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Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N |
| O | P | Q | R | S |T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |


A

Alcoholics Anonymous | Apostle
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

An international organization founded in 1935 by Bill W and Dr. Bob. Once uncontrollable alcoholics, these men founded the 12 Step method of recovery, sharing their strength and hope in order to help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. AA does not endorse any religion or political cause, but AA is a spiritually based program. The primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety, by surrendering to a higher power. Millions of lives have been saved through AA and other 12 Step programs. The program has been modified for many substance and behavioral addictions, and is the only recovery program with a proven track record of success. Recovery is a life long process. Freedom Friends endorses and uses the 12 Step model of recovery and considers it to be totally harmonious with our spiritual beliefs.

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Apostle

This word comes from the Greek and means “One who is sent out”. Historically it referred to the eleven remaining disciples of Jesus (Judas being lost), plus the Apostle Paul, who did not study under Jesus but considered himself to be called as an apostle. The wider usage of the word includes all those who are called to servant leadership of the wider community of Christians.

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B

Baptism | Bible | Blasphemy | Body of Christ | Business Meeting
Baptism

This word comes from the Greek word which means ‘to dip’. Many early religions, including the Hebrew faith included a ritual bath to prepare oneself for prayer or the temple. John the Baptist, (Matthew 3) was revolutionary in his washing of people in the muddy river Jordan, saying that cleansing came from God and the confessing of your sins, not from the Priests or the temple. Jesus was baptized by John, even though John protested that he needed to be baptized by Jesus (Matt. 3:13). There is not much evidence that Jesus performed baptisms, but the early church clearly had a water baptism as part of their membership rituals. The Catholic and Orthodox churches consider baptism to be a sacrament - that means a thing that is necessary for spiritual life and salvation. Protestant churches have varying views and practices of baptism, for instance - baptizing babies or only adults - and how much water? sprinkle, pour or dunk? Quakers in the 1600’s made a really radical interpretation of baptism and maintained that it is the immersion in the presence of God, and that water and ritual are not necessary. They base this on Jesus’ prophecy that a time will come when worshippers will worship “in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:23). They took this to mean that there is no outward ritual that is required to bring one close to God. Most Quakers today maintain this practice of ‘dry cleaning’.

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Bible

From the Latin word for Book, as in The Good Book. This collection of writings is used by all Christian churches. It is the most widely read, and most widely argued about book that has ever been written. It is really a collection of writings - including Hebrew writings called the “Old Testament”, which are as ancient as civilization; the stories of the life of Jesus, called “the Gospels”, which were written after His death; and the history and letters of the very early Church, written within the lifetime of the apostles. There are many authors of the Bible, and not all the authors are known with certainty. It wasn’t until a couple of centuries after the birth of Jesus that the Church adopted a final form of 66 books that has remained fairly unchanged until today. The traditional Church has preached that the entire book is ‘God-breathed’ and to be taken as the only authorized book of spiritual teaching. Some churches teach that Scripture is the highest and final authority on all matters. Some teach that the entire book is to be taken literally, while others view much of it as symbolic. Quakers have always treasured the Bible and used it as their primary spiritual text, but for early Friends and many friends today it is seen as secondary to direct personal experience of God. It is used as the balance to personal experiences, as it is believed that all messages from God will be harmonious with the principles of Scripture. At Freedom Friends, we study the Bible and use it. We encourage deep thought about it and affirm the individual’s ability to interpret Scripture with the aid of the Holy Spirit. We refrain from using the Bible to corral or coerce behavior or to create shame and fear. We joyfully tolerate differing understandings of Scripture as long as they are not harmful.

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Blasphemy/Blasphemous

To be seriously disrespectful to God. To use God's name/s to curse someone. To try and claim for yourself abilities or attributes, or powers that belong to God alone. At Freedom Friends we consider it to be extremely disrespectful to God to use God's name or purposes to try and coerce, frighten or harm anyone. We consider it disrespectful to try and do certain things that God says are not for humans to do - like revenge (Deuteronomy 32:35), and trying to get people to change their hearts so that they don't want to do sin anymore. We try and let God be God.

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Body of Christ

This term has multiple meanings. The most simple is that all Christians, regardless of church affiliation or lack thereof, are the physical presence of Christ in the this world. Since Jesus left the planet in physical form, being present to us in spirit, we have to be his eyes and ears, his hands and feet. This was a favorite word picture used by the apostle Paul (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12). He used this picture to show that the whole could have many parts, and these parts could be different from each other but still work together. These were the first sermons on diversity.

Business Meeting

The public meeting in which the church does its business. In Quaker practice, business meeting is considered to be an extension of worship. In both 'meeting for worship' and 'meeting for worship through business' the focus is on listening together to God. Friends do not run business by Roberts Rules of Order or other political models - Friends do not decide church issues by voting. The Quaker method is called 'getting the sense of the meeting'. An issues is raised, discussed, prayed over, and time is spent in silence listening. It is the job of the 'presiding clerk' to listen to the gathered worshippers and see if they are of one mind. When the clerk senses a direction, she/he articulates it, and then it is either affirmed by the meeting or issues are raised that continue the discussion. Friends understand that people come into meeting with different backgrounds and personality quirks and preconceived notions. Friends try and lay these at the door, or to at least hold them lightly. All come in knowing that they will leave in harmony. Issues that cannot be decided are 'seasoned' - given time, often until the next meeting for Friends to think and pray. Politicking, lobbying, filibustering and other political behaviors are considered to be outside of Gospel Order.

