Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
June 22-24 the Quaker Theological Discussion Group will meet at Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio celebrating 50 years of QTDG and its journal, Quaker Religious Thought. The first meeting of QTDG was actually in 1957, but the first issue of the journal was published in 1959. The vision of the founding organizers was to create a venue where serious theological dialogue could happen among Friends about important subjects of the day.
While anniversaries normally focus on the past, the leading topic of this year’s meeting is “The Future of Quakerism.” Papers will be delivered on what God is doing among Friends worldwide, as well as anticipating what God might be doing among and through Friends in the future. All are welcome to join in on the discussion!
Other topics to be addressed include “A Quaker Apology for the 21st Century,” an ethics discussion on “Levinas and Quakerism,” a session on “Convergent Friends,” and another topic or two. Barnesville offers a historic setting that is dear to the memory of early participants in QTDG, as several of its meetings during its first two decades were held there. In recent years residential meetings have been held at George Fox University (1990, 1996, 2004), and since 1998 annual meetings have been held in different sites around the nation, in conjunction with the professional Bible and religion meetings (AAR/SBL).
Also featured at the meetings will be the contents of QRT #111, which develops the theme, “The Rise and Progress of Recent issues of QRT and QTDG.” Articles on the developing story by Wilmer Cooper (the first clerk of QTDG), Doug Gwyn, Kate Newlin, Hugh Barbour and myself are then followed by essays highlighting the most memorable features of QRT by the editors and others on their behalf: Ruth Pitman, T. Canby Jones, Christine Downing, Vail Palmer, Arthur Roberts and myself. The issue concludes with a tribute to Wil Cooper, who did so much to engender dialogue between various groups of Friends; like former QRT editors Calvin Keene and Dean Freiday, he will be deeply missed!
(Paul Anderson is Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University. Author of over 160 published essays and several books, he has served as editor of QRT since 2000 and is organizing the Barnesville QRTG meetings. Subscriptions and back issues of QRT can be ordered from Phil Smith at George Fox University, firstname.lastname@example.org, and registration information about the conference can be found on the website at: http://theo-discuss.quaker.org/.)