Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's been a rough week for Friends in the Quaker City

On Tuesday, the Inquirer carried a searing front-page exposé on Philadelphia's best kept secret: PYM (Philadephia Yearly Meeting, or the regional organization of the Religious Society of Friends) has serious leadership and decision making issues. Said one high-ranking Friend (oops, my mistake! we don't have rank-- we're egalitarian...) "Even the purchase of an office copier seems to need a broad consensus."


First we Quakers make it into the Defense Department's secret TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice) database. Now we're on the front page of the Inquirer. We'll probably see Anderson Cooper interviewing the outgoing general secretary in just a few.

OK, on the serious side, all I know about PYM's tenuous structure is what's on the organization's website. However, at annual sessions a couple of years ago it would have been impossible not to notice that all the committee members were sexagenarians, septuagenarians, and even octogenarians. (Hey, that Latin stuff really does come in handy sometimes!) Any group that will not let new, younger blood into key posts is definitely putting the organization's future in jeopardy. I've also noticed (along with numerous others) a marked tendancy toward the pursuit of individual "leadings" rather than group action. But ... is this really the stuff of page-one, investigative journalism? Or maybe it's just the Inquirer's answer to freed hostage Jill Carroll's series in the Christian Science Monitor.

Well, as if you hadn't already noticed, I don't have anything really astute to say. If you want to read some serious discussion about PYM leadership or lack thereof (and how we're not overtly religious enough), you can buzz on over to the Quaker Ranter's site.

I just have to say that --from my vantage point in the little meeting where I'm a member-- I think there's still quite a bit of faithfulness left in this "peculiar people" who can't manage to follow the leader like good little sheep, who don't ask Christ to bless their country's bombs, and who aren't licking their chops in anticipation of the day when Nicolae Carpathia and his minions will be cast into hell and they alone will be saved.

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