Our Quaker Meeting House may be small, but its heart is big. Since its founding in 1994, Reno Monthly Meeting has welcomed the LGBT community. We celebrate the recent federal appeals court ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriages in Nevada, and we cheer when national figures like Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook feel free to profess that they are gay. I was particularly moved by the words Cook chose as he made his announcement late last month: “I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
If there was ever a time to seriously consider the Friends’ Simplicity Testimony, that time is now. Technological changes and modernity have brought a dizzying array of media, personalities and international events to our digital doorsteps. New gadgets complicate things we thought we understood, like our television sets and phones. New channels of communication and entertainment open daily, cluttering our lives with more things we never knew we lacked.
In 1651, English Puritans imprisoned Quaker founder George Fox in a dungeon for refusing to fight in the English Civil War. Out of this refusal grew the testimony to peace among early Quakers. As Fox said: “…we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of this world.”
For the past several months, Reno Friends have been meeting twice a month to explore what the Quakers call “testimonies” – shared truths that Quakers have learned through their own experience.