Here I am a fresh-faced Young Adult Friend, going to Earlham as a religion major with a minor in Quaker studies. I was all ready to get at it, so when I heard that the 200 level Intro to Quakerism class would be open to not just second years, but also first years, I jumped at it.
The class started, as one would expect, with excerpts from the journal of George Fox. For the first couple of weeks we talked about George Fox, it was in these first weeks that I realized that the Intro to Quakerism would involve some unforeseen challenges.
A couple of classes into Quakerism, our teacher (a very kick-ass Quaker lady), was reviewing some of the stuff we studied earlier in the week. I don't remember exactly how the question was phrased, but it was something like, "So, why was it that George Fox thought that priests weren't necessary?"
Oh! Oh! I know! I know!
'no,' I told myself firmly, 'let one of the other, non-Quaker kids answer.'
No one said anything.
Come on guys.
The teacher rephrased the question.
I was sitting on my hand. I was biting my tongue. I realized they weren't Quaker, but we had just talked about this two days ago.
Just as I was about to explode and answer the question (even though I had promised myself I wouldn't answer all of the questions, but respectfully let other people talk), when the teacher answered the question herself. She went back over how George Fox believed that there was that of Christ in everyone, so everyone could communicated with God themselves.
I realized that day that Quakerism class would not be without its difficulties.
Another difficult moment was when I was talking to a non-Quaker student. I said that when Fox spoke of Truth, with the capital "T" he was speaking of a way of deep, spiritual knowing. It was something that you felt right down at your core was inexplicable right and good. The other student said I was wrong. I was filled with righteous indignation. "I don't THINK so!" I huffed in my mind, "I KNOW I'm right, because God Damnit! I feel it too!"
Now I am entering into my fifth or sixth week of classes, and Quakerism is one of my favorite classes. I have greatly enjoyed our teacher's selection of books (a great mix of journals and general books about Quakerism), and I have really enjoyed working step-by-step through Quaker history and practice. I have been challenged by the texts, and by the teacher and by the papers, and I have felt like I am learning new things. . . . Although there is still a lot of times when I need to bite my tongue and let other people answer. There are still times when a non-Quaker student totally misinterprets a crucial part of my faith, and I want to jump to my feet and say, "YOU'RE SO F---ING WRONG!!"
But over all, Quakerism class is a good time.