by Paul Lacey

Leading and being led: the words are simple enough. But for Quakers they have their most profound resonance as defining religious experience. Friends speak variously of being drawn to an action, feeling under the weight of a concern, being called or led to act in specific ways. We speak of being open to the leadings of the Light, of being taught by the Spirit or the Inward Christ. Extraordinary claims lie embedded in those phrases. They say that it is not only possible but essential to our nature for human beings to hear and obey the voice of God; that we can be directed, daily, in what we do, the jobs we hold, the very words we say; and that our obedience may draw us to become leaders in all spheres of human life – in the professions, arts and sciences, but also in discovering the ethical, political, social, and economic consequences of following the will of God. To be a Quaker is not simply to subscribe to doctrines but to be convinced that one has known an ultimate reality which authenticates doctrine. It is to know oneself capable of being taught now by the living Spirit of Truth, capable of receiving vital direction in what one is to do. It is not only to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus but to have met the Inward Christ.

This is a brief excerpt from On Leadings & Being Led, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #264, 1985.