1. Background

Courage as a Spiritual State of Being

A recipe for loving your neighbor

By Christine Ashley


A few days ago, 27 pastors and spiritual directors from 14 states visited the Quaker Welcome Center for a two-hour conversation about how our work at FCNL, as Quaker advocates, is an example of tradition and innovation. Specifically, we explored together the question, “How do we cultivate and nurture courage as a spiritual state of being, and take that out in to the world?”

A Love Thy Neighbor sign with the Capitol in the backdrop.

In response to this query I shared FCNL’s recipe for Quaker lobbying as pathway to courageous action:

FCNL’s Lobby Roadmap Recipe:

1 One expression of gratitude: Say “Thank you” to your member of Congress. (Ex. “Thank you for being part of the bipartisan climate solutions caucus!”)

1 Round of introductions ( Ex. “I am Christine from Silver Spring and shop at the grocery just down the street from you”)

1 Legislative Ask (Ex. “We are here to ask you to please take action to repeal the 2001 and 2001 AUMFs without enacting another authorization for endless war.”)

3 Stories (Ex. “When my father was serving in the US Army in 1951…”)

1 Legislative Ask repeated

1 Follow-up

FCNL’s Lobby Road Map (download here as a PDF) is a recipe for us to practice radical love with our members of Congress. We commit to establish a long-lasting relationship with members of Congress to support our work in order to make the world we seek, the world we live in.

The road map can also serve as a guide to how we meet with differences and conflict in our spiritual communities. The road map helps us answer the question “How do we cultivate faithful witness in the world by lifting up up courage as a spiritual state of being?” From this question we learn to tolerate discomfort of creating the world we seek with a tender and raw heart. While using the ingredients of the road map in our own lives we start with a thank you and find space for gratitude to lift up blessings that touch our intertwining lives!

Gerald Gordon May writes “Someone said courage is fear that has said its prayers.” With the right ingredients in hand may we continue to find strength in prayer, create space for courage to rise and faithful witness to emerge, and be the change we want to see in the world.

Christine Ashley

  • Quaker Field Secretary

Christine Ashley has the honor of nurturing and deepening FCNL’s relationships with Friends across the United States. In this role, Christine develops and sustains FCNL's engagement with individuals both within the Religious Society of Friends and with seekers for the Quaker way of living Faith in to action.