[saymaListserv] RE: Politics in Meeting
jhminshall at comcast.net
Sat Dec 20 11:24:01 JEST 2003
Dear SAYMA Friends, I know many of you will be happy to hear that I
have decided to take a vacation from writing to the Kitenet list for
awhile. Have a wonderful holiday season and a joyous new year. Janet
Hi Susan Jeffers, I have just received your message for the second
time. I think you sent it to me once and to the SAYMA list once so I
got two. This morning I feel more like answering it than I did
yesterday so I will. I assume that you read my response to Paul Nunis
and Larry Osborne on the SAYMA Kitenet list. If not, I have attached
I have been a Friend for twenty-five years and I find that the most
irksome thing among Friends, in my experience, is that they have
forgotten the traditional practice of plain speaking. Elias Hicks
would never have used "niceness" as a substitute for dealing with
substantive differences. In meetings where I have been a
member/regular attender conflict avoidance was seen as the accepted
form of peacemaking and, of course, it NEVER brought peace.
Unacknowledged differences were simmering beneath the relatively
quiet surface and would not go away until they were directly
While I agree with both Paul Nunis and Larry Osborne that the process
of being gentle with each other often helps in communication, Friends
tend to be too gentle, too much on the side of conflict avoidance,
thus leaving the unacknowledged differences to fester. I hope this
>Janet Minshall wrote on 12-15-03:
>Dear Larry Osborne and Paul Nunis, I sincerely appreciate your
>responses. It is wonderful to carry on a serious discussion on this
>list. This is, I believe, the most Friendly and the most productive
>use of electronic communications.
>First, the intent of Free Polazzo's message, which I inadvertently
>passed on to the Kitenet list without his permission, was to ask
>that time be set aside at yearly meeting to address his and others'
>spiritual concerns about how we might respond in a Spirit-led manner
>to the war. Those concerns have been raised by President Bush's
>public statements that he sees this country in a state of war, of
>ongoing conflict, for the forseeable future. Other spiritual
>concerns arise from the Bush administration's apparent lack of
>concern for truth, for the law, and for human rights in pursuit of
>their economic and political goals. Bush and some of his appointees
>have openly stated that opposition to their goals may constitute
>We as Friends have a testimony concerning Truth, specifically of
>"one standard of truth", which is to be observed in both our public
>and our private lives. You suggest that we should discuss
>spiritually troubling ideas and our concerns about them freely, but
>not name the adherents of those ideas or hold them responsible for
>the effects they create. This appears to me to be obfuscation,
>Obfuscation: to confuse and obscure an issue or concern by
>introducing extraneous information. I prefer to speak plainly, or
>try to, as another of our testimonies--Simplicity--enjoins us to do.
>By separating current US policy from those who have developed and
>enforced it, you create the "wiggle room" necessary for people to
>conclude that "Republicans and Democrats are both the same" (they
>most certainly are not) and that by voting for someone with no
>possibility of winning we assume and defend the higher moral ground.
>Friere was right, all education IS political. And I agree completely
>that there is that of God (as well as that of the Devil) in all of
>us. We are called as Friends to discern which is which and do
>something about it, not retreat into a confusion of form with
> Janet Minshall, Anneewakee Creek Friends Worship Group
>Thanks so much for the discussion on whether and how to include
>politics in Yearly Meeting.
>I'm a member of another Yearly Meeting (Lake Erie YM, which includes
>the lower peninsula of Michigan, northern and eastern Ohio, and 2
>meetings in West Virginia). I subscribe to the SAYMA list because my
>husband and I have ties to Charleston WV Friends Meeting, and I like
>to keep up with what's happening with our immediate YM neighbors.
>Also y'all have a REAL nice EMail list!
>I'm especially interested in this discussion because I'm on the LEYM
>Program Committee, and wondering whether and how we should be doing
>something, program-wise, to make space for Friends political
>concerns to be aired.
>Free's original post "Friends don't usually bring politics into the
>Meeting, but does President George W. Bush's focus on WAR change
>that? Can we get a discussion going at YM that raises this concern?
>What do you think?" could easily have been written by any number of
>LEYM Friends, as could his additional, more specifically "defeat
>Bush at the polls" addendum.
>I'm sure there would also be a number of LEYM Friends (I'd be one of
>them) who would say "this Friend speaks my mind" to Paul Nunis' post:
>"There is one politcal practice that I personally would
>wish to see less of in our midst, and that is the
>partisan vilification of those for whom one did not
>vote, or the perjoration of those who voted
>differently, wrapped in a pseudo-Friendly 'message'.
>Attempting to tar an individual, or a group, as being
>the mechanism for society's ills, would seem to miss
>several points, not the least of them Biblical."
>So -- what do y'all think about this? As Larry Osborne so
>eloquently asks -- what should be our process?
>Thanks again -- God's blessings to you all --
>Lake Erie Yearly Meeting Program Committee
>EMail: susan at read-the-bible.org
>Peace Church Bible Study Home Page: www.read-the-bible.org
>Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association mailing list
>sayma at kitenet.net
Janet's new e mail address is : jhminshall at comcast.net
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