For a World Quaker Day project friend Deanna Woirhaye of Whittier Friends Church is collecting answers to two simple but profound questions: "What is a Quaker" and "What is Quakerism?" Here are my responses. I'm curious to know your responses, which I'd be happy to publish here.
A Quaker is someone who seeks a direct experience of Reality, God, or Christ through the Holy Spirit, aka the Inward Light. A Quaker looks for “that of God”—a Divine spark or goodness--in every person, no matter what their race, ethnicity, social status or belief system. For this reason, Quakers reject war and violence and seek to live by the transforming power of love and compassion. Some Quakers are evangelical Christians, some Universalists, some non-theists, and some have another spiritual practice, such as Buddhism or Judaism, but most Friends are united by a commitment to testimonies such as simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and sustainability.
Quakerism is a religious movement that arose in the 17th century during a time of religious wars fueled by different interpretations of the Bible and different understandings of how Christianity should be practiced and organized. Quakerism rejected violence, elitism, and all forms of coercion and oppression. Quakerism is grounded not on dogma or the Bible but on experience—the experience of the Inward Light of Christ as the ultimate guide to wisdom and right living. Quakerism rejects all outward forms of religion and piety and encourages us to worship in simplicity and sincerity. Quakerism is deeply Christian and at the same time Universalist, believing that the Light of Christ is in every person, every creature, and also in every religion, to some measure, whether or not people use Christian terminology or believe in Christian dogmas (see Matthew 25). Quakerism defies definition because it is a creedless, evolving faith, grounded in “continuing revelation.”
See the youtube video: What is a Quaker?