Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:12 AM
Subject: Epistle from a Quaker gathering
Alarmed by the social unrest and political paralysis with which the people and the power elites have responded to the recent oil shocks, 2,410 members of the various branches of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have met in a national Called Meeting for Worship with a concern for the current energy crisis. We joyfully testify that we were gathered into the unity of the Holy Spirit. We offer to our fellow citizens and, especially, to all religious people and spiritual seekers after peace and truth, this Epistle of Exercise as a testimony to the truth we were given and as an expression of our love and compassion for all of us in these hard times, and especially for all who have suffered, from violence, economic hardship and despair.
First, we confess that we have ourselves contributed to the current crisis with out own lifestyles and we confess our reluctance to make the sacrifices that seem now advisable, if not inevitable, now that we have seen the future firsthand. After deep searching, we have all pledged ourselves to change our lives as much as possible in the coming year and to work to bring our Quaker communities toward more faithful adherence to our ancient testimonies of simplicity and peace.
Second, we pray that, as the crisis deepens, we will all answer that of God in ourselves and in each other. We hope that you have experienced, as we have, a divine Light shining into eveyr human heart, to light a way toward right relations with each other and with our mother the Earth. We pray that all wills eek and find this Light and answer it with acts of generosity toward others and nonviolent mutual protection. We hope that all our brothers and sisters in faith in all religious traditions will search their hearts and their sacred scriptures and traditions for guidance toward peace, and for the wisdom and strength to change in ways that will relieve the economic and social burdens created by the current crisis, and for the inspiration and courage to build a sustainable alternative to the lifestyle which these events have revealed as economically dangerous and ethically wrong.
Third, we appeal to all those in political power to heed the warnings of the present danger and be faithful to your vows of public service. Restrain your natural impulses to enforce social order with the violence of the state. Protect the Constitution and the rights and liberties that it guarantees us all as citizens. Stand down an mobilization for war over oil. Act decisively to mitigate the hardships that the crisis has imposed on both business and the people. Do all that can be done to support research and economic reconstruction that leaves us less vulnerable to oil shocks in the future. Finally, for the first time, begin to draft a sane national energy policy.
More importantly, we appeal to those in economic power, to the leaders of corporations, to business associations and economic think tanks, to economic regulators and policy makers, to researchers and teachers in universities and business schools—please, for the love of God and in the interest of our common weal and wealth, re-examine your commitment to perpetual economic growth and seek new economic models that can be sustained through the coming century, through the coming constrictions of oil supply and into a world without oil. In you we must trust. You have betrayed our trust over and over again with your greed and your shortsightedness. But surely you now see the writing on the wall, which today, as it did in the day of Daniel the prophet, told the leaders of Babylon, “ “.
These are strong words, we know. But the crisis is severe. And you are our only hope. And the same Light shines into your hearts as into ours. The same Spirit of Love and Truth speaks to your consciences, reminding you that your own grandchildren and great-grandchildren must live in that world without oil. Will you leave them nothing? Will they curse you for your selfishness or give thanks for your brilliance, courage and lovingkindness?
Finally, we urge all of us to redefine the good life and the American dream. To rediscover the intangibles that make life whole and joyful. To have hope, to find courage, to let go. We are being forced to change. If we embrace the change, we can shape it—within limits.
It’s all about limits. As Quakers, we believe that everyone has a direct channel to the divine and that divine compassion and new revelation is allways flowing toward us along that channel, though different people experience this different ways. Let us open ourselves to new sources of creativity, inner strength, and positive collective action, and move with renewed confidence toward a world that is undiminished without oil.