Friends have, over time, developed some consistent ways of behavior and of interacting with the world that we call our testimonies.  There have been many testimonies over the years, but a basic list of our testimonies will generally include:  integrity, community, peace, simplicity, and equality.

The most important testimony, because it is the one that all the other testimonies are based on, is the testimony of integrity.  At its simplest, the testimony of integrity means that we believe that it is wrong to lie, and we try to tell the truth in all things and at all times.  We do not take oaths, because Christ has forbidden it, and we believe it sets up a double-standard for telling the truth.  On a deeper level, the testimony of integrity means that we believe it is important for the whole of our lives to be consistent with our Christian beliefs: we believe we need to "walk our talk", or, as George Fox said, "Let your lives preach."

A few Friends are led to adopt the "plain witness" in dress and lifestyle as part of their testimony of integrity.  The plain witness is an outward manifestation of an inward attitude of the heart:  an attempt to bring even one's outward appearance under the visible Lordship of Christ.  Not everyone feels this call to outward plainness in the same way.  Conservative Friends believe that there are many ways to live that are under the Lordship of Christ, and so we worship side by side with each other in charity, some wearing suspenders and broad-brimmed hats, some wearing crosses, some wearing white robes, and some just acting like damned fools - all servants of the same Lord.  The plain witness also extends to other areas of life--one's use of time, one's possessions, one's vocations, all may be evaluated in terms of the integrity of specifically aligning them with our perception of the will of God.  Those who choose plain dress also find it a telling witness of our faith to other people that invites conversation about God.

As far as I know, no other church is as accepting of as much latitude of individual conscience in the area of personal appearance.  Other churches either require their members to wear their official version of plain dress, or exert pressure on their members to abandon plain dress.  Conservative Friends trust that each person can listen to God and be guided by the Holy Spirit to wear the clothing that is best for their own spiritual growth.

Probably the most well known Quaker testimony is the Peace Testimony.  Friends believe that war and violence are inconsistent with Christianity.  Jesus told us, "...Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which desptefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) - we believe that it is difficult to love someone sincerely if we are trying to kill them.  And also, "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:39).  Our concern for peace stems from a desire to be obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ, not originally from political or social beliefs.

Sometimes people indeed do evil things, individually and as nations.  We believe that the proper response is to prevent them from harming others, while at the same time remembering that there is that of God in the perpetrators as well.  As hard as it is to do, our call as Christians is to love both the hurtful and the hurt, to look for ways to heal both sides, and to live so as to help prevent conflict in the future.  

The testimony of simplicity takes many different forms, but it is based on the idea that all of our lives need to revolve around one thing - our relationship with the Living God.  Generally, it means that Conservative Friends attempt to live lives free of clutter, superfluity, and affectation that can distract us from God.  We attempt to ensure that we choose in all things what is simple, useful, and good.  Friends apply the testimony of simplicity to their clothing, to their possessions, to their work, to their way of speech, to their choice of recreations - in short, all aspects of our lives can show in clear simple ways that we are "not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing" of our minds.

The testimony of equality means that all people are to be given equal respect, regardless of anything - including their gender, age, race, station in life, intelligence, or criminal behavior.  Friends believe that we are all equal in the sight of God, and so we should treat each other as equals.  This does not mean that we are all to be treated exactly the same.  It does mean that no one is to be treated as either a superior or an inferior.  Because of the testimony of equality, Friends try to avoid the use of titles, as well as avoiding ceremonial behavior, such as removing their hats, in front of legal or social "superiors".  They may also adhere to older Quaker testimonies such as the plain speech of "thee and thou," one purpose of which was to show equal respect for all individuals one was addressing.

The testimony of community is extremely important to Conservative Friends, particularly in this age of individualism.  Friends take seriously Jesus' admonition to love each other, as well as Paul's admonition to subject ourselves to each other.  If we really are the body of Christ, and all the parts need one another as the Gospel says, then it isn't right for one part to be off doing its own thing separate from the body.  The Lord can and does do a lot through people as individuals.  But the real power of the Gospel shows itself when we function as a united body witnessing to the world what God has done among us.

Quaker Meetings

Crossroads Friends - Monthly meeting in various locations in Michigan. Information and resource website updated regularly.

Quakers Online Community - an online gathering hoping to provide fellowship to isolated friends and those looking to expand their relationships. Complete with chatroom, membership profiles, mailboxes etc.

Quaker writing
quaker info

Quaker Heritage Press aims to restore and make available early historical Quaker writings that have gone out of print.

The Conservative Friend - An Unofficial Outreach of Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends.

Christian Quaker - a great resource for anyone interested in Conservative Christian Quakerism.

quaker mission

Conservative Quakers of America - upholding the beliefs and traditions and the Religious Society of Friends. Promoting events of Ohio Yearly Meeting.

cool websites

Quaker is the New Punk! - "Renegade Quaker", Jim Heil's, quakerblog site. The rules have all changed.

The Rosewater Foundation - a charity supporting the continuation and development of Online Communities.

Gypsy Bees - Quaker family run business provides raw local honeys, pure beeswax candles, herbal-based holistic skin care products, and hand-crafted items from our Amish neighbors. Front-door, Farmer's Market, internet, and mail-order sales.

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