Thursday, 19 October 2017

I Look To The Future

I look to the future of the Society of Friends. I see a thriving community of faith, where a great range of experience, of thought, of ideas are share. I see all celebrating the experience of each other, expressed authentically in the terms that fit that experience. I see each offering received in the sense in which it is offered, and difference a source of joy, celebration, and learning. I see a force for good in the world, speaking truth to power, uplifting the downtrodden and including the excluded. A voice in the wilderness crying out and being heard.
But I also see a community divided and dwindling, self-righteous, homogeneous and ageing. I see Friends become enemies, jealously guarding their own conceptions and sure of the superiority of their experience. A Society consumed more with its inward concerns, having been consumed by its inward turmoil. A Society that still cares for the outer world, but robbed of the power to speak to it, to act in it effectively. A voice in the wilderness muted and forgotten.
No future is real until it is reached, and thus both of these future lie before us now. Our Religious Society strides on, not knowing where it will reach; a hundred small decisions will bring us to the future we choose, even if that choice is made blindly.
For as I see these futures, as clear views of hilltops in the distance, I cannot see the streams and forests and valleys between where we are now, and where we might be. Yet setting our sights upon the future we would reach, and listening to the promptings of love and truth in our hearts, we may find our way to the future we desire. Trusting in that which guides us, and in our fellow travellers, we may together reach a fruitful destination. Distrust and contention are natural, and unavoidable, yet I feel in my heart that it is those that will, unchecked and unmanaged, lead us to the future we would choose to avoid.
Written October 2017
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