Becoming Convinced

Quakers don’t talk about conversion or outward baptism. Instead we say that we’ve become “convinced.” What does that look like?

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.

8 thoughts on “Becoming Convinced

  1. My Grandfather was a minister, also my Step Father, my Mother a missionary nurse. I am a Christian, Jesus is the way.
    I am now a convinced Quaker.
    Before this I was an occasional attendee at a Protestant church. During my pre adult years I was very active in this denominations church life, several weekly services, summer camps, social activities that included many of my school mates but as I grew older I moved away from it. It was no longer spiritually satisfying. There grew a contempt for what I perceived as people that professed Gods Love but did not seem to have Love For God. I also began to wonder what was the point for all the hub-bub and rigmarole that went on during services. This was what attracted me to attend meetings, the Quaker worship enveloped me in a serene feeling of closeness to God and as time passed I realized that I was convinced that I must welcome Quaker practice into my soul.
    With me there was no change in my religious belief and very little in my personal life including political beliefs. Many of the issues of Friends such a racism, death penalty and war have changed only to the extent of being exposed to a different group of peoples viewpoint.

    Unlike Walter I have not had to face these things but like him I am not a complete Quaker. I don’t think I am a very good Quaker in the sense of practicing the principals of Quakerism. There is a gulf between convinced and birthright Quakers. For example, I am military veteran and have been a police officer and have never met a lifelong Quaker that has.

  2. To Carl Alexander, regarding your comment : It seems like you are concerned that because you didn’t have the same experience as a birthright Quaker that it somehow leaves a gap in your ability to be a complete Quaker and the fact that you were in the Military separates you somehow. First let me tell you that my Dad, an 11th generation Quaker, joined the Navy when WWII broke out. He felt it was the right thing to do. At the end of his life, however, it was clear that of all the things he did in this life the war was the most damaging to him. …. As for me, the offspring of a Quaker father and a pentacostal protestant mother I found myself doing a lot of searching. I was a Bahai was quite a while. But when I had an epiphany one day while watching a PBS special, I realized that a great deal of who I was I owed to my Dad’s Quaker values and sensibilities. I came back to where I started only to find it for the first time. And by the way, I spent 26 years as a Police Dispatcher. Take care.

  3. Thank you for your comment. Each person has to find her own way. My parents and their parents were Episcopalians, so my father couldn’t figure out how his 3 daughters became a Quaker, a Mormon, and a Buddhist. I became convinced while studying in California at UC Berkeley.

  4. I have been reading about Quaker practices for several months, first drawn by the posts of Parker Palmer.
    I find a lot that speaks to me. I really appreciate the videos and articles from the Friends Journal and

  5. Thank you, Walter, for opening in me the conversation I am always drawn to, which seems to be how is the experience of the path I am on related to the deepest truths in me, and what do I need to answer “yes” to right now in order to stay on that path? I found I had to re-direct my work on oppression to creative expression of the deep truths behind the oppression as well as accompanying the oppression. My human inner drivers continually bring me back to a need for convincement, and a commitment to the conversation and the actions that are life-renewing. Thank you for finding the words that open.

  6. Carl Alexander, we are all equal as Quakers in our convincement, and birthright Quakers need a kind of convincement too. Convincement is a matter of spiritual opening rather than longevity. I am a convinced Friend now participating for close to years. That people come from different backgrounds and life experiences adds a richness and diversity that I find very valuable.

    Remember the parable Jesus told of the workers in the field, with the most recent to come getting equal wages.

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