Category Archives: Quaker Theology

Thoughts on the Quaker “Testimony of Equality”

Thoughts on the Quaker “Testimony of Equality”

At first I was pleased when told that Quakers had a Testimony on Equality. That idea yielded a substantial chunk of the pride in being a Quaker that I wore, with appropriate humility.

But then I made a big mistake: I read some Quaker history. Even more grave, it began to sink in. And a few aspects of what it taught seem worth mentioning here, as they bear on topics like the role of Quakers in the world.

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Getting Progressive With Sojourner Truth & Friends

The Progressive Friends were a group that hasn’t yet got their props from Quaker historians. There isn’t space here for an outline of their fascinating history, except to say you can find out more here and here.

Pennsylvaia Progressive Friends Minute Book

But in sum, they started as liberal rebels in mid-1800s America, who took on a hidebound Hicksite Establishment. And they ended, invisibly but unmistakably, as the seedbed and founders of modern US liberal Quakerism. The fact that almost nobody knows this is a shame, but no surprise given the general ignorance of Quaker history among Quakers. (I’ll rant about that some other time.)

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Back To Class: Friends, “Our” Schools, And The Shock of Recognition

Friends seminary, Manhattan New York
Friends Seminary, New York City

Settle in, guys and gals; this one is lengthy. But worth it. (It should be especially useful for recovering from an overdose of Supreme Court hearings.)

In a couple of earlier posts– here and also here — many months ago, I mentioned discussions of class as a factor that complicated self-understanding and community-building among Friends today, and promised to return to them at some point.

This is one of those points, precipitated by another New York Times report back  in 2011, describing tensions between some Friends in New York City and an expensive private school, Friends Seminary, which adjoins and shares facilities with the Fifteenth Street Meeting in Manhattan. It seems there are New York Friends who say that ties with the school should be cut. This saga is part of the background to the current issue at the school over the firing of its only remaining Quaker teacher. Continue reading Back To Class: Friends, “Our” Schools, And The Shock of Recognition

Rant: Complaining About Fancy-Schmancy Quaker Schools

So here it comes again: on another list, a complaint about expensive Quaker schools. Are they really “Quaker”? Don’t they sow division in meetings? Don’t they perpetuate all kinds of bad class stuff??

For the record, I never worked at one of the fancy Quaker schools; but I was briefly on the “faculty” of the fledgling (and now gone) Friends World College some 45 years ago, where I earned room, board and all the luxury a couple hundred bucks a month could buy.

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The Shame of Kenya: Epistles of Hate

Below is the complete text of two epistles issued by East Africa Yearly Meeting — North.

I note that the 2007 Epistle comments on the statements at the FUM General Board session in Kenya, as well as responding to some reaction to them from a Yearly Meeting in North America.

From this 2007 Epistle, it appears to me that it would be a mistake to consider this matter in any way “resolved.”

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