ReservationsI find myself compelled to add this, well, disclaimer to my Seekers page. I personally have serious reservations about the nature and content of some of what goes on in the "Quaker blogosphere." I rarely venture out into those wilds, and when I do, very quickly, the unfortunate realities of "flame wars" and flat out failure to communicate, causes me to avoid even glancing at the Quaker blogs (even ones I like and trust). I learned several years ago that it was not Good for me to be a member of a web group. I have only this week finally articulated for myself that even just "checking in" on the Quaker blogs that are out there can seriously impair my Silence during worship. (Anything that gets between thee and God, for thee, this thing is sin.)
People can and will say things online they would never say to someone's face.
People can and do say things they know are lies, just to "get a reaction" or to feel they have some impact.
It is hard to stay loving and open. Perhaps not even safe to do so.
I personally use the "fruit of the Spirit" as outlined in Galatians 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
For myself, my forays into the web groups and the blogging world did not grow the fruit of the Spirit, though it was also clear to me that it does so for others.
It is also hard to be an isolated Friend or Seeker. The web can be a wonderful place to make connections. I have personally found many worthy and seasoned companions on the web. But don't venture out into the wilds of the world wide web unless thee is safely seat belted in, thy boundaries strong, thy sense of humor in gear, and thy desire to do only what is Right and Good is at full throttle. Quakers have just as difficult a time with True Pacifism as anyone else.
It would be ideal if in all things, we would seek to discern God's will and keep our hearts open to the Fruits of the Spirit. I am hardly one to argue that people "cloister" their virtues by never testing them. But what is Needful and Necessary for one may prove otherwise for another. In my case, I now give this whole area a fairly wide berth. It is a witness that is not required of me, and more of a test of faith than God is calling me to today.
TO all the Elect, Chosen and Faithful, who . . . are the Gold tried in the Fire. Who have been tried by Goods spoiling, by Bonds, by Whippings, by Mockings and Reproaches . . . and some have been tried unto Death; and ye have proved to be the pure Gold, that hath come out brighter and brighter. Who have not feared the Waves of the Sea, nor the Winds; who fears not the Storms nor the Weather; whose Anchor holds, which is the Hope, the Mystery, which anchors the Soul which is Immortal, to the Immortal God. . . ...
I am not Amish or Mennonite, but some people who come to my website are interested in knowing more about these groups. I can recommend these books as authoritative and relatively inexpensive sources of further information.