I'm sure we'd all prefer that it not be...

Is it?

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Quaker worship is for folks like us,we're superior,
we're superior.

Quaker worship is for folks like us;we're superiorer than thou.

Actually, though, so much the worse for "Quaker worship style." Samuel Bownas, when he returned to England (after being locked up awhile for preaching in the Colonies) felt that a certain deadness had creeped into many of the meetings he visited, which an acquaintance suggested was due to this, that:

"‘The professors of truth in that nation were very strict and exact in some things, and placed much in outward appearance, but too much neglected the reformation and change of the mind, and having the inside thoroughly cleansed from pride and iniquity, for thou knowest,' said he, ‘the leaven of the Pharisees was always hurtful to the life of religion in all shapes.'"

Earlier, Quakers had been accused of having their meetings too rowdy, too rife with people collapsing into loud groans of contrition & remorse over their inadequacies.

If it suits most of us well to have our meetings always peaceful & comfortable, we and our poor neighbors may not suit each other...

because a common difference in poor people's attitudes is that their problems can't wait (while rich people's problems are seldom kept waiting). Poor people may well be worried that their rent won't be paid -- or their apartments will be sold out from under them, to have the rents increased or their places outright destroyed to build housing for people with more money. They may be thinking that their kids won't be eating for the last week of the month.

They may be frightened and angry. They might be used to needing to raise their voices to be heard at all, to being proud of the courage it sometimes takes to let people know what they're thinking. They may get tired of the ignorance of the educated,  impatient with the unthinking contempt of their betters...

It is quite correct that early quakerdom was enthusiastic (more like popular pentecostalism), but then, early quakerdom was rather unspecific. It needed time to find its particular style in worship, like it needed  time to find its particular style in matters of war and peace.

I don't think that introverted people are superior to extraverted people. But they are different. It's quite usual, but a bit unfair that persons who are different are so quickly stigmatized as "uppity", "want to be better than us" etc. How much gifted working class children have been obstructed by family remarks that they act out of class, how many gifted black children are even now obstructed by reproaches that they are "acting white"?

I admit your point that poor people have to a degree to be more emotional. To what a degree would be more obvious if the Quaker communities would keep an intense communication with their own impoverishing members. (My impression is that introverted people react to impoverishment by retreating and severing their social contacts.) I suppose we can agree about this last recommendation.

Hello, Chaplain Stogumber!

Actually, early Quaker worship was suppressed by the leadership, partly for good reasons and partly for bad ones.  Farah Mendlesohn once suggested that, if this suppression had not occurred, the Society of Friends might have become a Pentecostal faith-tradition!

The idea that early Quaker worship was not as authentic as the subdued and stereotyped worship of the next generation is quite debatable.  What is your reasoning for this conclusion?  What implicit biases lie behind your judgment?  Is there a hidden agenda?

lo, Chaplain!

Please ignore the "lo, Chaplain."   I intended to delete it!



William F Rushby said:

Please ignore the "lo, Chaplain."   I intended to delete it!

No problem (the "chaplain" is my preferred figure in G.B.Shaw, "St. Joan". I have no clerical ambitions.)



William F Rushby said:

Hello, Chaplain Stogumber!

Actually, early Quaker worship was suppressed by the leadership, partly for good reasons and partly for bad ones.  Farah Mendlesohn once suggested that, if this suppression had not occurred, the Society of Friends might have become a Pentecostal faith-tradition!

The idea that early Quaker worship was not as authentic as the subdued and stereotyped worship of the next generation is quite debatable.  What is your reasoning for this conclusion?  What implicit biases lie behind your judgment?  Is there a hidden agenda?

Hello William,
I've developed a certain aversion against "originism", the idea that religions (be it Christianity, be it Quakerism) have been perfect in the origin (because of the perfect founder or leader) and have deterioriated afterwards (till the time they returned to the origins). I think the history of a new religion is rather like the history of a new scientific theory: it begins with some confuse new ideas and by and by there's a definite pattern worked out.
I'm somewhat influenced by German Pietism; Pietists looked at history as a series of awakenings of whom the Quaker awakening was one. All awakenings were rather similar in the beginning but they ended in quite different patterns.
My point is not that a Pentecostal pattern is worse, but that there are enough representations of the Pentecostal pattern. But Quakerism is singular as far as it is the one and only modern representation of the 18th century Quietist pattern (which spread from a Catholic sect and had a certain discipleship in Reformed Pietism, but was nowhere as widespread or long-living as with the Quakers. I didn't know about the aspect of suppression). As for a hidden agenda, I must say that everything "quiet" appeals to me.



Chaplain Stogumber said:



Hello William,

I've developed a certain aversion against "originism", the idea that religions (be it Christianity, be it Quakerism) have been perfect in the origin (because of the perfect founder or leader) and have deterioriated afterwards (till the time they returned to the origins). I think the history of a new religion is rather like the history of a new scientific theory: it begins with some confuse new ideas and by and by there's a definite pattern worked out.

I'm somewhat influenced by German Pietism; Pietists looked at history as a series of awakenings of whom the Quaker awakening was one. All awakenings were rather similar in the beginning but they ended in quite different patterns.
My point is not that a Pentecostal pattern is worse, but that there are enough representations of the Pentecostal pattern. But Quakerism is singular as far as it is the one and only modern representation of the 18th century Quietist pattern (which spread from a Catholic sect and had a certain discipleship in Reformed Pietism, but was nowhere as widespread or long-living as with the Quakers. I didn't know about the aspect of suppression). As for a hidden agenda, I m</blockquote>ust say that everything "quiet" appeals to me.

[To reply outside the blockquotes, the best trick I know is to hit the 'html' button on the right of the reply-box]

I tend to think that we all really want to see the Kingdom moving in, in power, both inside ourselves & on the outside (where after all, it's not easy being a human; and many people no better nor worse than us are suffering.)

That much healing could be painful to hope for [Maybe it's not Time for that yet!], so I think people settle for peace on the inside. Should we, though?

Hello again, Chaplain Stogumber!

I apologize to you for being hostile in my reaction to your model of Quakerism settling down after the initial period into a more mature style of spirituality.  I guess it is obvious that I am inclined toward the model which sees the beginning period as pristine, and subsequent developments as subversive or decadent.  Actually, I would propose a more nuanced view of the situation, but it is too late and I am too tired to do justice to an explanation.  So I will defer any such attempt until later.  No doubt, others will also speak to the situation!

Krefeld played an important role in the history of Anabaptism and Quakerism.  What is the current state of Anabaptist/Quaker Christianity in that area?

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