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C

Cannonical Scriptures | Christ/Christ-Centered | Clear/Clearness | Clerk | Committees | Communitarian | Communion | Creed
Canonical Scriptures

This refers to the collection of writings that is commonly known as The Bible. The are 66 books in the Christian Bible. The "Old Testament" which includes the Hebrew Pentateuch, wisdom writings, the psalms, or songs, and prophets are the books of the culture that produced Jesus of Nazareth, and would be the scriptures that He used. The "New Testament" includes four Gospels which recount the life of Jesus and the history of the very early church and letters of the apostles, the first leaders of the church. This particular collection was not settled upon until almost 400 years after Jesus was born. It has been used without much change since that time. The Bible of the Roman Catholic Church has a section between the two testaments called the Apocrypha, containing a few stories not found in the Protestant canon including one of our favorites the book of Judith.

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Christ/Christ-centered

Friends use the word Christ to refer both to the historical Jesus, and the present Spirit that “has come to teach His people Himself” (Fox). In many ways the Friends movement is an attempt to return not to the Apostolic Church but to the very feet of the itinerant Rabbi. Many Friends see their worship as communion with the Present Christ. His teachings, especially the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) are central to Friends Theology. In that Sermon you can find all the traditional Friends testimonies. Friends have diverse beliefs about the Divinity of the Historical Jesus, His miracles and His resurrection. There are among Friends non-Christian Friends and even non-theist Friends, but you cannot make an inclusive Friends Statement without reference to Him.

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Clear/Clearness

The term Friends use for being in a state of reasonable certainty about a course of action. The Query “Are all hearts clear?” may be asked to find out if anyone is still sitting with something that needs to be spoken in meeting for worship or business.

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Clerk

Clerk is the title that Friends use for the person who facilitates a meeting or leads a committee.

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Committees

Friends are often accused of being in love with the idea of committees. And it is true that the typical Friends Church or Meeting has a lot of committee work going on. This is because we believe in a place of service for everyone. We have a non-hierarchical power system. This means that the power flows up from the larger group rather than down from the 'top'. At FFC we hope that committees will often be groups of people who are doing things and not just a group sitting around talking about things. A clearness committee is a specific type of committee called to help an individual make an important decision, this can be for personal decisions or with the involvement of the church decisions about membership, ministry, or marriage.

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Communitarian/Community

Community is considered by many modern Friends to be a testimony. By the way we do business as a group, and the emphasis on ministry of all, Friends tend to form communities more than congregations. Power is diversified in Friends Meetings. There is not much hierarchy. The larger organizations are really associations of local gatherings.

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Communion

From the Latin, meaning to share something. Early in the practice of the Christian church it was a shared meal in remembrance of the last supper that Christ had with his disciples. This eventually became formalized into the Christian ritual and sacrament of bread and wine that is called the Eucharist in the liturgical church. This sharing of the meal became the basis of belief in the bread becoming the literal Body of Christ and the believer taking Christ into him/herself. This became the most essential sacrament or holy behavior, of the church. A person denied access to this meal by the Church or its priest was considered to be severed from access to God. George Fox and the early Quakers maintained that every person has the ability to make a connection with God and Christ without the need of any priest or ritual. They believed that all of life can be sacramental. Friends believe strongly in the possibility and practice of intimate communication with Christ. This communion can happen in any time or place, and cannot be taken away by any human means. Quakers practice this as a group when they sit together in silent worship this practice is often called "communion after the manner of Friends".

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Creed

The written statement of faith of a religious group. The Nicene Creed being an example. Belief in a creed is often used as the minimum requirement of entry into a faith. It is used in public meetings as a focal point, often being recited aloud by the group. Early Friends were Christians, and most of them probably believed most of what was in the early Christian creeds, but they found the used of prepared words to be inauthentic. And they objected to the limitations of the creedal church about who was inside the fold and who was not. They objected to having assent to certain beliefs as the gatekeeper. Friends do have statements of Faith, the Richmond Declaration of Faith (1887) would be one example, but they are not used in the same manner. You can be a Friend in good standing and hold beliefs that are your own and that differ from other Friends. Early Friends developed the use of Queries, or questions about faith and practice, and many Friends groups use these as a way to frame their faith. Queries are often paired with ‘advices’, or suggestions, a gentler way of getting at the application of faith. But whatever the form the Faith and Practice of a group of Friends takes, individual conscience and interpretation with the aid of the Spirit are always highlighted over dogma and creeds.

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D

Discernment | Discriminate | Displacement | Divine, the
Discernment

The process of recognizing or realizing something. In Quaker business process it is the process of listening together to God and receiving enlightenment or guidance. Discernment may or may not result in a decision or action. A good discernment process will result in clearness.

