Doug Bennett's Blog (71)

What's Wrong With "Christian Fiction"?

Walking the shelves of my local library, I was surprised to find a label on a book that said "Christian Fiction." It was just above the regular label that makes books findable in  the stacks.

christianfiction Topsham Public Library puts labels on fiction that say FIC, and then below that, again in caps, the first three initials of the author's last name: JAM for a book by Marlon James that I'm reading now. Across the river, Brunswick Public Library puts  labels on fiction that say FIC, then…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 4th mo. 14, 2016 at 9:30am — 4 Comments

Who, Me?

It is Martin Luther King Day and I am thinking about how difficult it is to know our own worst capabilities.

I’ve been thinking about an experience in the 1980s. I was living near a Quaker day school that had an ugly, racist incident. The school community awoke one day to find a large surface on the school grounds had been painted with unquestionably racist graffiti. There were KKK-robed figures, there was an African-African head with a bullet traveling through it, there was the…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 1st mo. 18, 2016 at 11:00am — No Comments

Is ‘perfection in this life’ possible?

Doug Shoemaker, the Superintendent of Indiana Yearly Meeting, has been writing a series of ‘letters to George Fox’ that appear in the IYM Communicator. I find interest in these letters in considering whether I agree with them and also whether I think he construes George Fox in a way Fox would want to be understood.  In his recent, eighteenth letter, Shoemaker addresses the possibility of human’s achieving perfection, or ‘entire sanctification.’

Dear…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 3, 2015 at 9:12am — 23 Comments

Why Was the Bible Written -- And Why So Late?

November 19, 2015

Why was the Bible written? The Bible itself tells us very little. I don’t recollect any verse in which Jesus says to a disciple, “Simon, will you take notes today, you know, for the record?”

When I first came to know the Bible in my teens and 20s, it never occurred to me to wonder why the Bible had been written. Of course there was a Bible;…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 11th mo. 19, 2015 at 10:00am — 8 Comments

Why It Matters How We Read the Bible

“We want to clarify for everybody that this is not a homosexuality issue for us, this is an authority of scripture/interpretation of scripture/orthodoxy issue for us.” That’s what Anthem Friends Church said last week as they withdrew from Northwest Yearly Meeting.

Their exit…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 11th mo. 9, 2015 at 2:00pm — 108 Comments

Sources of Authority in the Present

“Welcome to the battlefield,” writes Ross Douthat in the New York Times yesterday. That sentence concludes a piece in which he responds to a letter sent to the Times by a sizable group of Catholic scholars, and that letter, in turn, was written in response to a series of columns by Douthat,…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 11th mo. 2, 2015 at 10:24am — 65 Comments

All Hail Max Carter

May 18, 2015

I had the good fortune to be at the Guilford College Commencement on Saturday: a joyful ceremony on a sun-dappled day. (I was there to celebrate the graduation of my nephew, James Alexander Trout.)

The day had additional resonance for me because it marked the final commencement for Max Carter, Director of the Friends Center at Guilford since its…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 5th mo. 18, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Should We Record Ministers?

May 13, 2015

If we believe that all are called to ministry, should Yearly Meetings specially record some people as ministers?

When a group of meetings were set off from Indiana Yearly Meeting a few years ago and then formed the New Association of Friends, they had the challenge of working out all…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 5th mo. 13, 2015 at 8:16pm — No Comments

God and King, Word and Sword

            I have been taking Jacob L. Wright’s Coursera MOOC called “The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose and Political Future.” Wright is a professor of religion at Emory University, and I’ve joined thousands of others with widely varying motivations in taking this course.  (I hear these diverse purposes in the course’s on-line discussions and forums.)

            Wright uses the course to argue a…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 6th mo. 26, 2014 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Why Am I a Friend and What’s It To You?

I became a Quaker in the mid-1970s, joining Germantown Friends Meeting. Hardly a week has gone by since that I haven’t wondered why I was a Friend. I wonder what that means to me, and I wonder how that may (or may not) come across to others.

