Looking at the ills of our times—the horrible things humans inflict on themselves, on almost all living things, and on the Earth itself—it seems that early Friends had the antidote that is so desperately needed today. They experienced the simple but extremely difficult Truth that we are loved unconditionally and are called to live lives of integrity and love—and to do this together in community. They understood this required surrendering their self-will in order to discern and obey the Inward Guide teaching them how to create a more just and loving society. Perhaps too many Friends today have forgotten or lost sight of the radical call of these life-changing experiences.
To better understand this deeper relation with the Spirit that inspires a new vision, Grundy suggests that we go back to the early Friends. They summarized their experience, which they shared with anyone who would listen, as Christ having come to teach his people himself. To more clearly understand this, we need to look at what Jesus of Nazareth was teaching the people of his time in Palestine under the crushing power of the Roman Empire. This is our call and our challenge, individually and together: to listen to that Inward Light, to keep close to what it shows us, and to come into obedience to its guidance—as a gathered body.
What are we learning from the Inward Teacher today? What does faithful action look like in these challenging, disruptive, discouraging times? In A Call to Friends, Marty Grundy suggests that Friends recapture our vision. Following the example of early Friends, who picked up on what Jesus taught, we are not asked to invent or promote a new political or economic system. Instead, we are offered the much more radical and difficult invitation to live into a new social system that is based on agape love and compassion.