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Discriminate

This word literally means to be able to tell one thing from another. But in American English it has come to mean "to separate two groups out, and treat them unequally". Racial discrimination treats some people unfairly because of their race. The are so many forms of negative discrimination in our culture that it would be impossible to name them all, but at this time some of the biggies are; race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, beauty, etc. The church has had a long and sad history of discrimination. At Freedom Friends we know we can't be entirely free from these things, but we try to listen to God and become aware of our own failings in this area and make amends when we can.

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Displacement

To be out of place. We are using this word in a new theological sense. It is often preached that our tendency to sin - not doing the right thing - makes us entirely bad, and unacceptable to God. At Freedom Friends we preach that we are always acceptable to God but that sin make us refugees. We have to step out of a close sense of the presence of God in order to do sin, so at those times we are 'out of place', out of the place we were intended to be. All of us are sometimes refugees from God, and some of us are refugees all of the time. Some of us were raised in spiritual refugee camps, and we don't know much else. We believe that regardless of your behavior, or who raised you, that there is planted within your soul a beacon that calls you home. We believe that Jesus Christ came to blaze the trail, joining us in our refugee status and then making it possible to reconnect to God in a way that makes finding our way home a lot easier.

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Divine, the

God. That being, or power, or force that creates and holds together all things. Divinity is not completely understandable in any human terms, but can be described in infinite variety. We believe that the Divine interacts with humans in intimate ways. For Christians, Jesus Christ is what God looked like in human form. The concept of the Trinity; Creator, Christ and Spirit is a time honored way of describing different aspects of God, but we acknowledge that even this mystical description is inadequate. Every seeker perceives the Divine in her or his own way. We believe that all who seek with honesty find acceptance and Love.

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E

Evangelism | Equality | Exculsion
Evangelism

A noun with many connotations. Its simple meaning is the practice of sharing good news. Its primary modern American use is the practice of calling people to acceptance of Christianity as presented in the Gospels. The adjective forms, 'evangelical' or 'evangelistic' can mean to have passion or zeal about any topic, but in America these words are usually associated with conservative Protestantism. Some people use evangelical as a synonym for Fundamentalist, but we think they are essentially different (see fundamentalism). Freedom Friends can be described as evangelistic, as we are passionate about sharing the good news of Christ as presented in the Gospels, but we have some significant differences with the Evangelical movement in America.

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Equality

A Friends testimony. The belief that all humans are children of God, equal in God’s sight, deserving every right and responsibility accorded to humans. Friends believe that everyone has equal and immediate access to the Divine without need of intermediary. Early Friends had no visible clergy of any sort, but it has been said that Friends did not do away with clergy they did away with laity, because we believe that all are ministers and have ministry. (See inequality.)

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Exclusion

To intentionally keep someone or something out. To set a boundary that makes some situations not possible. (See inclusion.)

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F

Friends | Fundamentalism
Friends

The Religious Society of Friends, or the Friends Church has its beginning in England in the mid 17th Century. George Fox started a religious revival movement in response to the Church of England, its professional clergy, clerical corruption and abuse. First called the Children of Light and the Seekers of Truth among other names, the name Friends didn't become widely used until later. The name "Friends" comes from the 15th chapter of John, where Jesus says that he calls those who follow his commandment to love one another, 'friends' instead of servants. The name Quaker is purported to have come from an early English judge who was sentencing a member of this much persecuted sect to prison, he noted the lack of fear, and noted derogatorily that they were a people who "quaked" before God, not men (judges). The name stuck. Friends settled the colony of Pennsylvania in the United States. There are now Friends in almost every part of the world, and North American and English Friends are in the numerical minority.

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Fundamentalism

This can refer to a particular set of beliefs, or to a way of practicing those beliefs. In religious fundamentalism adherents are called to a literal interpretation of their sacred text, strict adherence to its rules and guidelines, submission to religious authority, and often an intolerance to other belief systems. In our experience, fundamentalism asserts the absolute truth and completeness of its own beliefs and practices to the deliberate exclusion of the possibility of truth in other beliefs and practices. Some use this word exclusively for Christian fundamentalism, especially 20th century American fundamentalism, but we think that the broader definition of the process rather than a particular set of beliefs is most useful. This definition makes it easier to see the connections between the Christian Inquisition and the attack on the World Trade Center.

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G

Gender Identity | Gospel Order | Grace | Great Commision, the
Gender Identity

Gender identity includes not only the outward physical sexual characteristics that a human is born with, but the brain-based personal sense of what gender the person is, or should be, and how they function in that gender. Gender identity appears to be determined by a complex set of variables including chromosomes, hormones and brain structure. There is a great deal of research going on in this area. Occasionally the outward physical characteristics and the sense of the person do not agree, this person may consider themselves to be transgendered or transsexual.

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George Fox

George Fox (1624-1690/91) born in Leicestershire, England is the principle founder of the Friends Movement. The Journal of George Fox can be found in most libraries. You can also Google George with great success.

