A Friend on the PolyQuakers email list recently notifed us of an article on Salon.com about polyamory. Polyamory, if you aren’t familiar with the concept, means having multiple romantic relationships (poly + amory = “many loves”). It differs from plain old cheating in that it’s all out in the open, and differs from “swinging” (or just sleeping around) in that it’s about relationships first and foremost, rather than sex. Beyond that, there are no “rules” – pretty much any number/configuration you can think of is probably practiced by some poly person out there. The article above is quite good, probably the best introduction I’ve seen so far.
I bring this up here because the PolyQuakers email list has become pretty active in this past week (perhaps in part due to some plugging on the QuakerSexuality list), and it’s made me ponder the wider issue of Friends and sexuality, and what that means for “convergence” and the issue of liberal meetings in Friends United Meeting.
In short, to me it seems like further evidence that reconcilation will ultimately prove elusive between Friends who believe that leadings may take us outside the boundaries of the Bible and historic Christianity, and Friends who do not. Because I find it quite improbable that many Orthodox Friends would ever warm up to the practice of polyamory – not least of all because of biblical texts like I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. (Similar comments could be made about transgender folks.) The current controversy – over monogamous homosexuality between relatively gender-conforming individuals – may prove to just be the tip of the iceberg.
(More generally, I’ve been saying in comments lately that the core religion of FUM and liberal Friends are fundamentally irreconcilable, and I don’t believe I’ve seen an adequate response from anyone yet. [Update: Wess and I are discussing this now.])