I started this month with high expectations and despite the World Cup distractions, I never really lost sight of how amazing Quakerism and Friends are. I learned a lot about myself, my family and the nature of God. It's really impressive how much of an impact Friends have had on the world and on my nation. And while their numbers don't seem to be increasing much, I will always respect them for what they have revealed to me.
From what you experienced, what was the best part of Quakerism?
Wow! That's really a difficult question. I wan't to say tolerance and progression, but those are too obvious. There were so many different elements of the religion that really worked for me and, to be honest, it was a journey that revealed itself one step at a time. At first, I loved the idea of oneness with God. Since that is the backbone of the religion, it was probably the most inspiring. Viewing people in that fashion makes equality much easier to practice. As the month progressed, I found myself really digging the simplicity of the approach. It was to-the-point and inspiring to practice Christianity in such a raw form. For the first time, I saw Christianity as I believe it was intended to be viewed and used. The whole thing was really great and it's impossible to pinpoint a favorite part.
What improvements, if any, did you witness in yourself?
I think I learned the value of silence during my Buddhist month, so sitting in silence wasn't new. I think Ham Seok-heon really connected the dots for me. He spoke very eloquently about the need for personal honesty and reflection, yet he tied it in so well with how we can use that time to understand the true nature of God. Humans have the power to channel God's wisdom, charity and passion if they only allow themselves to recognize it, however people are so diluted by their own false realities and perceptions of themselves to realize that. I'm really going to try and become more honest with myself.
What was the most annoying aspect of the religion for you?
I had to really think about this one. In my short month, there really wasn't anything that turned me off, but I guess one thing would be the fact that Quakers don't celebrate Christmas. I love Christmas and even though I'm very aware that Jesus wasn't born on December 25th, it's a great time to get together with family and enjoy each others company. It'd be a shame not to have that time.
You went to Meetings, were you comfortable in that setting?
I thought they were going to be very awkward, but I found them to be really warm and welcoming. Three meetings isn't really enough to get the full experience though. Spending time in silence with other Friends is something that can't really be described. It was a deeply enriching opportunity for me and one that I hope to pass on to friends and family.
Are you more proud of your ancestors because of their Quaker past?
Absolutely!!! I can honestly say that I am beyond proud. More than that, I have really started to concern myself with preserving a record for my own descendants. My family is wild for family history and luckily we've been blessed with some great record keepers. I can do my part and hopefully will also make my family proud.
Would you ever consider becoming a Quaker?
Yes. I'd have to gauge the vibe at my local Meeting, but Quakerism is certainly something that I could embrace. It's a wonderful religion.
Any last comments?
Take some time and read Ham Seok-heon. He was truly an amazing man and faced some serious hardships, but never lost sight of what was right. Be honest with yourself first and then you will realize how God's power works. Equality is easy when God dwells within us all.