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Gospel Order

This term was first used by George Fox to describe the way Friends viewed the cosmos and humanity's place within it. This view presumed a God designed orderliness that was seen in all of creation. They viewed creation as good and designed for goodness. Sin and evil is a dis-ordered state. Jesus Christ demonstrated perfect Gospel Order and made a connection for us that empowers us to live in Gospel Order. Among Friends you will often hear this term used to describe Quaker practices, which if done well are harmonious with Gospel Order.

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Grace

The love and goodness of God that is extended towards all people without regard to their position, or behavior, or capabilities or any other human characteristic. It is the thing that makes forgiveness possible. It is not that grace does not see problems and failings or the need to deal with them; in fact grace presumes those things but refuses to allow them to be impediments to love. Grace removes the roadblocks to love. Grace is the lubrication that makes the mechanics of forgiveness workable. As God's love gives us the strength to love each other, God's grace give us the power to be gracious with each other.

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Great Commission, The

In the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus gives his last instruction to his followers. "Go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (A similar command is at the end of the Gospel of Mark) This is the basis of all Christian evangelism and missionary work. It is what sent early Friends like George Fox and Mary Fisher all over the world. The disciples were not to keep quiet about the news that Christ was risen. This command has good or ill, the early church took this command seriously and Christianity has spread around the globe and to more peoples and cultures than any other religion.

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H

Harmony | Heaven | Hell | Holy | Holy Living | Holy Spirit
Harmony

Ideas, thoughts, and feelings that are in sympathy with each other without necessarily being the same or unified. Friends say that we seek unity not unanimity, which means that we try and end up going in the same direction, but we each walk our own path.

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Heaven

The eternal resting place of the soul. Friends believe that the Kingdom of Heaven exists now, as a kind of cosmic citizenship that everyone who is living in communion with God can take part in. God is our ruler and we live in God's kingdom right now. We also believe that our souls are immortal and that there is a place prepared for us to go after we die. The traditional ideas of pearly gates and streets of gold come from Biblical metaphors (see reference section). The form and place and scope of Heaven is a great mystery, but Jesus promised that we would be there with him and so we imagine every delightful thing in association with that promise.

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Hell

Hell is quite simply, the place where God is not. God desires intimate communication with us. But God does not take us against our will. And so for us to have freedom there must be at least the possibility that we can reject God, and live in ignorance (a state of ignoring) the Divine. Again, as Friends believe that the kingdom of God is both come and coming, so the absence of God can be both now and forever. We do not see Hell as a place of punishment, but as a place of choice. While it may be hard to imagine anyone choosing hell, if you look around you in the world you will see evidence that some people do indeed choose to live as if there is no divine goodness in the world, living only for self, blocking out love and joy and generosity. If you can imagine this
as a complete and permanent choice, you can imagine hell. The traditional ideas of the lake of fire and the like come from Biblical metaphors (see reference section). We believe that it is the work of Christ and of His church to wake people up to the reality of the Divine and the possibility of eternal love and joy.

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Holy

An adjective which describes something Divine, like God, or something closely associated with God. Sometime it is used to describe something set aside for God's use. Something holy is essentially good, pure, compete and without flaw. Only God is completely holy. Scripture says that the angels sing "Holy Holy Holy" around God at all times. But we believe that every person born is born created in the image of God, with a spark of God in them (John 1), and so we were created good, to be whole and to grow in goodness and wholeness, or holiness. Jesus, being God in human form, modeled human wholeness. We have not met a regular human who has competed the task of becoming holy in this life. But we have met some humans who have, by God's grace, (see grace) gotten pretty far down the road. This is our heart's desire and goal, to move forward down that road, to allow God to continually heal, and perfect, and make us whole. It is hard work to cooperate with this process, but we have found it to be worth the work. Working a 12 Step program is a great way to start down that road.

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Holy Living

Living in a manner that allows God to work on you. Living in a manner that allows everybody else to see that you are being worked on by God. On any given day, giving it your best shot at being what God made you to be.

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Holy Spirit

The divine spirit of God. That part of God which can live inside of you. The risen Jesus promised the disciples to send a comforter after to returned to His Father (John 14). This part of God is responsible for the awareness that we are spiritual refugees and the craving to live a holy life. It gives courage. It gives guidance. It allows us to communicate with God and be connected to the entire community of Christ living and dead. When we speak of "the Present Christ" we mean Jesus Christ present to us not in body, but through the help of the Holy Spirit. Creator God, Jesus Christ and the Spirit are one, but we perceive them in different ways at different times. Yes, it is confusing - it is a mystery.

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I

Idolatry | Inclusion | Inequality | Insiduous | Integrity
Idolatry

Idolatry is the practice of worshipping anything which is not God. The reason that idolatry is bad is that you always become like what you worship. If you worship things that do not have soul, your soul starts to shrink. If you worship yourself, your world becomes very small. If you worship a powerful, good, and loving God, you will start to take on the characteristics of the God you serve. (See worship.)

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Inclusion

To be inclusive does not mean that you try and make your table a place where everyone wants to sit - But it does mean that you try and make a place at your table for everyone who wants to sit there. (See exclusion.)

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Inequality

To treat people differently in terms of their basic human, civil and spiritual rights because of a condition of their being, such as race, gender, age, orientation, ethnicity, ability, etc. etc. etc. (See discrimination.)

