# 1 Thing That Drives Me Crazy About Quakers

“Ministry and Oversight is a secretive bunch of bullies on a power trip with a hidden agenda and ulterior motives.”

Actually, people seldom say this out loud for fear that the M&O mafia will find out.

Just kidding.

But I have heard all of these words used to describe the otherwise nice folks who have agreed to serve on a committee with serious responsibilities, whether at the local or yearly meeting level.

Full disclosure: I’m currently serving on the M&O committee of my monthly meeting. So from my insider vantage point, let me say that really, these folks are just trying to do the best they can.

I think that several 1960’s slogans have mutated into a single “Don’t trust any authority.” This makes it difficult to find Friends of a certain age who are willing to serve in a position of responsibility. It makes it much easier to criticize than to suggest solutions. Some Friends fail to distinguish between their relationship to our national government and their relationship with spiritual leadership. Martha Grundy wrote a pamphlet called Tall Poppies about this problem. I commend it to you.


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Blogger kathy said...

I love your list Robin. I can see we are challenged by some of the same things across the Quaker spectrum. Some funny, some not so much, especially when you're the one dealing with it in the moment.

You post good potential reads so often that I don't think I'll get to half of your recommendations before I die! Keep pointing them out though - I love that about your blog.

2/13/2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Thanks Kathy. I was starting to worry that Friends were feeling too silenced by the M&O mafia to comment. ;-)

Seriously though, the more I learn about other Quakers, the more I know that we are all one family.

2/13/2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a young(ish) woman serving on Ministry and Counsel (as it is called in our meeting), and for us, this feeling seems to ebb and flow. Right now we are in a place where it seems like a whole bunch of stuff is going on below the surface, and not coming to our committee. There have been other times when it is not so much like this. I am not entirely sure what causes it to be like that, other than general personalities within the meeting and the committee in general. We are just coming to the end of one person's clerkship (which she would agree it is time for). The new clerk coming on is VERY unseasoned, and I admit to a fair bit of worry over this point. For me, I believe it all comes back to trying to trust--in the Spirit that moved the nominating committee to make this decision, in the other people on the committee and within the meeting, and in God for leading us to this place. But it is not easy, I confess.

Thanks for sharing this, and peace be with you.


2/14/2007 8:58 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Mia, I too am the youngest person on my M&O committee. There was a younger guy for a while, but he moved away.

We have had trouble with burning out our last couple of clerks of M&O after a couple of years, pretty badly. We are looking at how to reassign some of the responsibilities that had gotten lumped together so as to make it a more functional job description. But still, I have no idea who our nominating committee will find to take on the job for the next year. It's a big job for a volunteer.

Could we wait without a clerk until someone feels led to take it up or do we need to work with the annual schedule we have set to find a new clerk by May 1?

2/14/2007 10:53 AM  

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