Matt's Blog (19)

Benjamin Franklin's role in the withdrawal of Quakers from Pennsylvania politics

Benjamin Franklin is often held up as a hero of American colonial era, and often conflated with Quakers because of his presence in largely-Quaker Philadelphia. The Franklin Institute, for example, includes the question, “Was Benjamin Franklin a Quaker?” among its …

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Added by Matt on 2nd mo. 29, 2020 at 5:05pm — 4 Comments

Leadership as Non-Anxious Presence: An Interview with Colin Saxton

Colin Saxton has served as General Secretary of Friends United Meeting (FUM) since January, 2012, and concludes his term there this summer. Though based out of the FUM office in Richmond, Colin spends much of his time traveling among Friends. He sees his…
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Added by Matt on 3rd mo. 9, 2018 at 4:30pm — No Comments

I Deny Being a Quaker

I delivered the following message at Richmond First Friends on May 28, 2017. This post originally appeared on the Quaker Libertarians blog.

John 18: 15-18, 25-27

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since…
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Added by Matt on 5th mo. 29, 2017 at 3:30pm — 3 Comments

Radical Relationship and Revelation

The following is an adaptation of a message delivered during worship at Richmond First Friends on October 23, 2016.





John 15: 9-17



As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have…

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Added by Matt on 10th mo. 30, 2016 at 1:00pm — No Comments

​“Preacher, tell them that Satan is real, too”: Connecting Rothbard’s Conceptual Realism and Quaker Notions

Recently in reading through Murray Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State, I came across an interesting concept with possible relevance for religious practice. In critiquing the economic thought of some others, he explains that…

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Added by Matt on 2nd mo. 23, 2016 at 10:30pm — 22 Comments

Anarchic Harmony: Toward a creatively evolutionary Quaker organizational structure

I am in a reading group that recently finished up a book on the “dones” by Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope - Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith. The authors surveyed people from across the U.S. that have left the church and found some striking commonalities in their responses. One of those key areas has…

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Added by Matt on 9th mo. 20, 2015 at 4:51pm — 3 Comments

A review of "Quakernomics"

Mike King’s 2014 book Quakernomics: An Ethical Capitalism should interest anyone who wants to learn more about the history of 19th century British Quakers in business. Beyond that, the claim that the book provides “an…

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Added by Matt on 9th mo. 11, 2015 at 7:48am — 1 Comment

Bell Hooks, Courtney Hoffman, and Memories Pizza

Some thoughts on feminism, Quakerism, and voluntaryism

In the 2004 book The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, bell hooks seeks to build a bridge between men and women in the effort to undermine the destructive effects of…

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Added by Matt on 4th mo. 8, 2015 at 2:02pm — 2 Comments

Chopin's Disciplined Freedom

Pianist Byron Janis recently shared his thoughts on what makes "Chopin Chopin" in a column for the Wall Street Journal. As he explains:



No word is more important in describing the…

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Added by Matt on 2nd mo. 16, 2015 at 6:14am — No Comments

A Query from the Diabelli Variations

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece by Stuart Isacoff on Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations."   

In it,…

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Added by Matt on 12th mo. 8, 2014 at 11:00pm — No Comments

Recovering the Quaker Apocalyptic Tradition

Friends United Meeting recently announced that it will soon be publishing a 2nd Edition of Douglas Gwyn's Apocalypse of the…

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Added by Matt on 12th mo. 4, 2014 at 12:26am — No Comments

Quakers and the Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery is a legal principle that still informs American jurisprudence. In the 1828 Supreme Court case Johnson v. M'Intosh, "Chief Justice John Marshall justified the way in which colonial powers laid claim to lands belonging to…

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Added by Matt on 7th mo. 21, 2014 at 9:38am — No Comments

On the prospects for a progressive - libertarian alliance

It is my hope that most Americans will one day agree on the following three items:

The need to scale back

  - the size and scope of our military intervention

  - the war on drugs and the resultant mass incarceration 

  - domestic and international…

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Added by Matt on 6th mo. 10, 2014 at 4:12pm — 2 Comments

Are Quakers ready to advocate prison abolition?

Quakers have a long history of advocating for more humane prison conditions, in part stemming from their own experience of wrongful imprisonment. Are Friends ready to take the next step and call for the complete abolition of prisons? 

Learn more…

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Added by Matt on 5th mo. 1, 2014 at 5:48pm — 7 Comments

God, Perhaps

From a message delivered on February 13, 2014, in ESR worship:

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.

Do you remember that line? It’s from The Smashing Pumpkins song, “Bullet with…

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Added by Matt on 4th mo. 27, 2014 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

Quakerism's inherent subversion of the state

In part as a response to comments on a recent QuakerQuaker post about whether Friends should engage the political system at all, this post is meant to stimulate further discussion by citing examples from the history of early Friends that…

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Added by Matt on 4th mo. 15, 2014 at 6:32am — No Comments

Guns v. Butter?

FCNL is at it again in their latest video. On the one hand, they rightly question maintaining ridiculously high military spending and the Pentagon's efforts to hold on to higher budgets in times of relative peace. On the other hand, however, they employ an outmoded "guns v. butter" approach to the federal budget, suggesting that any reduction in military spending should necessarily lead to a spending spree for any number of other priorities - this is what they call "The Peace…

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Added by Matt on 4th mo. 2, 2014 at 12:37pm — No Comments

Quakers and the language of budget realignment

The inaugural blog post at the newly-launched Quaker Libertarians site recently went live:

National Quaker organizations have the unfortunate tendency to address war spending from the perspective of budget realignment or reallocation. This approach puts forth the false notion that national governments sit atop vast reserves of wealth that should…

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Added by Matt on 3rd mo. 18, 2014 at 5:45am — 12 Comments

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