Hi William, I became interested in George Fox as a younger Christian, and William Penn also. I was impressed by them and the early Quakers commitment and laying down of their lives in England to go all out to spread the message of Jesus.
And I lived in a town called Horsham where George Fox was imprisoned just a hundred yards from where I was living. But my interest in them and also the early Puritans got awakened when the Lord led me out to commit myself to pray and repent each night in the hills where I lived. I was led by the Holy Spirit each night.
I would love the Quaker and Puritan movements to return to the place where they were at all of those years ago.
I joined QQ several years ago. The thing is, I took time away. Thought I was going to be Anabaptist and started attending the Church of God in Christ, Mennonites in Livingston, CA. The only problem is, I don't drive and my husband doesn't want to go 66 miles one way to church even once a month..I would be there all the time, if I could. But cannot be and the Doctrine classes are hard to fit in when people can only come here every so often..nothing regular and so I set it aside. It hurts me very much to do so,too. I have come back to be a Quaker as that is what I was before attempting to be a Mennonite. I live "out of the world" now even more so than before. It is kind of a lonely existence on my narrow way.
I am 64, married to Mark for 25 yrs. We have one daughter 18 who is starting college. And four dogs. One is my Diabetic Alert Dog, Regis. The other 3 are Jack Russell Terriers.
Yes I have met some of the OGB people from Modesto. They are lovely folks.
I never met your famous horse or visited a farm here. I live in the woods in Central Stockton next to the original Stockton Country Club. Near Smith Canal and on a quiet circle where mostly older folks are. We are in a gated community.
My father was Robert Elmer Hartley. Everett was his oldest brother. Everett's son was Harvey. Harvey died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, March 30, 1963, while serving in the Peace Corps. His only sibling is Dorothy Pearle Hartley Burlingame (on Facebook). Harvey was about 9 years older than me.
Hi! Thank you for the welcome! I am a birthright Quaker but strayed as a young man, probably because of my age and some of the new age influences of my parents generation. I am searching to be better, but more feel a drive to become more active, rather than passive believer. I am seeking an outlet, perhaps through some sort of developing world "missionary" works.
Good morning, Bill. I am happy to report that the missing Benson passage in which differing approaches of Fox and Barclay are contrasted is to be found in "What did George Fox Teach About Christ?" on pages 10 and 11. Thanks to Ellis Hein for locating it.
Bill, you did, in fact, state the gist of Benson's thought on this when you wrote: "Fox's emphasis was on the dialogical I-Thou relationship between Christ and His people, highlighting the prophetic focus of Fox and the early Friends." I don't agree with you though that "theological system rather than dialogue becomes for Barclay the key to religious knowing." It's not too fine a parsing, I think, to say that while Barclay delineated Quaker belief in a systematic way, he did not locate Truth within that intellectual formulation; he points beyond reason to revelation: "the testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can be only revealed" (The Second Proposition). I remain convinced that the difference between Fox and Barclay is one of intent (to preach or to inform) , not one of theology.
The entire passage of Benson's writing is worth sharing, but there's not enough space here to do that. Here are the last few paragraphs:
One important difference between Fox's language and the language of the Quaker apologists is that Fox frequently uses the words "speak", "voice", and "obey" in connection with the Light. He says "Hear the Light" at least 46 times. He speaks of "Hearing the Voice of the Light",15 and he says, "This Light ... speaks to you"16.
"Hear his Voice who is risen from the dead"i 7; "Since he is risen and ascended, they must have their spiritual ear to hear the spiritual voice of Christ."18 Fox is calling men to listen to the Voice of the risen Christ who is alive and present in the midst of his people. But this kind of language gradually fades away and is rarely found in later Quaker writings.
The encounter with Christ, the Light, is an encounter with a personal sovereign will that is distinct from our own will. The Light reproves and condemns and calls to repentance. It is experienced as a voice of command that must be heard and obeyed. This is what gave moral certainty and moral strength to the early Quaker community. (Italics are Benson's.)
