A very agitated guy came in with his pal for food today. I thought he might be withdrawing from drugs. In the course of a general chat he said to me ” I’m a friend”. I looked at him in a puzzled way and he clarified: “a Friend – a Quaker”. We chatted about this and he said he was “looking for the light”. I said “you mean God” and he replied “I don’t know if there is a God”. He went on to tell me he’d done around 7 years total in prison. He’d just come out on Christmas Eve from his last stint of 6 weeks. In the past he used to take cars, but now he does shoplifting mostly.
He then told me he was a Roman Catholic and had been confirmed in the last year. In prison he’d enjoyed reading the lesson in chapel. I asked if he went to confession. He said he didn’t, as he’d have to confess his sins. I told him that might do him good, but he wasn’t convinced. As he got up to leave I said: “would you like a New Testament?” He said, to my surprise, “I’d love a New Testament!” So off he went with his New Testament. I pray he reads it and gets convicted by the Holy Spirit of his need for forgiveness.
Nowadays you don’t need to subscribe to traditional Christian beliefs to be a Quaker. Things have changed.