To be candid, I’m not accustomed to being consulted by Evangelical Friends. I’m not one, and over the past forty years, I’ve often found myself on opposite sides from many vocal or leading Evangelicals. Nevertheless, I’ve learned things from Evangelicals, and on good days, I’m content to let them follow their leadings, while I struggle […]
Daisy Douglas Barr (1875-1938) was a popular preacher in Indiana Yearly Meeting. She served as pastor for at least six different Friends meetings/churches there. She was also a key figure in the statewide women’s counterpart Klan group, and a Vice-Chairmam [sic] of the state Republican party. She read this original poem at the national meeting of Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan, among whom she was the only woman, in Asheville, North Carolina, 1923.
How a woman minister set the course and the content of most US liberal Quaker theology, and why she has not received her proper recognition as a seminal figure in our religious history.
Charting the Course of 20th Century Liberal Quaker Theology. I call this recent period of progressive Quaker history the Age of Amnesia, an unarticulated sense that Quakerism was effectively invented just a few weeks before thee and me started attending meeting.
An Examination of Contemporary Quaker Identity, by Chuck Fager.
Anna Davis Hallowell. Boston Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1884 1860: “[The black abolitionist] Robert Purvis has said that I was “the most belligerent non-resistant he ever saw.” I accept the character he gives me; and I glory in it. I have no idea, because I am a non-resistant, of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on […]
A Quaker Artist Takes on World War One Editor’s Note: Joseph Southall (1861-1944) was a successful British artist, who was at the peak of his renown and productivity when World War One began. A lifelong Quaker pacifist and socialist, he set aside much of his conventional work to make drawings of protest against the […]
Leafleting a Meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marion Anderson By 1970, I had been organizing against the war full-time for five years. First, in Washington where I was an organizer of the televised National Teach-In which was watched by about ten million Americans and then in Michigan as chairman of Michi-gan Clergy and […]
Chuck Fager Christian Peacemakers Kidnapped in Baghdad John Stephens called me with the news: Tom Fox and three other members of the Christian peacemaker Teams’ group (CPT) in Baghdad had been kidnaped. It was just after Thanksgiving, late November, 2005. That summer of 2005 John had been an intern at Quaker House in Fayetteville, […]
1. From James Loney Easter 2006 For 118 days we lay in a tomb – Norman Kember, Harmeet Sooden and me. Tom Fox too, for 104 days, until he was murdered in the early morning hours of March 9. Our tomb was a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room. How I came to hate every single detail of […]
H. Larry Ingle Someone with more insight than I possess once said that history opens up a foreign land, one that moderns cannot know about without an act of will and then only fitfully. This pregnant observation comes into sharp relief when we Quakers consider, as we must, the reaction of our forbears to the […]
The 1995 Roundtable was sponsored by the Pendle Hill Issues Program, for which I was then the coordinator. I asked Chel to prepare an overview of the Quaker Peace Testimony, because I was looking, quite frankly, for “new talent” and new thinking in the field.