Hi Bill. Your comment showed up on my email, and so I've taken the liberty of re-producing it below. Thank you for it! It clears up some puzzlement and I want to respond further but first must attend to some other work. This posting is just to let you know that your comment made it through!
Hello, Patricia! I wish I could give a good reference for Benson's thesis that Fox, rather than Barclay, needs to be the key to understanding early Quakerism. I remember the details, but not the reference!
Current scholars make a clear distinction between the first and second generations of early Quaker leadership, and they locate Fox (correctly) in the first generation and Barclay (correctly) in the second generation.
Fox's emphasis was on the dialogical I-Thou relationship between Christ and His people, highlighting the prophetic focus of Fox and the early Friends.
Barclay, on the other hand, was a product of a rigorous Catholic theological/philosophical education, and recast Quaker faith and practice in a propositional framework. Theological system rather than dialogue becomes for Barclay the key to religious knowing.
This is not to claim that Barclay misrepresented the details of Quaker faith, but rather that his emphasis on system and philosophical propositions violated the ethos of the first Friends.
To repeat myself, as I understand current scholarship, it agrees with Benson's clear distinction between first and second generations in their religious outlook.
I wish you could help me to track down Benson's writing on this topic.
I do not swallow Lewis Benson hook, line and sinker, but I continue to be moved by the profundity of his insights on early Quakerism. The cogency of Lewis' approach is so compelling that it forces me into the Benson camp!
Good morning, Bill. Do you know off-hand where Benson's evaluation of Barclay can be found? I recall reading something about it but can't remember where. Thanks. I'm somewhat uneasy about a theological distance between Fox and Barclay that has been showing up recently in comments. Each man had a distinct aim, style, and vocabulary, but that doesn't put them at odds in their theological understanding. I don't see what the basis is for putting theological distance between them. The criticism that he doesn't tie in to other Christian doctrines thereby minimizing Quaker similarities with other Christians doesn't seem to me like a valid issue. Early Quakers saw themselves not as reformers but as revolutionaries, starting from a different root from the apostatic forms of faith they saw around them. Their purpose was to distinguish, put forth, and defend their understanding, not correlate it to others' error.
Keith, I became interested in the Wilkinson-Story controversy a while back. The best coverage I found was in The second period of Quakerism by William C. Braithwaite. It's also touched on in The Light in Their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain, 1646-1666 by Rosemary Moore. If William finds more, that would be great.
Thank you William. There is no hurry on a response. The ewes will be giving birth soon here too on the southern Oregon coast. However, it will not be as cold. Stay warm and cozy and my prayers are with you and your flock. Your temperatures remind me of the winters I spent in small cabin just across the Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace, Michigan.
Hello William, Are you familiar with any extensive research on the Wilkinson-Story breach with Fox? I've been studying Roger Williams and keep coming up against Williams' agreement with Wilkinson and Story against Fox and the establishment of centralized governance in the Quaker body. However, the references I have found are too spartan in content and I seek a deeper understanding of the division and ultimate succession Wilkinson and Story from the early Quaker gathering.
Dear William, I couldn't help but wonder about your wife's cancer. I hope you don't mind my bringing it up again. May I ask what type of cancer she had William? Please say if you don't want to speak of it any more. She's gone ahead of us and I personally believe the timing is out of our hands. We care for our physical body as best we can and add quality to our lives to reach our end day on time but not early. I suspect you had a good few years with her and what a blessing that is nowadays in this crazy mixed up world we inhabit.
You say you are a survivor of the same. Did you have it at the same time? Did you trace it back to a mutual time? I ask only because it looks like Brian's started after a shocking and unexpected event. And I wonder if it's similar to the factual illness called Broken Heart Syndrome where a person develops an irregularity deep within the heart after great sadness? By the time we discovered Bri had it, the shock in our life had melded away but we faced a life that was forever changed. A new type of normal, if you like. The crisis was long gone. Did you experience anything like that? When I was 29 I also had cancer. I found out about it in stage 4 , the last stage. I too had had a life changing shock 4 years before. Something that really shook the foundation of my being. After surgery I just forgot about it. I just knew it wouldn't return. That was 28 years ago now.