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Insidious

Subtle, something that develops so slowly that it is established before it is even noticed. Sneaky.

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Integrity

To be well put together. To be integrated. If you have integrity all your pieces fit together, you can show your whole self to others and there will not be a glaring inconsistency. You will not be a different person in different situations. Your morals and ethics will be solid and lasting and apparent in all parts of your life. You walk your talk.

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J

Justice | Just Living
Justice

The social and moral condition where fairness and equality prevail. To do the right thing. To distribute resources and privileges in an impartial fashion. Justice is an essential characteristic of God and God's Kingdom.

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Just Living

Living your life in a condition that produces justice. To pay attention to your action and inaction so that you give due appreciation to all God's creatures and their needs. Dedicating yourself to the principles of equality and impartiality.

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K

Kingdom of God
Kingdom of God

This is a term that Jesus used to describe the new way of living that He made possible and advocated. This kingdom is not bound by place or time. Its citizens are all those who choose to live by its principles which are found in the words of Jesus that are called the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). Jesus said that the Kingdom existed in the present and that it would be eternal, culminating in a new Heaven and a new Earth. It is also called the Kingdom of Heaven.

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M

Marital status | Meeting | Mercies of Christ | Ministry
Marital status

The condition of being married or not. As a category for discrimination, people can be excluded because they are married or because they are single. In the past the church has excluded divorced people and those living together without the benefit of marriage. Legal marriage itself is not available to all persons. We believe that all people, whether single by choice or by circumstance, coupled, married, divorced or widowed are of equal worth to God and should have equal access to law and the benefits of community.

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Meeting/Meetinghouse/Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly Meetings

Early Friends did not use the word church to describe their gatherings or buildings. They felt that the church of their day had become entirely corrupted and they made it very clear in their language that they were different from it. They had meetings and meetinghouses instead of church and churches. They had no paid clergy. The monthly meeting was both the name of the local group and the event that happened when they did business every month. Quarterly and yearly meetings were the larger gatherings and were likewise both the name of the group of Friends and the name of their periodic gatherings. In the 19th century one major branch of Quakers came under the influence of the American revival movement and become much more churchified. Pastoral leadership and the naming of meetings as Friends churches date from this time. However, much of the old language was preserved and so among friends you will hear quite a few different uses. At Freedom Friends we combine language and traditions from the several branches of Quakerism, and you will hear us refer to the group as 'the meeting' as well as the time, on the third Sunday of the month, when we do business. The presiding officer will be referred to as the 'clerk of the meeting' but we also have a pastor of the church. If this is all a bit confusing, do not worry, there is no penalty for using the terminology incorrectly.

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Mercies of Christ

A pretty way of saying, the exceedingly kind things that Jesus has done for us. The fact that the Divine cared enough to join us in our messy place, became one of us, lived in front of us, taught us everything we need to know, showed us how to deal with oppression and suffering and then conquered death so we would have nothing to fear. The best response we can think of in the face of such love is gratitude and imitation.

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Ministry

The work of God, done by God's people. Ministry means speaking God's words in meeting or out of meeting. It helps the helpless, frees the captive, binds the wounds of the hurt, feeds the hungry and a million other things. Every human is meant to participate in ministry, and sometimes even the critters can do it.

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O

Orientation
Orientation

A frame of reference or direction. When this word is used in relation to sexuality, it refers to the relatively fixed direction of sexual attraction. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are examples of sexual orientations.

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P

Pastor | Peace | Prejudice | Programmed/Unprogrammed/Semi-Programmed

Pastor/Pastoral

Early Friends had a great conscience against what they called the “hireling ministers” of the day. They understood that no intermediary is needed between the human soul and its God. In that day, cleric was a highly sought career which required a formal education, and which brought good pay and prestige. It was not necessarily correlated to spiritual devotion or excellent witness. Friends did without priest or pastor for the best part of 200 years. In America in the second half of the 19th century Friends were affected by the revivalism that swept the country and adopted many of its forms including pastoral ministry. Friends in Africa and South American grew from this stream and so have pastors. In the post-modern interpretation, the Quaker Pastor is a facilitator of pastoral care, but not the only source of it. She or He probably brings messages, but likely so do others. Some are paid, or ‘released’ into ministry, but others are bi-vocational. Most Friends pastors do not use the term Reverend. They would agree that they are not the shepherd of the flock – that would be Christ – but they might acknowledge being a sheep dog. Friends have had women in ministry from the beginning – 1652. Only a few Friends Pastors have adopted the CEO leadership style of 20th century American Evangelicals.

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Peace

One of the basic testimonies of the Friends movement. An attempt to take literally and seriously Jesus’ commands to love your enemies as well as your neighbors, and to not return violence with violence. The Friends view of peace in wholistic. We consider peace with God, peace with self, peace within community and peace internationally to all be important. Many Friends find they must be conscientious objectors to all wars. Most Friends object to capital punishment on the same grounds. Along with Mennonites and Brethren we are considered to be one of the historic peace churches.

