Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Talk of “holy possessions” might also lead Quakers to think of those things which have set us apart from the rest of Christianity and may well preserve our tradition in the 21st century.
As we keep sowing, we divide the labor according to our gifts. For every radical prophet who risks everything to speak the truth, we hope some conservative is doing a good job of guarding the money that will pay the prophet’s bail. We make space for the pastor who cherishes our community, and we make space for the outward-facing evangelist, who understands when the moment is ripe to intervene in our culture.
Friends Meeting of San Antonio finds the policy of the present administration of separating children from their families at the border to be shameful and contrary to American values. Further, using the Gospel to claim that “God has ordained” such actions is appalling to us as a people of faith.
“The Friends They Loathed” was defended in April 2018 and examined a chapter of Maryland history that had never been explored in detail before — the religious persecution against Quakers during the American Revolution. Despite being a historian of American Christianity, I hold no religious beliefs.
At first blush, such a process might be celebrated as a process of enrichment: Quakerism version 1 turns into Quakerism v2, now new and better because it has bells or outward sacraments or what-have-you. But note that this kind of change is not just a matter of simple addition, because elements drawn from various other traditions are themselves embedded deeply in some culture, and so they are clothed round with meanings and nuances that are implicitly adopted along with the idea or practice that has been explicitly imported.
This is an aspect of group discernment and consensus decision making rarely discussed among Quakers. Likely this is because the presumption is that in worshipful business meetings the presumption is that decision making is Spirit-led. It is a noble ideal and one that I have seen in action. And yet, it is also a dynamic that can be subject to abuse and as such ought to prompt some self-examination and possibly some intentional safeguards into meeting processes.
One issue to which I am particularly sensitive is how our obsession with the past comes across to newcomers. Some people (especially those with Quaker ancestors) are excited by our history, while other people are turned off or simply puzzled by Quaker jargon and Quaker genealogies, which they experience as a serious barrier to being included.
Quakerism is designed for disruption. Actively stirring up trouble, causing a scene, shedding Light on oppression. Following Christ calls us to be outlaws, to defy the powers of this world. To simultaneously break into and out of the state and extend the Kingdom. We are called to create and live into a new society.
Since Benson’s time, denominational-mindedness has gained ground among Quakers, and a diversity of philosophies is now seen as valid not only for those outside of the Society but for those within. A tightening conformity to the doctrine of individualism has accelerated the proliferation of ideologies within the Society. Resisted by most is the observation that human nature is intrinsic and universal, the same in every time and place, and that Jesus Christ speaks to this universal condition.
I pay a lot of attention to pronoun use. People often say "our nuclear weapons" and/or "what we did in Vietnam". I don't have any nuclear weapons, nor do my friends.When I spend lots of time/energy fighting something, such as the invasion of Iraq, I…Continue
This book (not yet available) will be bringing up an aspect of Jesus' historical life and purposes that hasn't been much emphasized or even noticed among the bulk of modern Christians, Friends among them.Have we fallen, are we collectively falling…Continue
ResearchNotes, Code:DisFirWis, Naylor, Creature, forebearance, condescension
The second man is spiritually begotten by the Spirit of the immortal seed, is the express image of the Father; he knows the Father and is known of him,…Continue
The inshining presence of God and the birth of awareness and morality that is come out of outward political and religious conceptual and institutional forms and into immanent Presence itself in itself.
I am come into the…Continue