Two Quakers walk into a bar.
The first Quaker says to the bartender, “I’ll have a Quaker… a double.”
The bartender says, “A Quaker is a person who identifies as pursuing a spiritual path through life with primary affinity for the historic and evolving Quaker part of the human tradition and its current testimonies of equality, peace, integrity, simplicity, stewardship and community as reflections of discerned human truth for daily practice as persons and communities.
“On this journey in the Quaker tradition, life is characterized by the practice of silence and discernment, currently through validation of tested leadings, clearness committees and meeting for business. This process is theology and lifelong spiritual formation with reliance on the Quaker spiritual tradition and on the enduring spiritual traditions of other persons.“The Quaker tradition here is the American tradition of the Protestant tradition of the Catholic tradition of the Jewish tradition of the primordial human tradition, in parallel with the reflections of persons in geographically separate traditions of the primordial human tradition.
“Like all traditions, the Quaker tradition changes through changes and additions with time as a result of discernment and clarification of the past tradition and learning about the related parallel traditions of other geographies.
“Quakers are open to one, two, three or 99 words for that essential reality beyond all words. Quakers recognize affinity for a number based on their particular and evolving experience and tradition.
“In all traditions, there are special historical people and created and amalgamated exemplars for whom Quakers find help and reminders of truth and good practice. Quakers recognize affinity for particular persons or exemplars based on their particular and evolving experience and tradition.
“All humans worry about the basic human condition, their past bad acts or thoughts and whether there are consequences. Quakers rely on the benign embrace for all humans and these consequences in practice, thereby bypassing issues of redemption and salvation.
“For Quakers who understand the need for atonement, individual and community, for group sins or personal sins, atonement may be present or historical and may be accomplished by historical persons or mystical persons and is reflected in remedial actions. For Quakers who do not understand the need for atonement, individual and community, for group sins or personal sins, response is reflected in remedial actions.
Quakers face spiritual dangers of superficiality, shallowness, Liberalism, fads, Romanticism and the overeager embrace of elements in other traditions without discernment and reflection on the core testimonies.
“Caring love is part of the core. Quakers recognize that the scope of caring love is limitless and practical caring love in life reflects the extent of time, resources, talents and gifts.
“At present, caring love is extending slowly to embrace all humans, as the difficult adjustments of areas of practice are explored. The scope of caring love is extending now, in a tentative manner, to animals, plants and objects.
“American Quakers have a particular emersion in the American Protestant Christian tradition of Western Europe, which is embedded in many cultural understandings and practices and beyond which Quakers search further.
“All humans have anxiety about death and explore, along with other traditions, the conditions following death. There is much reflection on this and many suggestions. Quakers rely on trust without specification of the conditions following death and struggle with changing cultural convictions on this subject.
“Among traditions, Quakers recognize currently diminishing barriers of language, custom, geography and proximity to relationships across boundaries of traditions and recognize the importance of relationships across boundaries. In this exploration and reflection, affinities can be identified and expressed. For this process, Quakers are afforded free space for exploration of traditions in pursuit of understanding and right practice in their lives. Out of this exploration, Quakers identify the common core of truth in all traditions, which is reflected in current practices of communication and relationships and reflecting awareness of the truth of that of God in all persons.”
The second Quaker says, “I’ll have a Penn with a twist……and an olive.”
Based on your experience and understanding of the Quaker tradition, are there any statements by the bartender that are inaccurate or incomplete in describing the universal reality faced by all humans? Did the bartender omit any essential statements of our common reality? Any suggestions would be helpful.