Archive for the 'Early Friends' Category

The post-religious destiny of Quakerism

[The following grew out of a reply to Bill and Richard’s comments on the last big post.]
It’s certainly true that early Friends were Christian – very much so. There’s plenty evidence of that.
But it’s a profound mistake to see these outward beliefs – and if you’ve read much of early Friends, you know the […]

The signatures of early Friends

Recently I came upon number of reproductions of early Friends’ signatures, which I uploaded to Quakerpedia yesterday.
Earlier this month Seth of Ohio YM uploaded two signatures of later Friends (including John Wilbur’s), and it struck me that seeing someone’s signature often gives you a tiny visual hint at their personality — which is especially […]

On birthright membership

Briefly: Jez has a post about convinced vs. “birthright” membership — the latter concept being one of my pet peeves about Quaker culture (as I commented there).

Simplicity, beauty + testimony

I haven’t blogged here for awhile, in one way or another mostly due to having attended the recent Young Adult Friends gathering in Burlington, New Jersey (photos | my photos). Met a lot of good people there. Hope to blog about it soon.
Right now though I want to highlight a post by Micah (who I […]

The place of the past in the Quaker present

(or, Remembering Tomorrow’s Retro Quaker Future…)
I recently joined and introduced myself on the Nontheist Friends email list, and there’s been some interesting discussion on early Friends and the “Conservative leaning liberal” movement that is a major feature of the Quaker blogosphere.
I’m going to post two messages of mine from the discusison (lightly edited).
First, a response […]

‘These things are a good smell’

I just came across a pretty amusing (not to mention a little scary) passage in a letter to Margaret Fell from Francis Howgill (an important early Quaker minister), in an article I and some other Friends in the Boston area may read together soon for our fledgling early Quaker reading group.
Describing a recent convert […]

As one passing out of the body: Introduction to Richard Hubberthorne

As explained in “The scandal of early Quaker studies”, I want to start putting some of the out-of-print writings of the earliest Quakers online. I’m starting with a Friend named Richard Hubberthorne (1628-1662).
I am drawn to Hubberthorne in particular because he was an average, ordinary member of a remarkable group. One historian includes him […]

The scandal of early Quaker studies

Ever since I started reading the early Quakers two years ago, I’ve been scandalized by how little of what the earliest Friends wrote is available today, with the exception of George Fox.
Imagine if the Catholic Church allowed most of the New Testament to go out of print, aside from (say) Paul’s writings, and you had […]

Recovering the old Quaker fire without burning anybody

He would be the lunatic of one idea
in a world of ideas, who would have all the people
live, work, suffer and die in that idea
in a world of ideas. (Wallace Stevens)

A few posts ago, where I said I would like to see brought back the fire and energy of the earliest generation of Quakers in […]

God-denying vegetables + weekend preview

In case you didn’t see it, a recent post by my new favorite Quaker blogger Richard M called “Of Athiests and Onions” is very interesting. In a nutshell, he explains how, from a theistic perspective, many Friends who describe themselves as nontheist may in fact be “theistic” in some deeper sense. I’ll save my comments […]

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  • It seems to me to be a major issue for the Society of Friends today whether on the whole its emphasis is to be, once more, as in the beginning, for this type of open, expectant religion, or whether it is to seek for comfortable formulations that seem to ensure its safety, and that will be hostages against new and dangerous enterprises in the realm of truth.

    Rufus Jones, Rethinking Quaker Principles p. 12

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