Danilo

  3. I would like to hear Max explain the difference between small c conservative and big C Conservative Friends and Friends Meetings.

  4. I tend to measure the meetings as programmed vs unprogrammed myself. Programmed meaning more in line with the Protestant churches. I grew-up a member of West Grove Friends. It is called conservative, but is unprogrammed.

  5. I have been very Liberal. When I became a Quaker and already being Liberal, I knew it was for me. When doing my Geneology several years ago, I discovered that Mary Dyer was one of my 10th grandmothers. Oh, my!!!! She is as liberal as it comes.

  6. Max, I’ve known you since all your hair was atop your head, and you were the “Pied Piper” of Indiana’s Quaker youth at Quaker Haven Camp… and I’ve followed your career in Quaker leadership with admiration over the decades. Thanks so much for opening this discussion about Quaker “styles” and their historic options. I only wish you’d been a little more explanatory about the varieties of Quakerism that can exist within the one biggest Quaker grouping, F.U.M. (Friends United Meeting), and with F.U.M. meetings that ALSO have membership in the nonprogrammed group FGC – Friends General Conference.

    For example in Greensboro, you mention going to what may be considered a “liberal” (and unprogrammed) Meeting, (Friendship), and a Choir-and-Pastor more evangelical meeting, (First Friends)… but you don’t mention the meeting that happily straddles traditions, the New Garden Meeting. It doesn’t have choir that I’ve known of in my attendance, but may have instrumental music before Sunday worship begins, it does have a paid Minister, but in all the FIrst Days Ive been there, the custom seemed to be that during silent worship, he stood up from among worshippers in the pews & spoke very briefly, 5-10 minutes, with a longer period of open worship afterwards. There may be hymns or not.

    Many other Meetings I’ve attended have this blend… and members are a mix of of those inexact categories of “orthodox” and “liberal.” Especially in the Midwest, many Meetings are finding a productive “middle way” if encouraged to remain in the Big Tent of modern-day Quakerism… the newly-formed and flourishing New Association of Friends in Indiana is a great example. For many years now I’ve been in the East, member of 4 different Meetings, with the message that God CAN enter a room that has a piano in it! Blessings; keep up the work.

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