A followup to the last post about better understanding what goes on in meeting for business will probably take more than a few weeks, but it’s on the way. I feel like I need to do more reading before I do more writing. Really appreciating Howard Brinton’s Friends for 300 years, even if I don’t agree with everything he says. Chapter 6 on business meeting (”Reaching Decisions”) is available for free download (PDF) from Pendle Hill.
I’m also really appreciating an article by a New England YM young adult named Ethan Mitchell, who may or may not identify as a Friend; I met him probably in 2003 at NEYM, and bought a CD of his sister’s music from him, but haven’t heard tell of him since then. The article is called “Participation in Unanimous Decision-Making: The New England Monthly Meetings of Friends”. On the one hand, he and I are wanting to do very similar things — understand Quaker meeting for business better, not necessarily on traditional Quaker terms:
I want to invoke the anthropologist’s privilege to dutifully note, and then respectfully ignore, a group’s self-analysis. However we relate to the spiritual aspects of Quaker unity, it is manifested in a social process that we can observe, and in this case even quantify, to good purpose.
On the other hand, I don’t think he actually succeeds in capturing all the subtleties of good Quaker business process, starting with the title. More on that later perhaps. I still appreciate a lot of the article though, both the quantitative analysis and the commentary.