How Quakers Make Decisions (It’s Not Just Consensus!)

Eden Grace explains how the sacred discernment of seemingly trivial decisions can transform the world.

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.

12 thoughts on “How Quakers Make Decisions (It’s Not Just Consensus!)

  1. Thanks so much Eden for your deep and meaningful description of our decision making process. I so often am put in the positon of trying to explain our meeting for worship with a concern for business and your words will help me the next time I am called to that opportunity. The entire Quaker Speak has been so inspirational – and what a joy to see Friends that I know and love and meet new people in our Beloved Community. Much gratitude to Jon and Friends Journal and others who are making this possible!

  2. Dear Friends

    Thank you for showing us an insiders view of the “theological” practices of your faith traditions.
    Tom Stanley

  3. Thank you Friend Eden. Your last statement hits home with me. ‘There is no secular work.’ has been a center in my Life. All that is done by all people, is spiritually influenced. When a group does as you presented earlier, ‘alright, good enough’, they appear to be disregarding spirit within. It is similar to just accepting certain rites, rituals, and ceremonies. Some religious organizations do not believe in questioning their system. With growth in belief of a Global Consciousness, this Quaker view, you ended with, is valuable for the residents of earth.

  4. What a simple, straight-forward way to describe Quaker meeting for worship to conduct business!

  5. I regret that I am unable to interpret or understand phrases such as “the will of god” or “god wants…” If god is the all-powerful creative deity, the words “will” and “want” have no semantic trsction for me.

    1. Hank,

      I sympathize with your remarks. “Theist” may not be the default position of life, with “atheist” being a diversion. “Secularist” may be the default position of life, with “Theist” being the diversion.

      “God” is one metaphor for spirituality. “Weather” and “electricity” are a few of the alternative metaphors.

  6. Eden does give a beautiful, clear understanding of the Quaker way of doing business. The example of the carpet is especially useful, as it is SO often mentioned.

    Joan Liversidge and Chester Kirchman add more material for contemplation, especially for this Friend who has difficulty with the concept of an anthropomorphic God – yet can find no better way to express that ineffable sense of connection that can happen in worship.

    Thanks to all involved in the gift of Quakerspeak! It too is a valuable gift to Friends and seekers.

  7. It seems a bit strange to be replying to Sam, replying to Hank, over 3 years later but Friends Journal apparently shared the original post on Twitter today so here I am.
    Sam writes: “I sympathize with your remarks. “Theist” may not be the default position of life, with “atheist” being a diversion. “Secularist” may be the default position of life, with “Theist” being the diversion. ” I understand and maybe concur with this. (In 2017 in the UK, not sure about the US though, it’s pretty much a matter of fact that the majority, if not the ‘default’ are secular).
    Don’t understand though how Weather and Electricity might be alternative metaphors for spirituality. If God is a metaphor (for whatever…) I wonder what the ‘non-theist’ or secular understanding of Meeting for worship for business might be? (‘Sense of the Meeting’ is a bit of a cop out?).
    Maybe we will discuss this in the UK at the NFN Conference at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham, England in March, considering the future of Quakerism. for full details and all welcome!

  8. Eden, how Quakers make final decisions is still unclear to me.
    What happens if two people out of ten firmly want a different color?
    How do we choose the final color of the carpet?

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