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Prejudice

A judgement made in advance of knowledge. A preset notion or set of beliefs about a situation or a person without taking into account the actual circumstances. When we judge a person based on a set of characteristics that we think apply to an entire group we are showing prejudice.

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Programmed/Unprogrammed/Semi-programmed

Styles of Quaker worship. Early Friends worshipped in an unprogrammed manner. Listening to God in an expectant manner and speaking out of the silence. There were no written prayers or hymns, although a song could be sung and prayers made if they were a spontaneous expression at the leading of the Spirit. Conservative and Liberal Friends still worship in this manner. Friends in Evangelical Yearly Meetings or much of Friends United Meeting, worship with some manner of program; singing from Hymnals, prepared sermons given by pastors. Even in programmed Friends Churches, however, it would be understood if the pastor felt led not to speak on occasion, and most services have a time of silence often with Friends speaking out of that silence. Semi-programmed meetings are a hybrid form, having a general outline for the worship, but with more latitude and participation from the present Friends than in fully programmed services.

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Q

Quaker
Quaker

A member of the Religious Society of Friends or a Friends Church. This name is 350 years old and is really a negative nickname that stuck. We are often confused with Shakers, an American religious sect that advocated celibacy for everyone. There aren't many Shakers left in the world but there are a lot of Quakers, better than 300,000 of us in Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America and Australia and New Zealand. Quakers organize into many different groups and do not have world-wide or even regional headquarters and leaders. There is great diversity among Quakers, but they can be categorized into three main groups: liberal Friends, evangelical Friends, and conservative Friends. Liberal Friends tend to be theologically diverse - they believe many different things about God - and are socially progressive, inclusive and focus on peace and justice work; they do not have pastors and worship in an unprogrammed fashion. Evangelical Friends are consistently Christian - they seek to make disciples of Christ - their social testimonies are more diverse; they have pastors and planned worship services. Conservative Friends are Christian, and follow the older forms of Quakerism in detail, they worship in expectant silence and do not have pastors. Freedom Friends Church is the result of some very fruitful cross pollination. We are Christian, socially progressive, inclusive, semi-programmed and pastoral. We believe that Friends in any of these groups can be faithful to the spirit of Quakerism handed down to us from our foremothers and forefathers.

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R

Recorded Minister/Recording | Redemption | Religous Fundamentalism | Replacement | Resurrection | Ritual
Recorded Minister/Recording

Friends do not ‘ordain’ ministers as other Christian denominations do. It is our contention that God calls and ordains – names and equips – ministers. Friends record this gifting when they see it. Some Friends record ministers essentially for life, others for a specific time or task. Some Meeting will ‘release’ ministers but not record them. It is always considered an observation of what God is doing in and through a person, not a special status or elevated position.

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Redemption

The process of redeeming something. Some other words for redeem are; ransom, liberate, to make good on a promise, to replace, repair or restore. Christianity says that God became human in the person of Jesus Christ and that Christ redeemed humanity. We think that humanity needed to be redeemed, not because it was bad, or ruined, but because it was good, and beloved. We think that there is no doubt that humanity, and each one of us individually, is both good and messed up. We think that we inherited some problems from our parents. We think we make our own problems. We clearly need help beyond our own ability to fully become what we were created to be. We think that there is no shame in this. We believe that Christ came and joined us in our problems, got down under the weight with us, in order to help us bear and beat the burden. We think that Christ was uniquely placed to do this because he was human yet maintained a complete unharmed Divine connection. We believe that His choice to suffer and yet not hate, broke our slavery to sin. We believe His return to life broke death.

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Religious Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism is the attitude that claims total truth for its own beliefs and practices to the intentional exclusion of possible truth in other beliefs and practices. A fundamentalist attitude can be applied to any set of beliefs and practices, but it seems especially toxic when it is applied to a set of religious beliefs and practices. Crusades, inquisitions, Jihads, purges, pogroms, occupations and oppressions of all sorts are the natural result of religious fundamentalism.

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Replacement

To put something back where it belongs. To return home. The Biblical metaphor is the return to the Garden of Eden. We believe that a sinner is nothing more than a spiritual refugee who needs to find the way back home. We believe that Christ made and marks the way.

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Resurrection

The return to life. We believe that death is a physical reality but a spiritual illusion. We believe that resurrection happens in this life when we are spiritually brought to full and new life by accepting the reality of God's love. We believe in the resurrection to come, immortal life, promised to us by Jesus.

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Ritual

Anything that you do the same way every time for meaningful reasons. More intentional than a habit. Humans create rituals without fail. Religious rituals can be used for remembrance, teaching, comfort, and in some faiths rituals are believed to produce actual spiritual results. Quakers are non-liturgical. We have traditions, but we do not do much in the way of ritual in our group meetings. We believe that spiritual results are produced by intimate cooperation between the human heart and God. We believe that there is a temptation to see the ritual as more important than the reality behind the ritual, and so we hold to the testimony of worshipping in Spirit and in Truth without ritual. Christian rituals like bread and wine communion and water baptism are not condemned or forbidden, but we do not believe that they are required.