Can you tell me how you have managed this crisis and risen above it? It seems you are very outward looking. Did that come from a time of introspection? Can you tell me the secret of how you have survived such a difficult time? What spiritual practices helped most? I've read Job. I figured that maybe I could learn from his experience. But it didn't help. It didn't make real sense to me. Can too I suggest what might help. My family were non believers and all passed on. Community doesn't exist due to being like gypsies until we can settle. Maybe you can suggest something? I will visit the local Quakers who have contacted. They are a very small group. Thanks again. And I pray for you still.
The prayer means so much to us. I was just praying for you a couple of hours ago. We're currently in Clacton-On -Sea, Essex. It is about 1&1/2 hrs train from London on the east coast. The home we're selling is a good 4 he drive north and east on the border with Wales. By the way, we lived in Texas awhile. About 20 years ago.
It's a real pleasure to have met you William F. Rushby :) & God Bless You and yours, AMANDA Q. KITTERIDGE-STOTE :)
How thoughtful of you to take an interest in my longing for a plain community. Sometimes I have to accept some things are not to be. My deep longing and prayers for such remain though. For now I will live the philosophy expressed in the scriptures of "being content wherever I find myself". I didn't mention before that my husband needs constant monitoring following renal cancer with a not so good prognosis. He has been and still is my main carer as I need frequent rest. We had to leave our home, put it up for sale, travel south to access a skilled renal oncologist 13 months ago. We were told our home would sell within 3 months. We've reduced the price way below its value & it's a puzzle to even our long suffering real estate agents as to why it doesn't even get viewed. And so we rent short term and move too frequently and life is tight. There is a message in this story and as we have no permanency at a time when we most desire a sense of security and community, I can only surmise that I must learn to "Be content in whatever situation I find myself". Please forgive me if this isn't the place to say so much. Anyone who is moved to pray for our home to sell and permanent housing and Brian's continued remission, please do so fervently. The house we need sold is called THE OLD SURGERY. We've sent and hand delivered a letter explaining our need for a home we could rent first and then buy on the sale of our home to about seven churches. One kindly responded and have included our need in their pew notices. I must admit I was beginning to feel invisible even to my Christian family and dare I admit, invisible to my Heavenly Father for the first time in my 57 years. If anyone else has had an extended Job-like experience, would they reply with their testimony please? Ours commenced four years ago when out of the blue my strong, healthy, loving husband was told he had renal cancer, we then in the space of nine months lost our two poodles to a rare cancer. We had been settled, happy, secure in our future. We were in Australia. We moved back to the UK from S. Australia's 8 year drought, during Brian's first remission, because we thought the hot climate was exacerbating my pain and depleting my energy. Since that decision it feels like we've been picked up in a storm and dropped into a friendless detritus leftover from the deluge. Did I pray and listen to His plan for us before leaving Australia? No, not really. We thought from a human stand point it was a no- brained. We prayed for help toward OUR decision. We were wrong. And so, we have the choice to be content. Or be desolate. Your love and prayers would lift us so much as our Father works out His perfect solution. After all, in the spirit of plain-ness we learn contentment. May He bless and keep you safe. Pray and listen Friends! You are our encouragement by simply being. Thank you for your time and space to share. And we'd love to hear more from wise William :) Bless you.
Thanks, William. I am an Episcopalian, but I have also had experiences with the Community of Christ (Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in childhood, Roman Catholicism, and Unitarian Universalism. I became interested in the Quakers maybe 20 years ago, but never formalized any relationship. There was no meeting near. I was a longtime participant in the Wider Quaker Fellowship of the FGC. It seems that in my recent search for deeper spirituality, I have rediscovered the Quakers. I am taking another look to see where it leads me.