met Zac Moon today from Nevada Dessert Experience, a Franciscan ministry that seeks to non-violently protest the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the nuclear test site in Nevada. I really enjoyed meeting with this fellow Quaker who comes as a radical Christian from the un-programmed group of Friends.
In talking about the problems of identity crisis within all strands of the Friends church he pointed to two ideas about why our Quaker churches aren’t as radical as they ought to be: A fear for suffering (owning our traditions narrative and the narrative of the Gospels) and a loss of focus on the Cross of Christ.
We all love our lives to much to be willing to go and protest things we theologically disagree with. Quakers today (especially evangelical ones) are not in the radical stream of living out their faith (generally speaking). What i mean is we as a community are not countering the power structures of the world today in the way that our forbearers did, who were repeatedly scorned, imprisoned, threatened, hated, debated, etc. We are afraid, I am afraid, to own the Gospel narrative in this way. It is much more american, and human, to read about Jesus’ suffering and say “that’s Jesus, I’m not Jesus, he doesn’t expect me to be,” than it is to say, “i own that story as my own, i bear the name of Christ and all he did, and will live it no matter the cost to me, my family, my friends, i have counted it all loss.” We need people today who are willing to enter into this kind of Christianity again, people who will truly own the Christian story, and show us again the power of faith, witness and the cross.