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S

Sacred | Saints | Sanctification | Satan | Season/Seasoning | Sense of the Meeting | Simple Living | Sin | Slavery | Socially Progressive | Sojourn | Spiritual Consensus | Stewards
Sacred/Sacrament

Anything that belongs to God. Anything that is set apart for spiritual purposes. Something that is dedicated to God's use. Human life is considered sacred because it contains a spark of the Divine, the soul which never dies. We cannot produce life by human means although we do manipulate it and often destroy it. We consider our lives to be a gift from God.

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Saints

All those immortal souls who have lived and died and continue in a new way with God. The Apostle Paul tells us that they watch us like spectators in a race, cheering us on (Hebrews 12). We study their lives and writings as spiritual food. Some of us believe that with the help of the Holy Spirit that they can hear us when we speak to them. Some of us believe that they are still active in God's world according to God's purposes.

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Sanctification

The process of becoming everything you were made to be. This is a God-led refining of the soul, personality, and behavior that can only begin with human invitation. The process lasts a lifetime. It is the work of encouraging that spark of God in the human soul to become a healthy flame. It is a little like putting a stone in a polishing machine to take off the rough edges and make the beauty of the stone apparent. It is not an easy process, but we find that it is one of the prime jobs of community to make a place where perfecting can happen. We do not become perfect, but we are being perfected.

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Satan

The Hebrew proper name for the devil. Satan is a created being, of the same order as the angels, different from humans. Using its free will, Satan and an unknown number of fellows, chose to rebel against God and were sent away from the presence of God. It is an enemy of the human race due to its jealousy of human intimacy with God. Satan has absolutely no power to create or destroy; its only power is to deceive. It works to keep us from knowing who we are and what we are created to do and be. It delights in convincing humans that other humans are enemies. It delights in violence and hate and mistrust and self-loathing. Satan and the consequences of its lies are the focus of what early Friends called the War of the Lamb, the work of Christ. If you need to take the whole Satan story as metaphor, we understand.

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Season/Seasoning

In this usage ‘to season’ is a verb that means to let something rest, or settle before taking action. Because Friends take action out of expectant listening, we find that sometimes the best action is taken after a period of waiting. An idea might be ‘held over’ to the next meeting when clearness is not readily found. We find that with prayer and reflection, many obstacles fade away, and that often new ideas rise up. Patience often pays off.

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Sense of the Meeting

Quaker business practice is unique. Decisions are not made by a few in power, nor by democratic process, nor even by a simple consensus process where compromise and negotiation lead to a group decision. We listen together to God and try and make a decision based on our sense of what God is saying to us at the time. We use our hearts and minds and ears to listen to each other, and sometimes decisions are obvious and easy to reach. When there is difficulty we slow down and listen, to that of God in each other, and also in expectant silence and prayer to what God would say to us. It is the role of the presiding clerk to watch and listen, and to articulate what the group is hearing. When the meeting and the clerk arrive at a sense that God has been heard, then the clerk articulates the sense of the meeting, and a decision and action is put forward from that sense.

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Simple Living/Simplicity

To live intentionally at a standard of living that is in harmony with Gospel Order. This type of living seeks to be free from slavery to possessions, or the need to acquire wealth for its own sake. Simple living is not wasteful and does not disrespect the environment. Simple living makes it possible to share resources with those who do not have enough even to live, let alone live well. Simple living is an attitude and a life long process as different stages of life call for different decisions. We encourage simple living but we trust individuals to decide for themselves what that means in their own lives.

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Sin

Doing the thing that you should not do, or not doing the thing that you should do. Friends have always seen sin as a behavior, not a state of being. We do not preach that humans are born bad, to the contrary, humans are made good by God, but need God's assistance to do good in all situations. It is when we disconnect from God that we sin. There are two kinds of sin mentioned in the Bible, one is "missing the mark" this presumes that you are trying to do the right thing - aiming for the right target - but fall short. The other kind of sin is aiming for the wrong target, this is when you know that you are about to do the wrong thing and do it anyway - willful disobedience. We all do both kinds at times. The cure for sin is honesty and forgiveness. In 12 Step work this is called taking a fearless moral inventory, asking God to remove your faults, and then making amends where you can. No one needs to be a slave to sin. There is no sin so terrible that it cannot be forgiven, even if the consequences of the sin take a lifetime to heal. Sin cannot separate you from God.

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Slavery

Involuntary servitude - to be owned by someone or something. Human slavery, the buying and selling of human beings is outlawed on this planet, but is still a real problem in many places. More often human beings sign up for slavery, by giving control of themselves over to something or someone. Slavery often follows idolatry, worshipping something that is not God. If you make material goods your highest priority, you will, at some point, find that you are working to maintain things, and eventually you will become enslaved by them -- you will lose your ability to be free of them. In 12 Step programs this slavery is called addiction. Its varieties are too many to name. It is a very sneaky process sometimes, and all of us are prone to it in some form.

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Socially Progressive

Because we believe in continuing revelation, Friends constantly are applying the basis truth we understand to the new situation presented to us by our culture, community and world. Friends have always carried concerns, taken up causes, for the applications of equality and justice. Friends supported abolition early and supported women’s rights early. We have not always lived up to our own testimonies but the tendency to struggle with the cutting edge issues of the day has always been there. Many Friends are politically active, but our progressive nature comes out of our theology, not our politics.

