Meme Book Tag

My friend, fellow Quaker and blogger, Michael Chapman tagged me on a rather fun meme. The rules are as follows:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
2. Find page 123
3. Find the first 5 sentences
4. Post the next 3 sentences
5. Tag 5 people

So, here it is, and it comes from John Caputo’s What Would Jesus Deconstruct?:

“The world is mad with cruelty, and yet the news from Bangladesh this morning is accompanied by the beauty of an azalea in full bloom outside the rectory (Diary, 73). Unrelieved suffering in the neighborhood, but at this very moment, down at ‘the shore,’ the Atlantic coast an hour or so drive away, the seagulls swing gracefully overhead, the sun rises over the ocean on a brilliant morning. We must believe and we cannot believe that love holds everything in the palm of its hands.”

I tag my new friends:

1. Rich Accetta-Evans

2. John Kindley

3. Zach Alexander

4. Johanpdx

5. AJ Scwhanz

A Response to Pacifism Comments

My most recent post has drawn a lot of interest, lengthy comments, and thoughtful interaction with the issue of pacifism. It has been a delight to read your thoughts and to continue to wrestle with the issue. I did want to provide some feedback to a few of the comments, which is what follows (my comments are in bold):

Rich Accetta-Evans wrote:

Even before that, when military service was not an issue but violence was, Fox had chosen to respond to violent abuse with what we would call non-violence. I don’t have the exact quotation handy, but I recall one occasion on which he was being man-handled and turned to offer himself as a target for more blows, saying “here’s Gospel for you”, a reference to Christ’s teaching about answering evil with good.

I really like this quote, Rich. It has been fun to imagine Fox uttering this line in the face of oppression for his beliefs, and I can clearly see the conviction with which he would have uttered the line. I can clearly see how Fox used love for Christ and love for others to infiltrate everything he did and said, one of the reasons I look to him as a spiritual hero.

Will T

It is not surprising that this was a process the early Friends were making it all up as they went along. It took a while to work out all of the implications of Quakerism for daily life and it was mostly a process of seeing what God required at any given moment.

Will T, my main issue with this is that it makes the earliest forms of Quaker belief/action as reactionary and not as a life lived with firm conviction based on what the Holy Spirit was doing in their midst as individuals but also as a community gathered in Christ.

Thy Friend John

God forbid that the Quakers should make a doctrine out of pacifism! But I believe that the living Christ made a doctrine out of pacifism, and gave it to us Quakers.

Thy Friend John, this is exactly why I wrote the post originally. Doctrinal positions have historically been avoided among Quakers, and yet you insinuate it was preposterous for me make such a comment. In the same way, it seems to me the closest Christ ever came to creating “doctrine” was in the Sermon on the Mount.

kevin roberts

Does it matter whether an issue like this conforms to a modern political orthodoxy?

Kevin, thanks for your comment. I guess for me it matters because there is correlation between someone’ s faith values and the expression of those in the public sphere. So a pacifist belief, while it should not conform to modern political orthodoxy, still highly influences modern political “praxis,” at least among fellow Quakers.

Thank you all, for the time you have spent in your lives considering this issue, and your desire to share it with others. May the Lord continue to bring you peace and the rest of the world peace.

Is Pacifism a Quaker belief?

The Jerusalem and Athens Forum at Gordon College is holding a debate this year on just war theory. Since I am a Quaker (an anomaly here) I have been sought out by one student who was assigned the con side of the argument. Admittedly, I have not yet come to a solid stance on pacifism, and for a while was a bit ashamed to profess that, in fear it made me less Quaker! So, in order to have an educated conversation with this student, I have been reading up a bit from Quaker history on the subject. Read more »

Willard, part 1

This afternoon was the first of two speaking sessions Dallas is participating in this week. The first talk was a “fireside” chat with Dr. Stan Gaede, in which Stan asked questions about the current state of evangelicalism. The talk was very interesting, and I think one of the most intriguing parts of the conversation came when Stan asked Dallas about the emerging church movement. Dallas initially answered that the term “emergent” is a misnomer because the church already emerged 2000 years ago. Though the quip was humorous, and seemed to resonate with quite a few folks in the audience, I don’t think Dallas meant to disparage the movement. But, he did offer words of wisdom in regards to the new movement that I think are worth sharing. Read more »

Dallas Willard comes to Gordon

Dallas is coming to Gordon this week. I am stoked. I value the work Willard is doing on spiritual formation and think it is very insightful and a bit abrasive. He has essentially moved away from a Freudian understanding of id, ego, and superego, and in its place provided a more integrative and holistic approach to understanding the essence of a person (adapted from Husserl).  Read more »

Church and Pomo Conversation

There is a new series on postmodernity and the church, edited by Jamie Smith of Calvin College. The first installment of several is Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernity? And just a few weeks ago, John Caputo provided the second offering, What Would Jesus Deconstruct? As a supplement, there is also a blog – or slog as these guys call it – that provides supplemental conversation.

I bring this up here because what Smith et al are doing is very insightful, thought-provoking, and it seems to be fairly orthodox!! Read more »

Dancing Together

I just finished It’s a Dance by Patrick Oden yesterday, and loved it. Oden uses narrative theology to begin a conversation on the emerging church’s view of the Holy Spirit. It is fresh in its approach, deep in its theology, and very readable.

The book builds nicely from chapter to chapter, and as someone interested in Church history, I love how it ends with a section from Tertullian’s writings. Doing so provides a link from the early church to the new(ish) emerging movement. Read more »

Quaker Politics

Our youngest is home from church today with a cold, so I stayed with him. Thirsting for some teaching, I connected with Newberg Friends Church’s podcast of last week’s sermon, “Are we really going to talk about communion?” As I listened to Gregg preach, I wandered on over to his blog to read up on his most recent posting (is this an acceptable form of multi-tasking???). It was there I found his most recent post on his presidential choice. This followed what I found on another Quaker blog last week in support of the same presidential candidate. Read more »

Myth or Fact?

I had the pleasure recently of reviewing Greg Boyd’s Myth of a Christian Nation at Barclay Press (read it here). The book is, in my opinion, a much needed read as elections are fast approaching – though it has not been received well by many (read here).  Whether or not you agree with his basic argument, you can join me and others in a discussion with Greg Boyd at Barclay Press. Please consider reading the book and joining us!

Mentoring

Sometimes there are certain themes in life with which we are continually pounded. I often try to dwell on those poundings, though they are sometimes painful, because I am certain they appear as nudges from the Spirit. The theme for me recently: mentoring. Working at a college in different capacities has found me often in mentoring relationships – mentoring students and being mentored by faculty/administrators. While I always look forward to being mentored, because I love soaking up wisdom from those who have gone before, I too often struggle to know where to go when mentoring others. But this past week Erin really challenged my insecurities, and a good friend told me to trust that the Lord is using me, even when it feels like that is not the case. And so today I met with a student whom I mentor, and then met with my mentor. What great experiences these both were, though completely different in what they entailed. I am thankful for what the Lord is doing in my life, though it is not easy! I am convinced, though, that part of living in Christian community is being in these types of relationships where you are pressed to be transparent, honest, and to dwell with one another in the “space between.”