Audience and Integrity

The question of audience is haunting me. Humor me for a moment, dear reader, and envision how many different types of person you could be:
a curious Internet reader, hoping to learn what Quakers are about;
a long-time Friend beginning to look online for an inspiring Quakerly opinion piece;
a confirmed Quaker blogger, more familiar than I with the personalities and agendas of the online Quaker world;
a colleague or friend of mine;
a member of my meeting;
or a student of mine.

I am unknown by some of those groups, partially known by others. Quakers from different regions and branches (and ages) will have different contexts and commitments as you read; non-Quakers will lack background. I would address myself differently to these different groups, to suit their (your) needs, if I was speaking personally. What to do? Now I know that really, a blog is a public document, but one that usually aims at a specialized audience, in my case a Quaker audience including all the varieties above. So, dear reader, please adjust your expectations accordingly. But do note in passing why I felt it worthwhile to post on this:

Friends prize integrity; for me it's the first of the Quaker virtues. When I was a teenager, I would have thought it two-faced to show a different face to different groups. I occasionally hear a student of mine voice the same idea. But then, Paul says somewhere that he sought to be "all things to all people." The integrity I seek here is in the relationship, in the communication between two parties: me and whoever is reading this. One's heart, one's center, indeed must remain unified -- that's personal integrity -- but any good message in a meeting for worship emerges at the intersection of three: the speaker, the hearers, and the divine. I won't assume that my posts here will be inspired in that way. Yet we can hope. Perhaps the Witness in you, dear readers (in thee, dear reader) will find something in my posts that answers; and thereby they may be a blessing.

It's chore time and the cows and sheep await their dinner. Though I've raised more questions, for myself, than I've answered, I must go.

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