Archive for the ‘Quaker’ Tag

Making Up for Lost Time

What an absence. It seems as though all parts of life converged onto last week, and the 24 hours in a day seemed to become more like 20. So, in an effort to make up for lost time, I am packing into this post all of the things that have teased me the past week – those things I wish I could have spent more time with:

– It appears that Quakers still have the ability to rock the boat, and convey truth while doing so. First, she was fired for being a Quaker. Then, she was re-hired for being a Quaker!

Foy Vance rocks. Check out this song, then buy his album:

Rue Royale is also worth your time and both your ears.

– I was a member of the GC4JC relay team that took first place last weekend in the BAC 30k challenge. Believe me when I tell you it was the other two who made a win possible…believe me.

– If you haven’t yet, you must watch Into the Wild. Amazingly beautiful and disturbing.

– Finally, Alaska Airlines did a fine job bringing me and my family to Oregon, where we will be for the next week or so. Man, I miss this place.

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Quaker Conspirators?

Through a prolonged stint of blog-hopping at the end of last week, I happened upon the New Conspirators Festival hosted by Tom and Christine Sine this past weekend. It was a gathering of folks doing new types of ministry underneath the emerging umbrella – or as the blog promoted, it was a gathering to “spend time with those on the innovative edge who are creating new forms of life, church, mission and celebration.”

As I perused through, I recognized some names of a few presenters, until I came across the name Bruce Bishop. I was so excited to see his name there, connected with the title, “Holy Loitering: Rediscovering Spirituality for New Expressions and Traditional Communities.” Bruce is a longtime friend who I deeply respect, both for his friendship and his ability to plumb the depths of human life in order to look for the work of the Spirit.

What was even more exciting, though, was a Quaker presenting at the conference!

As a few other Quakers have noted (Wess, Robin, and AJ are some of them) the emergent movement and the Quaker church have much to teach each other, and much that is in common. I hope Bruce’s participation in the festival continues the conversation that has been begun already with the Quaker church.

More Pacifism

Cherice has continued the conversation of pacifism and its merits, and has the context of wrestling with the issue as part of a class in which she may be the lone pacifist amidst a group of just war theorists. I found the essay intriguing, but also enjoyed the comments that have followed, including the comment from the originator of the comments to which Cherice is responding.

It is interesting to note that, as my experience and Cherice’s tend to convey, that the majority of students attending seminary are strong, if not vehement, just war theorists. I am not sure that this bodes well for the church! Cherice’s interlocutor is quick to point out the main source of his just war theory is a reformed Mennonite, as if that provides the necessary validation for the topic. What of the many, as I have even learned this past week, who have converted to pacifism? Do their voices not carry at least equal weight in the conversation?

It is, to be sure, an age old conversation, and one I am glad folks are still pursuing. May it continue!

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Quaker Sacraments

It seems as though a general theme is occurring in the lives of a few Quaker folk. After reading Gregg Koskella’s blog this morning about the theme of his sermon this week, and this blog about new definitions of “church,” I thought I would share a bit of my own sacramental adventures in a non-Quaker church. Erin and I have been living in the Boston area for nearly 7 years now, and for the past 3 years we have been regularly attending a Christ-centered Episcopal church. I grew up Quaker, Erin Episcopalian… Continue reading