Johan Maurer: Who Owns the Quaker Brand?

Johan Maurer: Who Owns the Quaker Brand?. In Britain, many Friends describe themselves as non-Christian or post-Christian, and the yearly meeting as a whole requires no explicit Christian commitment for membership. "In fact, you don't actually have to believe in God to be a Quaker." On the other hand, most members of the worldwide Quaker family would not recognize themselves in a British description of Friends. For us, a Christian commitment is absolutely central to Quaker identity; in fact, to many of us, the word "Quaker" simply stands for a set of teachings, practices, and historical experiences of Christian discipleship.

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Comment by James C Schultz on 7th mo. 19, 2010 at 6:01pm
As a christian who has journeyed through the Catholic charismatic, non-denominations pentacostal and evangelical churches I appreciate the Quaker's willingness to allow seekers to uncover their own pearls of great price. What I don't appreciate is their lack of seekers.
Comment by DianeReynolds on 7th mo. 19, 2010 at 11:06pm
Dear Johann,

Thank you for this post, which resonates deeply with me--or should I say, speaks my mind.

Comment by Tom Smith on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 2:40pm
I have written before about my "universalism" and my own definition, which I believe reflects early(?) Friends beliefs, of Christ as one that speaks to everyone's condition, but obviously can be and is ignored, rejected, etc. by many regardless of their "religion." I am "afraid" that in my own experience I have met many "Christian Quakers" who do not seem to have understood the voice that speaks through earthquake, fire, thunder, etc. I have also met many non-Christians who appear to have heard and follow that voice.

I don't think in terms of "All religions are the Same" but rather that members of "almost any" religion can be following the Same "Light." I say "almost any" because I am unclear as to how far the definition of "religion" can be taken. I firmly believe that there are some "religions," "cults," "denominations," (dare I say even some individuals who might call themselves "Christian Quakers") etc. that are following a path that is not consistent with and is opposed to the way/truth/life of the Love and Spirit of Christ. I have enormous respect and affinity for many Christian Quakers (I even consider myself among them), but I believe if we are to speak the Truth we need to be careful in our uses of definitions and descriptions.

I am feeling more and more reluctance to write since words do seem to be much too restrictive unless one can possibly write a long discourse, book, pamphlet which would then still be incomplete.
Comment by Justin Meggitt on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 6:01pm
Wonderful post. I was particularly taken by your description of the the origins of Quakerism as an 'intensification of--not a relativization of--Christianity'.
Comment by DianeReynolds on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 10:01pm

I also have met non-Christians who appear to have heard and followed the Light. I also feel the frustration of trying to speak through words.
Comment by Forrest Curo on 7th mo. 21, 2010 at 8:08am
... And whether one writes (or talks) much or little, someone will undoubtedly manage to misunderstand. That said, it seems to be worth the effort. Jesus evidently thought so, and despite rampant misunderstandings seems to have had more benign influence than otherwise... Besides, while I'm writing I imagine that I'm thereby coming to understand things better! I just have to heed those occasions when I notice myself having left my guide laughing behind me.
Comment by Tom Smith on 7th mo. 21, 2010 at 8:22am
I have found it interesting that it is recorded, I believe, that Jesus wrote only once and that in the sand. Is it enough to "Let your life speak" and leave it up to others to interpret?
Comment by Paul Ricketts on 7th mo. 25, 2010 at 8:37pm
As I have shared before online I do not consider myself a Christian Quaker because I think the term redundant. After much spiritual discernment and back and forth. I am simply a Quaker! Christianity is our religious heritage and I am not willing to relinquish it to those who would use it as a bludgeon. I do not know of any branch of Quakerism that has publicly cut its ties from our roots. Who can honesty say that Jesus has left the Meetinghouse or Meeting room? Yes, some of us are very close to our Christian heritage-tradition and others for whatever reason are not. In the spirit of Jesus we say as a faith community, there's room at God's table for all. Whether one understands this as divine love, fellowship, affection, or the Spirit of Christ, it is still love. We are, however, bound loosely,gives us freedom to develop as individuals and to change shape as we grow in grace, service,and wisdom. If we were bound tightly, as in many fundamentalist groups, our corporate shape would be fixed, and we would lack the freedom to grow into the persons we were created to be.
Comment by Javaughn Fernanders on 7th mo. 26, 2010 at 12:15pm
Hey, have you read the posts and discussions on my blog re: liberal Christian Quakers? I love what you have to say. Especially the part about redundancy. thanks Paul.
Comment by Paul Ricketts on 7th mo. 26, 2010 at 11:05pm
Yes! I plan to put this post on your blog Javaughn .
As a Quaker I believe Christ is sovereign no matter what worldview we have, whether we are faithful or not, whether we acknowledge there is anything beyond human experience or not, and whether we work for or against justice. We are Quakers, I believe, when we live and love in the power of that sovereignty. Christ need not be believed in to be joined. Perhaps Christ believes in us far more than many of us believe in him.


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