clarity's wiki


“Organizing” as in, thinking about how people relate to one another, and how those relations become organized towards changing the future, the present, and the past.

The Tyranny of Tyranny A Talk on Security with J. Sakai A replacement for meetings

Quaker Practice

The quaker practice of determing “the sense of the meeting” is a compelling alternative to the naive “democracies” that many organizational bodies employ.

One of the most often questions I get asked as a Quaker by non-Quakers is how do we practice the “Quaker discernment process,” or consensus decision-making, as it is sometimes called. And the follow up question, if there is one, is about whether or not Quaker process takes as long as it sounds like it must take. The Quaker group process of working towards a “sense of the Meeting” is not just baffling to many, it is downright alien to the typical person (see here for more on Sense of the Meeting). I don’t blame folks for not knowing how to practice Quaker decision-making, I didn’t know or really understand it until I began to pastor a Quaker Meeting* where I learned under the tutelage of folks who had been doing it for a long time.
In this post, I want to address the speed of Quaker discernment, but before we get there, I want to address the first part of this question: the fact that group discernment is so different.

Principle vs. Preference: The Speed of Quaker Decision-Making A Quaker Glossary