Hi! Let me introduce myself. My name is Joshua Brown, and arewefriends.wordpress.com is my blog. My current focus is on how Quakers/Friends in the Midwest and elsewhere in the world can move forward during this time of change and transition.
Quakers have always been growing and changing, ever since the Quaker movement began in the 1650’s. Many of the changes came at great cost, or with great pain and discomfort, and most of the changes were resisted by at least some Friends.
Over the years, Quakers have adopted new forms of ministry and found new ways to express our witness. We have opened up to new cultural and language groups. We have changed our religious vocabulary to include new insights. We have lived through divisions, and we have come back together again.
We have rediscovered our roots many times, and we have always found the Holy Spirit calling to us.
A little bio: I joined Friends in New England Yearly Meeting and was a member of various unprogrammed meetings for many years. I have served as a Friends pastor in New York and am currently a pastor in Indiana. I’ve served on all kinds of Quaker boards and committees, organized conferences, traveled in the ministry, mentored seminary students, led singing, written books and articles, led Bible studies, raised money for missions and service projects — you name it.
I’ve been called a conservative by Friends on the East coast, and a flaming liberal by folks in the Midwest. I find this puzzling, as my basic stance hasn’t changed that much. I guess it all depends on where people see me.
I have a deep love for people, and I mainly put up with the organizational stuff if it helps me to minister to them. Otherwise, labels don’t impress me very much.
I have spent more than 20 years speaking out against the spirit of divisiveness which seems to plague Friends. To quote my own spiritual mentor, Allen Jay,
“Has a separation ever caused more people to hear the Gospel? Ever enlarged the Church? Ever shown to the world more of the gentleness and meekness of Christ? Has a separation ever caused the world to exclaim, “Behold how these Christians love one another?”
As we move into the 21st century, I hope that Friends will find ways to come back together again, rather than hardening the lines of disagreement. I hope that we can learn from our mistakes, listen to new voices, be ready to forgive each other, be excited about growth, be unafraid of new technology, and welcome each other in Jesus’ name.