Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Very often, if we had just heard the lesson without its personal and often anecdotal preamble, it would have felt much more like Spirit-led vocal ministry. So why quibble about it? Because, by the time we get the lesson, it is so saturated with “I” that it has trouble lifting off the ground to transform the We. Our consciousness has been so deeply drawn into personality that it hinders the transpersonal character we hope for in vocal ministry.
Friends are seeking ways to respond to the current refugee crisis. One example is a minute of concern recently approved by Santa Monica Meeting. Other Friends are taking action by visiting detainees in the Adelanto Detention Center. Some are accompanying refugees in the courts. Quaker organizations like FCNL and AFSC are calling for comprehensive immigration reform and an end to ICE. I am including this letter in hopes of stimulating more discussion among Friends (and others) about what we can do to respond to this latest moral crisis.
I’m convinced that the USA is in a kind of danger that is new to most of us. But even if our worst fears turn out to be exaggerated, the scale of pain and despair among some (and wicked glee among others) is something that demands a prophetic and pastoral response from all who claim to represent Good News.
I intend this informational blog to help others explore the thought and experience of early Quakers, chiefly before 1700, who knew, preached, and reflected on lives transformed and guided by God, who gathered them into a covenanted people.
The purpose of a covenant community is to provide a home for this transforming work. That means that joining a meeting that is a covenant community invites radical engagement with our spiritual lives on the part of our fellow members, who are to be the vehicles for God’s transforming work.
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.
I'll probably start a storm with this, but, here goes...Plain dress. ...is it?Is it plain? I've seen the price of a pair of broadfalls... seriously?? What I' getting at is, the Friends "dress code" was all about simplicity... avoiding buckles, shiny…Continue
The Unitarians are more at the forefront than Friends on this initiative, however we had a number of Quakers at the Iran Forum where this proposal was floated, receiving much interest and applause. I'll give a link in the comments to my journal…Continue
Amid the wide global…Continue