Tuesday, April 10, 2007

would i have liked george fox?

Since I've been reading Fox's Journal and writing some posts about it, and noticing that several people are talking about how they wouldn't have liked Fox if they'd met him, I've been wondering if I would have liked him or not.

I think the answer is "yes." I think maybe he would've gotten on my nerves because he was so sure he was right all the time, and so often he was right! And it does seem like he was a pretty intense character, so it may have been difficult to be around him much. But I think I definitely would have been drawn to his passion for God and his intense, uncompromising integrity.

I keep wishing for someone like that in our day and age--someone with that kind of passion and...I don't know, charisma? Someone to rally people around them in a positive way, to do something good for the world and to follow God in radical ways. People call me a leader but really I want to be a follower--I want someone else to lead us to the vision that we are collectively hearing and seeing as "convergent Friends," someone to get us moving, not just talking. I have a hard time doing this myself, or at least by myself. It's helpful having this blogging forum that lets us know we're not alone in our thoughts and convictions, but at the same time, it seems like momentum takes so long to build up. I want there to be someone like Fox to get us all mobilized and ready for action!

I don't know who originated the quote "Be the change you want to see in the world," but I like the quote--at least in theory. I think it's very true, that we have to be the ones who enact change in the world or else it's never going to happen. I think George Fox did this in amazing ways. He wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo and make people angry. He didn't care if his words were too much, too soon for most people. He just said and did what he felt called to, without compromise, cheerfully, and somehow lovingly. I think I definitely would have liked him, although I might have been intimidated by him!


Paul L said...

I agree with you that Fox's intense, uncompromising integrity would have drawn me in, and that I would feel intimidated by his power.

In my current reading, I've been struck at how early Friends would talk about his penetrating gaze -- he seemed to them to have the ability to see through a person to their true self, and make accurate judgments about them accordingly.

I am also impressed with how, despite his leadership of the movement, he didn't make it into a personal cult; John Punshon pointed out once that the Quakers never were called Foxites. That is witness to the strength of his character.

Airlie Sattler Rose said...

I'm new to the Quaker blog discussion, but am enjoying it a great deal. It is refreshing to hear other Friends out there and what they are thinking.

When you were wishing for a galvanizing charismatic Quaker leader in the mode of Fox, Lloyd Lee Wilson came to mind. Have you ever met him or read his writing? If you google him, plenty of things spring-up.

With his beard, plain dress, and passionate ministry, Lloyd Lee is a striking Friend. He is a recorded minister in NCYM conservative, struggling diligently (and I think successfully) to keep his ministry within his Guide.

Of all Friends I've met, Lloyd Lee reminds me the most of the the George Fox in the Journal. I wonder what he'd think if he knew I thought that. I also wonder how some of the less conservative meetings receive his ministry. I'll have to ask him some time.

-Airlie Rose

Anonymous said...

Ghandi is quoted as saying be the change you want to see in the world...at least that is what my friends bumper sticker claims ; )