It’s odd being a Quaker; people view you as odd if you are one. For myself, I’ve never particularly wanted either the weirdness that some attach to Quakers nor the honorific that others attach. For more than a decade before joining I struggled…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 6th mo. 4, 2014 at 11:00am — 6 Comments

Who Speaks for Peace on Memorial Day?

For a Quaker, what’s the right approach to Memorial Day? Is it a day to celebrate? A day to witness against? A day not even to notice?  Every Memorial Day, from morning to evening, I wonder about this.

 Here in Topsham/Brunswick, Maine we have an iconic Memorial Day celebration. There’s a ceremony in Topsham at the town hall/fire station to mark the occasion, then a very locally-flavored parade that marches down Main Street (Topsham), crosses the Androscoggin River, then continues…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 5th mo. 26, 2014 at 8:30pm — 3 Comments

Christmas Story V: Afterthoughts

This is the sixth and last of a series of posts on the Christmas story in the gospels. The first one concerned Matthew’s account, the second concerned Mark’s account, the…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 28, 2013 at 12:18pm — No Comments

Christmas Story IV: John’s Version

This is the fifth of a series of posts on the Christmas story in the gospels. The first one concerned Matthew’s account, the second concerned Mark’s account, and the…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 25, 2013 at 12:35pm — 3 Comments

Christmas Story III: Luke’s Version (part two)

 This is the fourth of a series of posts on the Christmas story in the gospels. The first one concerned Matthew’s account, and the second concerned Mark’s account.  I’m dividing consideration of the story in Luke into two parts. The first is…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 16, 2013 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Christmas Story III: Luke's Version (part one)

This is the third of a series of posts on the Christmas story in the gospels. The first one concerned Matthew’s account, and the second concerned Mark’s account.  I'll divide consideration of the story in Luke into two parts.

The gospel of Luke is our other nativity story. Or rather it is what…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 14, 2013 at 11:08am — 3 Comments

Christmas Story II: Mark's Version

This is the second of a series of posts on the Christmas story in the gospels. The first one concerned Matthew’s account.

If we mean by the Christmas story the story of Jesus’s miraculous birth to Mary, then there is no Christmas story in Mark. This gospel begins when Jesus is a grown man.

But suppose we take the Christmas story to be the story of Jesus’s beginnings. Though Quakers…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 11, 2013 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

Christmas Story I: Matthew's Version

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house. We’ve acquired a tree, but it’s still in the garage waiting our unearthing the stand. A smaller artificial tree is up and now has lights, and there is candle lights in each of the front windows. Ribbons are beginning to festoon light fixtures. And we’ve made our first two batches of Christmas cookies. Much more to come in preparing the house for the season, but we’re well begun.

To prepare my heart for the season, I’ve been…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 12th mo. 9, 2013 at 10:37am — 4 Comments

A Quakerish Pope?

October 7, 2013

A Quakerish Pope?  Or merely a very spiritually attuned one?Pope Francis

Worth reading is a recent interview with Pope Francis conducted by Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica.  Scalfari, an atheist, had written to request an interview, and was floored…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 10th mo. 7, 2013 at 11:30am — 4 Comments

Characteristics of Quakers

Quakers are charming and lovable. They are hardy and thrive even in the coldest climates. In personality, they are generally intelligent, comical and engaging.

 They are also fearless.

 Most are very vocal, a few even can be said to be noisy. 

 All this I learned at the Quaker Information Center, “a MUST place for Quaker information."

 But why are they called Quakers? This I could not learn. …

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Added by Doug Bennett on 8th mo. 3, 2013 at 8:30am — 8 Comments

The Fraud of "Biblical Marriage"

August 1, 2013

Quick, name a happily married couple in the New Testament. Let’s make it easier: how about just naming any married couple in the New Testament?

While you are compiling your list, let me say a few words about why this question matters. 

In these weeks after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared unconstitutional (or at least the major parts of it), we are hearing frequent appeals to uphold ‘Biblical marriage’ from those who believe that marriage is…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 8th mo. 1, 2013 at 11:12am — 23 Comments

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