FW: Diversity; Was: Re: IMP^o^051 Chatt AFSC Minute

Larry Ingle lingle at bellsouth.net
Fri Mar 31 14:08:06 JEST 2000

I very much appreciate Willard Vaughan's attempt to direct readers on this
list to some rules.  I have seen similar ones before and agree that there is
some basis for using them, particularly when things get heated.

I do not believe that either Gerald Rudolph or I were particularly heated or
overly stressed when we responded.  I took nothing that he said to heart nor
personally, and I trust the same is true for him in response to my postings.

I do not think that plain speaking on matters of deep concern--or even fast
responses--are examples of heated reactions.  They merely indicate the depth
of one's concerns and interests.  Gerald Rudolph asked that critics of AFSC
speak plainly--he was attempting, I think (although he can speak for
himself), to ferret out examples of opposition to homosexual involvement in
and among AFSC, something of which I am not guilty--and I reciprocated.
Apparently some--Peggy Bonnington, Perry Treadwell, and perhaps Free
Polazzo--considered the rapid response and tone of our postings to indicate
anger and hostility, something "unQuakerly."  I did not sense this then and
do not now, on reflection.

I think that Free Polazzo hit the nail on the head when he started his
posting with "What is Quaker?"  This is the central issue, clearly related
to this year's yearly meeting theme of diversity.  When we get into
discussions of fundamental issues, we inevitably rub up against the question
of what Quakerism is anyway.  Does diversity go to basic levels or does it
only concern superficial matters, such as, for example, how we part our
(remaining?) hair?  Are your views (religious experiences) as important to
you as mine are to me?  At what point can anyone rightful say, "I do not
believe that your views (religious experiences and beliefs) are accepted in
the Society of Friends?"  On what basis can one say such a thing?

The reality is that diversity has a very high value in our secular society
and perhaps an even higher one in our religious one.  Hence we find such
fundamental discussions to be upsetting and tendentious and try to avoid
them if at all possible.  Unlike Gerald Rudolph, I think that a yearly
meeting devoting to such basis exploration is something to be valued and
cherished; if it doesn't move in on us a bit then it is not getting to basic
issues.  I would hope that no on would stay away from SAYMA because of fear
that someone might confront or respond to another's fundamental views.

As to Willard Vaughan's desire for a "concise" history of AFSC, I am not
sure that his wish is shared by others.  I could post a paragraph or two on
its history from an article I did a couple of years ago, if that is a
general wish.  As a historian, I try to be as objective as possible, even as
I admit my biases, but I am aware that some might well see my contribution
in this regard as an effort at propagandizing.  I await some responses.

Larry Ingle

>From: "Willard Vaughan, PE" <teamenv at mail.premiernet.net>
>To: Free Polazzo <friendlysystems at mindspring.com>
>Subject: Re: IMP^o^051 Chatt AFSC Minute
>Date: Fri, Mar 31, 2000, 8:36 AM

> I have oft thoght about the time when quakers would speak to an issue on
> the listserve.  So far the list serve has only been used for small data
> exchanges.  I think that a CALM and COLLECTIVE THOGUTHT PROCESS whould
> be nice and allow us in SAYMA a more indepth discussion and allowing of
> time to reflect and maybe even read other references to help understand
> the issues.
> Well that time has come I see.  One note, the computer/internet people
> have copied the quakers in that listservers are sometimes moderated.
> That is to say someone is in charge of readding all emails prior to them
> going out to the public and has the responsibility to reject any that
> are not appropriate.  This is something like a censoring clerk.
> While I think that a listserve clerk may be necessary, (no we do not
> need another slot for the nominating commmittee to fill)  I also feel
> that maybe some ground rules may be need to be established much like we
> have in meeting.  Here are my modest proposals:
> 1.  Much in the manner of allowing a peroid of time after spoken message
> in meeting, there also needs to be a peroid of time after an email.
> Quick responses are often emotional and do not add to the logic decision
> process and proper spirit of the concern.  It is suggested that an email
> wait (season) for 24 hours before responding.  I have found that this is
> an effective tool for both myself and my work habits.  It would not
> hurt  as I have found, to print the email and discuss it with other
> Friends if necessary.  I have done this and it helps me put things right
> before I do something really dumb.
> 2.  Much like English 101 - please state in clear english in 25 words or
> less what you are trying to say.  This should come at the begining of
> the email so that all can see quickly your topic and what your intent is
> with the email.  Then have following paragragphs or chapters if you are
> so inclined to explain your who what or whys.
> 3.  Be constructive - The hardest lesson the technicans who work with me
> had to learn was that I did not have the answeres to all of their
> problems.  They would come to me and state a problem and ask what to
> do.  I would often reply with a question of what do you suggest?  They
> always had a better answer to the problems then I could generate.
> Therefore if there is a problem, provide what you feel may be a
> solution.  The solution may help others to better define the problem.
> 4.  Do not be de-constructive - We all have personalities and I know
> that given the choice I would like to ask some persons "Is that dumb ass
> remark that you said the way you want it recorded in the proceedings?"
> But no thanks to Penny and the spirit, I keep it quite and let it go.
> But I do have to look into the remark and try to find that of God for I
> am sure it is there looking for me.  We need to not attack directly or
> indicectly others.  To many people have put to much of themselves into
> projects - programs, etc. and when people discuss these
> projects/programs they feel they are being discussed.  We all need to
> carefull.
> And finaily remember this, if you pull your pants down, someone is going
> to look!  You are on a list serve that a lot silent persons are reading
> and while pictures are worth a thousand words, so far we have about one
> and half pictures of some very interesting persons.
> But also, I have seen good quakers bit their lips and not say what needs
> to be said for fear of hurting others. That to me is just as great of a
> sin as speaking hurtfully to others.  George Fox stood up in the churchs
> and spoke to the matter at hand. The preachers did not want to hear it
> but the people did.  And yes he was initally forcefull to break the
> bonds of the church but then he was gentel in the ways of explaining and
> teaching.
> In the matter of AFSC our attention has been directed and I for one
> thank you for reminding me that there was an issue and that I had made a
> committment to myself to follow up and do more homework to better
> understand the issue.  For this I am thankful.  Now can you start again
> with the discussion in a CALM and RATIONAL manner so that we can be
> educated and informed.
> SUGGESTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> Larry can you put together a concise history of AFSC for us all to
> better understand some of the issues you are addressing.  You keep
> talking about leaving the quaker tradition behind, what is that
> tradition. Pleae give places for futher reading and such.  It would be
> nice if this turned into a first hour discussion paper...hint
> Gerald can you put together a concise history of what AFSC has done
> recently that started all the discussion.  Please be factual and
> commentary if fine but be carful that you are explaining and not
> preaching. (sounds like another first hour paper)
> Free - I know you have your heart soul and money in SERO - what can we
> (people of SAYMA) do to interface directly with SERO so that we can get
> our hands dirty so to speak in better understanding SERO and AFSC? (I
> got a hammer and a pray.......)
> Peace and love
> Willard Vaughan

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