Quaker Religious Thought


Robin Mohr


“I’m wrestling with the nagging feeling that God is calling me to this ministry of hospitality and encouragement: this work of bringing Friends together, convening learning communities, facilitating conversations and supporting Friends on their spiritual journeys, which brings me such joy and fulfillment and peace. Aren’t I really supposed to be doing this all the time? Am I disobeying God’s leading by spending so much of my time earning a secular living? Or is the desire to devote myself to a full-time, ‘hireling’ ministry a distraction? A temptation?”1

This tension is familiar to many Quakers who are seeking to live a faithful life: the abundance of joy that arises in service to Friends leads to the desire to devote oneself entirely to service to Friends. In fact, this apparent conflict, or dialectic, or perhaps contradiction, is inherent in a Quaker understanding of vocational ministry. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. There are three aspects of Quaker vocational ministry that illustrate this; three dyads that may appear to the casual observer as in conflict. On closer inspection, from the perspective of a practitioner, they do not have to be contradictory. The first dyad is the contest between paid and volunteer ministry. Second is the perceived conflict between being a mother2 and a minister. Third is the tension between being a prophet and being an administrator.



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