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Sojourn

To stay temporarily somewhere. To travel among others and participate in their lives for a season.

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Spiritual Consensus

The way Friends do business. We listen to God together and act out of that listening. A decision is made when the sense of the meeting is that God has been heard. This is often a simple, non dramatic thing. God can be found in common sense and reason, God can be found in the voice of the person sitting next to you. Friends expect to hear God's voice and choose to surrender to that voice.

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Steward/Stewardship

A steward is a trusted individual who looks after what belongs to another. In The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien the kingdom of Gondor was ruled by a steward in the absence of the king. Our king is God and we consider ourselves to hold certain things in trust from God. These things include our own lives, our children, the Earth, the talents and gifts that we each posses, our strength and power. We did not create any of these things, but what we do with them is important. Stewardship includes the idea of accountability: At the proper time the king will rightly ask the steward how the king's possessions have been managed. We believe that we live in a state of accountability before God for all the things that we have been given. We do not fear judgment because God will help us to be good stewards, but we try and be mindful always of our status as trusted keepers of the things of God.

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T

Testimony | truth, the | Theology | 12-Step group
Testimony

Used by Friends to mean a consistently held belief. Traditional Friends Testimonies include Peace, Equality, Simplicity and Integrity. Many Friends would also recognize the usage of giving a first person witness to the moving of the Spirit in their life.

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Theology

The study of God and all things religious. Also used to describe the belief system of a particular group.

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truth, the

We use this word not only to mean something that is correct or right, but to refer to a standard of completeness and rightness that exists beyond human understanding. We believe that there is absolute truth, but we do not believe that we ever grasp it in its entirety. We also use this word, and capitalize it, when we are referring the Christ, who said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14). We believe He was and is the embodiment of those timeless principles. By living in relationship to Christ, the Truth, we believe we will have greater access to daily truth in our lives.

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12-Step group

A group gathered for the purpose of recovering from addiction. Originally formed to deal with alcoholism, the method has twelve steps that are worked in succession, and repeatedly for life. You do the work with others - isolation is the friend of addiction. These steps have been generalized to deal with all kinds of addictions. If you want to read those steps, a good 12 Step link that we recommend is www.12steps.org. We know from personal experience that working the program works. You can find a 12 Step group to meet your need just about anywhere on the planet. If you are in the US, check the local phone book. If you are near us and want to find the Freedom Friends 12 Step group, email Alivia@freedomfriends.org.

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U

Unprogrammed

Unprogrammed

A style of Quaker worship. Sometimes called open worship. (See programmed worship)

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W

War of the Lamb, the | Wholistic Church | Word | Worship
War of the Lamb, the

Early Quaker language for doing the work of Christ, which in this world can feel like a battle at times. The language comes directly from the book of the Bible called the Apocalypse of John, or the book of Revelations. The Lamb is Christ, the war is against evil. Early Friends, like many people today felt that because their times were so difficult that they must surely be the fulfillment of the end of the age prophecies. They were incorrect, but their writings about the struggle to live rightly in this world have proven surprisingly durable.

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Wholistic Church

We are pretty sure that wholistic is not a real word, at least it is not in the regular dictionary, but we like it anyway. It combines holistic and whole, strengthening the concept of something that aims to look at and deal with how the parts are related to the whole. At Freedom Friends we see human beings as whole; spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual beings. We try and bring our whole beings to God and take our whole beings into the world. We will try and refrain from turning holiness into wholiness even though it would be appropriate.

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Word

This is another name for Christ. It comes from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, the most mystical of the Gospels. The Greek word for word is logos. In addition to word it means; ratio, relationship, conversation, order, reason and logic. John says that this principle of sanity and order and relationship was and is God and that this part of God is what was embodied in Jesus Christ. If you are curious about this read the first Chapter of John in any modern translation (see biblical references). Sometimes Christians use 'word' to refer to the Bible, that would be an unusual usage at Freedom Friends. We would say that Christ is The Word - God's conversation with us - and that the Bible contains some of God's words for us.

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Worship

Worship is what happens naturally when a created being is in the presence of its creator. It involves intimacy and it involves communication of truth. Worship can be solitary or gathered in a group. For two hundred years Quakers worshipped in expectant silence without music and with only occasional messages brought up from the silence by different members. Now Friends all over the world have many ways of worshipping. Music and even dance happens in worship. Pastors bring messages. But the common thread should be that worship is an activity and a time when the human and the Divine sit together and focus on their relationship.

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Y

Yaweh

Yaweh

The proper Hebrew name for the one true God. God has many, many names, but this is one of the oldest and most respected. In the Hebrew tradition that name was so holy and sacred that it was never spoken out loud. The irony of this is if you de-emphasize the vowel sounds, the 'yah' is an intake of breath and the 'weh' is the exhale. So every human says the name of God with every breath they take. The creation story in the book of Genesis says that God breathed life into his new human creatures. It would appear that God left God's name there on their lips.

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Z

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