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Readings for Reflection: December 2009
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

This month’s Reading is excerpted from an address entitled “Visioning and Empowering,” presented by Bridget Moix at a conference on Friends’ Peace Witness in a Time of Crisis in 2003. The conference was called to help Friends consider their response to the growing dangers of global war and terrorism, an issue that remains important six years later. Presentations at the conference were gathered in an FWCC book of the same title. Bridget Moix, a young adult Friend from New York Yearly Meeting, has worked for FCNL, QUNO (New York), and Casa de los Amigos (Mexico City), and is now back at FCNL as a lobbyist.

Visioning and Empowering
Bridget Moix

… I’ve always said that nothing motivates the peace movement like a war, but Friends are different. We are constant in our witness. Yet here we are, having been driven or led together, struggling and grappling with that witness, at a time when it is called for so deeply in the world. …

… We are a society that places deep value on corporate decision-making, yet we also value individual conscience. We believe we have to struggle against injustice in the world, and we must love our enemy. We want to transform and change the world, and we know we must change our own selves and our communities. We feel responsible and complicit. We know we are not up to the task we are called to do, and we know we must do it. Some people talk about this contradiction, and they say, “It’s a place of creative tension,” – and this is supposed to help us. But instead, we often feel ourselves having to make choices about how we will live out our peace witness – about the paradoxes we know to be, deep down, filled with Truth.

… We are called to the edge, to a radical witness to the world that will cost us, endanger us, and fulfill us. … We are called again to live in the power that takes away the occasion of all wars, and we are called to do so by understanding and removing the roots of violence of war in whatever forms they take in ourselves, and in the world around us, and to prevent the seeds of war from being planted, filling the ground instead with our fruit, the fruit we have been given. I am sure we are not the first group of Friends called to renew the covenant of peace with God and among ourselves. I’ve been thinking much about John Woolman’s journey… – Friends were slaveholders in a society of slaveholders – and the transition, the churning, the wrestling, and the struggle it must have been to change ourselves and then change the world. I believe we are being called as Friends have been before, to re-order our own lives – to reach out and give deeply of ourselves to others in the world, to the most vulnerable, at risk to ourselves, and to work publicly to change the policies, and structures, and systems of our society and our world in ground-shaking ways. I believe we are called to do this courageously, openly, diligently, and most of all lovingly. It’s an enormous call.

… We are being called to renew it, to begin again, together.

Reprinted with permission: Friends’ Peace Witness in a Time of Crisis, Ed. Nancy Irving, Vicki Hain Poorman, and Margaret Fraser, Friends World Committee for Consultation – Section of the Americas, Philadelphia, 2005.

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