Our way of doing business, requiring unity but no voting, requires us to listen carefully to each other. In practice, this can be difficult, especially if someone opposed to a proposal refuses to speak up or speak fully or, perhaps more serious, refuses to attend the business sessions where the matter is being considered.
Sometimes, knowing there is unvoiced opposition, we will lay an agenda over to the next session, hoping for better representation – itself an admission that low turnout for our monthly meeting for worship for the conduct of business may also indicate its low priority in our lives. Laying it over, in turn, can often mean beginning all over again as a different set of individuals addresses the issue. Moreover, being present is essential, because miracles can occur in the session. Sending a statement on paper or via another Friend avoids moving with the Spirit in the meeting. There are times when being uncomfortable in the context of business meeting is healthy, and a sense of agreeing to disagree for a while may in turn lead to a third way and innovative resolution.
We need to be mindful that working through differences on small things is practice that strengthens us, as a body, for larger, more difficult issues.