On Monday morning at yearly meeting, I heard a call for us to create policy. What should we be doing together to change the world? What I hear is not necessarily what anyone else hears, or even what was said, especially as I lost all my notes of the YM because my lap-top saved only the wrong version of the document. However, we do not need policies. It took few of us to campaign for equal marriage in worship; the response to the consultation came from paid employees. We know we all should oppose Trident, even though it will probably be bought, sinking over a hundred billion pounds into machines to kill billions, some of them slowly and painfully. So we will talk, and make facebook posts, and lobby MPs, but this will be the focus of the lives of few of us.
And we all know we should live more sustainable, lower carbon lives; and many of us want to boycott Israeli settlements; and these are small parts of many lives, incremental spiritual growth not great Conversion.
In YM, a woman stood to minister, and was not called; and stood again and again until someone shouted out from the side that she had stood and never been called. The clerks say they check to see everyone standing, and make a positive decision whom to call to speak. In conversation between sessions, I said standing so many times breaks the rules: you listen to the flow of ministry. Yours may cease to be relevant. Caroline said, no, you check whether you are still moved to speak. The minister and the clerks sense the calling, the rest of us must trust. The clerks had called that woman to speak, and she had told a story I had thought of doubtful relevance. They put a reference to it in the draft minute, but then someone stood to question that, and it was removed. I was left dissatisfied: not calling, then calling her; referring to her ministry, then not, could all have been wrong.
There were calls for us to use our ways of testing concerns more. Is your calling true? Have it tested in meetings for clearness, or business meetings. This could be like the difference between a series of unsatisfactory dates, and falling in love: we say, I think this is important, and others say, that appears rational; we record what looks like a minute, but there is no Calling. I fear an increase in pointless activity, and common sense, not inspiration.
How could I know? Would a true leading make my heart sing, and elicit a great Yes from all Friends to whom I opened it? Would patient obedience in small things be my way? Am I missing something??? Being clear would be lovely, but is not always possible; I must resign myself to getting things wrong, if I am to do anything at all; and delight in every good thing I see.