Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
First a bit about my perspective. I was born into the family of a Pentecostal preacher in 1963. Pentecostalism actually borrowed a significant amount of its practice and theology from Quakers, especially the Wesleyan wing of Friends.
In 1983, I was asked by my father to stop attending his church, due to my "radical" ideas. I was a newlywed, interested in pursuing ministry, and trying to redefine the faith I'd inherited. Especially influential on me were the "Jesus Movement" of the 70s and its rock music and hippie lifestyle and the "evangelical left" such as Sojourners Magazine.
My wife and I moved to Dallas, TX. and eventually I found a Mennonite church that supported at least some of my new ideas, especially pacifism. Reading John Howard Yoder helped my ideas mature greatly. A group of us in the church formed a house church, hoping to live out a radical faith together in community.
My own leading at the time included a desire to be part of a Christian commune and when it became clear that the house church wasn't heading that direction, they supported my search for an existing community to join. We chose Reba Place Fellowship of Evanston IL. in 1986, a Charismatic Mennonite church-community that was founded 1957. The years we were involved there were powerfully important in my healing and growth.
I left that community in 1996, as my path changed to a post-Christian direction. I found my way to a liberal Quaker meeting and have been happily engaged there ever since.
Recently, I have reconnected with some folks from a sister church of RPF and discovered that the path I was following from a conventional Christian background towards a radical faith is still attracting lots of new young Christians. While the Mennonite church is uniquely positioned to reach such seekers, it is my hope that a renewed Christian Quakerism might also reach them. Especially in the case of Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians, Quakerism has a lot to offer.
I'm sorry that I never responded. It has been a busy few weeks for me and I let this thread slip out of mind.
Liberal Quaker meetings do need to work on being more welcoming to Christians. However, that does not mean we all will become Christian meetings, though many of them may so choose. My meeting will likely not choose that in any future I can foresee.
My posting was intended to say that there is a great need for Christian Quakers to reach out and minister to Christians, to let them know about Quaker faith and practice. "A great people to be gathered." I see many Christian Quakers complaining that their meetings aren't Christian, which is not the same thing as complaining that a meeting is unwelcoming to Christians.
If a Christian Quaker spends most of their energy trying to make non-Christian Quakers and meetings into Christian ones, that seems to me to be misdirected. I think a more fruitful path would be to minister to persons who are already Christians and bring Quaker Christianity to them.
Peace & Love! Charley
It is interesting Charley, I think we might also have to labour over what we call a Christian meeting. Many liberal meetings would call themselves Christian, yet more conservative meetings would not call them such. This is what I mean when I say we must stand in the paradox together. The definition of what it means to be a Christian may be changing for some. Perhaps we must stand together in our meetings and worship together and listen for what God wants us to hear about that. Most liberal Friends that I know would say that they are striving to do what Jesus would do, regardless of what they believe about the resurrection. It's an interesting dilemma we face.
Thanks for your reply. Peace and love to you as well!
Not sure what is happening in the midwest. Out here on the West coast, I don't think Christian Friends are asking meetings to become Christians. We understand and appreciate the diversity of meetings. In fact, the the efforts to avoid offending anyone can border on the absurd.
On the other hand, one local meeting has nonthiest members asking that no one use the word God in worship.
Intolerance happens on all sides. We all need to work on the log in our own eye before going after the mote in our neighbors'. Each of us needs to recognize that a meeting of all like minded folks is not going to challenge anyone to grow. Sometimes the message that is the hardest to hear is the one we most need.
Years ago, Douglas Steere had a Pendle Hill Pamphlet titled "Mutual Irradiation". Stay firmly rooted in your heritage, give and receive light from other traditions.