Nature or nurture: part-time Quakerism

Part-time Quakerism: I’ve wondered if this is possible…it’s probably sacreligious.

I know this opens a can of worms for any religious person, no matter what persuasion, but I often marvel at the focus and dedication of Quakers who devote and dedicate their lives to their faith and practice. Every moment seems infused with one or the other–following a leading, ministering to others, keeping an awakened spiritual life and path.

Myself, I often dream of a Quakerism which is subtle and underlying all actions and thought. A bit like a natural tendency, the feeling that all is in alignment, all is right and well, that comes from action. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized this is like your natural voice–it comes out through speech which is unconcious and selfless, the rhythm and patter that is your own–rather than doubt or insincerity that can be heard through the tightness of speech or short breaths taken.

It’s often I see this in great “natural” teachers–those who come from a family of teachers and go on to teach, themselves. There is a comfort, a patience, and confidence of an internal compass that I admire. The naturalness seems to be embodied and held internally, flowing out intrinsically through their actions and words. Quakers who possess this seem the same, with a sense of how to slice simply to the essence, produce a clear gem, then offer it to the next person.

I don’t know if this is true for me, as Quakerism tended to find me. The naturalness of Quakerism in me comes from a kinship with it, rather than a birthright. No one I knew growing up was Quaker; I never went to a Quaker school; I never studied the Bible; most of my faith knowledge is localized through my meeting. Most of my internal Quaker clock seems to have been set by me outside of any knowledge of the faith itself through events and actions I found myself in on my own.

And sometimes I relapse into my old patterns and ways. I don’t keep Quakerism at the forefront of my mind or my spiritual life. Does this make me a part-time Quaker? Does Quakerism ask to be kept in the present mind all the time? Is Quakerism nature or nurture?