Are approving and accepting and receiving three different things?

This is part of a series called “answers for a small-f friend.” These articles are deliberately simple, informal, and under 200 words…the kinds of answers that I might give casually over a cup of lemonade. 

If you’re wanting to go deeper, I recommend Faith and Practice (any yearly meeting’s version) or Quaker Process for Friends on the Benches by Mathilda Navias. If you’re a video person more than a text person, try the QuakerSpeak series, available online.

Do you have a question I should add? Let me know in the comments.

Are approving and accepting and receiving three different things?

Let’s say that the Zebra Committee offers a report in business meeting:

THERE ARE NO ZEBRAS IN OUR MEETINGHOUSE. WE RECOMMEND PURCHASING A ZEBRA.

The meeting can minute that we have received the report. This means “yes, we heard you say that thing about zebras.” If we minute that and nothing else, that means nobody is going to do any further work at this time.

And/or, the meeting can minute that we have approved the recommendation. This means “yes, we agree that we should purchase a zebra.” Ideally, we would also minute some information about exactly who is going to purchase the zebra and when and how.

But let’s say that the Zebra Committee gives its report and then someone points to the corner of the room, where there is a zebra calmly chomping hay. “Obviously,” the Friend says, “there is at least one zebra in our meetinghouse already. The report is factually incorrect, so we can’t discern the recommendation appropriately.” We then minute that we do not accept the report and are returning it to the Zebra Committee requesting additional research.

What matters most, though, is not correct wording but clarity on what we’re doing about the zebra situation.

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