Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Babylon is the personification of a union between church”in its unfaithful role as earthly ruler” and state power. (See Doug Gwyn’s Apocalypse of the Word, pg. 192 for a pithy accout of George Fox’s usage.) A threat to either is a threat to both, so when Friends (or others) rejected the established church, or choose to “obey God rather than man” and refuse oaths, hat honor, tithes, or war, both halves of the Babylonish power responded with persecution and rage.
Religious stories, myths and images are not irrelevant details, but constitutive of an emotionally charged imaginative world. The stories of the Christian tradition enable an emotional identification with specific people, places and events that is often lacking from an intellectual commitment to abstract values.
At our pedagogical best Friends schools teach young people skills of reflection and inquiry; to ask critical questions; to seek insight and information; to listen with respect to others; and to share their own thinking in the context of a learning community. These skills are particularly focused in a Quaker school’s meeting for worship where students and faculty can express their deepest beliefs in a setting designed for support and growth around our disagreements. These are practices that we know serve students well after they leave our schools. These skills affirm students’ identities and their roles in the world and serve them well as they go forth to mend a broken world.
While Quakers around the country will find ways of protesting, on Saturday, 6 May 2017, many will climb Pendle Hill in Lancashire to protest against the effects of fracking, both locally and around the world. Quakers are known for worshipping in stillness and they will gather in a meeting for worship for witness. Pendle Hill is at the centre of an area licensed for fracking. This is also a significant place for Quakers. In 1652, George Fox climbed the hill and had a vision of creating a great movement of people.
Friends Schools were founded by Quakers as a path to equality, ending injustice and furthering knowledge about the world. Quakers have a long history in support of justice in Palestine/Israel dating back to the establishment of the Ramallah Friends School in 1869. Quaker decision making is done through a discernment process rooted in values such as peace, integrity, community, and equality. We do not see those values reflected in Friends Central’s decision to disinvite Dr. Atshan.
But long before Facebook was invented, we Quakers had our own version of social media, meeting for worship, which from its start insisted pastors and priests were not the only ones with the right and responsibility to speak. The floor would be open to all.
Baker was also a Quaker. While working in Germany in 1932, just before Hitler rose to power, she wrote of her disgust at the way the Jews were treated. “I don’t like being with people who enjoy hurting others,” she wrote. “No good can come of it, but worlds of trouble.”
The controversy has stirred deep-seated passions at the school and shone a light on a thorny issue for many Quaker schools: While the American Friends Service Committee supports putting economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestine, many students at Quaker schools are Jewish.
To sit together in an hour of “warm silence” is a gift. Each of us will encounter occasions when centering is difficult.
In earlier times, children certainly attended and were expected to sit through meetings for worship that could be held completely in silence. A favorite Quaker story is that of the children of Reading Meeting in England in the 1660s, who kept up the Meeting when all of their parents had been taken to jail
To Micah in response to his claim in his new blog article that all humans are "depraved."I often am renewed, uplifted, encouraged by your blog posts, Micah.BUT not this time! No way.I can't believe you actually said that--all humans are basically…Continue
[ excerpt from one of Multnomah's several listservs, this one a study group that includes film-watching ]Really interesting documentary about a black man who tries to befriend members of the Klan and convince them to quit. Lew and I saw it on PBS…Continue
The Divine action continues to write in the hearts of men the work begun by the holy Scriptures, but the characters made use of in this writing will not be visible till the day of judgment.[Jean-Pierre de Caussade]Continue