Reviewed by Stephen Angell A Review of Marcus Rediker, The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist. Boston: Beacon Press, 2017. $26.95, hardback. Marcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh, has published many excellent volumes with African and Afro-diaspora themes, including The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, […]
Pretending to lay claim to the Pure & Holy Christian Religion; of what Congregation so ever; but especially in their Ministers, by whose example the filthy Leprosy and Apostacy is spread far and near; it is a notorious Sin, which many of the true Friends of Christ, and his pure Truth, called Quakers, has been […]
H. Larry Ingle Lately, I have come to see Whittaker Chambers as one of the most fascinating Quakers in the middle of the 20th century. He was also the member of the American Communist Party for about thirteen years, from 1925 to 1938. He joined the rural Pipe Creek Meeting, a part of the Hicksite […]
Chuck Fager It’s my fate to spend a fair amount of time on the larger Quaker-oriented Facebook groups.That is often a challenging, and even dispiriting experience, especially when talk turns to “what Friends believe,” and how that is evidenced in actual Quaker history. It’s a chore because the level of ignorance and misinformation about Quakerism […]
Isaac May Readers of Friends Journal, the leading periodical of liberal Quakerism, would have been surprised in early 1994 to see a small ad placed in the classifieds section in the back of the magazine. Amidst blurbs for Quaker-related Bed and Breakfasts, a promotion for the environmentalist Friends Committee for Unity with Nature, a job posting […]
Reviewed by Chuck Fager Can this be just a coincidence?ྭThe full-color cover image on Holy Nation is an Edward Hicks “Peaceable Kingdom” painting. It’s the one featuring William Penn in the background, making a peace treaty with the Indians, while to the right the lion, lamb and other animals are gathered placidly along with several children. Here’s […]
The Society of Friends cast themselves as a “holy nation” during this period, drawing on the Jewish tradition of Zion to articulate their relationship with God and to govern their interactions with outsiders. This parallel explained their suffering and gave meaning to their persecution. Friends drew inspiration from the ancient Hebrews who remained faithful and […]
BY HUGH ROC Introduction Douglas Gwyn’s thesis (Gwyn, 1986) that Quaker theology originates in imminent apocalyptic expectation has achieved a degree of influence. In its own right, Gwyn’s work stands as an expression of passionate personal conviction. Gwyn makes an empathetic bridge across the generations to relate his own sense of portentous times in the […]
Reviewed by Chuck Fager “Sometimes I look around and think, Pendle Hill is God’s little joke on the Society of Friends.” – Janet Shepherd, former Dean NOTE: From one perspective, it’s a conflict of interest for me to review this book. After all, I’m described in it, because I was on staff at Pendle Hill […]
Douglas Gwyn In Pendle Hill’s Upmeads library hangs a print of Edward Hicks’ The Peaceable Kingdom. Hicks (1780–1849) was a noted Quaker minister who lived in Newtown, Pennsylvania (about 45 miles northeast of Pendle Hill). He was also a painter at a time when Friends still shunned the arts. His great theme was the prophet […]
Frederick Martin Francis Howgill was one of the “First Publishers of Truth,” the early Quaker traveling ministers, and a leader of the early Quaker movement in the 1650’s and 1660’s. Not as widely known today, in the beginning of the movement he was an effective preacher, a widely-loved elder, and a prolific author. He is […]
Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle The British literary scholar Brycchan Carey avers in the first sentence of his Introduction to From Peace to Freedom, “almost everyone knows that Quakers were at the forefront of campaigns to abolish slavery and the slave trade.” In the small world of scholarship, especially the historical realm, that assessment may be accurate […]
Reviewed by John Kiriako This is an eminently readable first-person account of a daily fight for peace during what is arguably the most militarily active period of the past two generations. First, the reader should know what the book is NOT. It is not anti-military. (In fact, Fager specifies that the message is “YES to […]
Reviewed by Isaac May In his introduction to Remaking Friends, Chuck Fager informs his readers that his book “attempts to answer a question… How did the liberal branch of Quakerism become what it is in the early 21st century?” (p. 3). He takes on this rather considerable task principally by examining an important historical antecedent of modern […]
Reviewed by Stephen W. Angell Angels of Progress: A Documentary History of the Progressive Friends is part of a two-volume set published by Kimo Press. While they are not formally numbered, what I regard as the first volume, Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism & Helped Save America, reviewed elsewhere in this issue by Isaac May, […]
By Chuck Fager FIVE: “Oh! No, It Cannot, Cannot Be – My Darling Babe Will Live . . .” As we turn to spiritualism, it is worth recalling that in one sense, there was not much new about these soon-notorious manifestations. “It would be possible,” wrote Rufus Jones in 1921, “to fill an entire book […]
John Connell Introduction “For this was the error of Pelagius, which we indeed reject and abhor, and which the Fathers deservedly withstood, that man by his natural strength, without the help of God’s grace, could attain to that state so as not to sin.” – Robert Barclay One of the theological distinctions that set the […]
Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle This hefty work serves to introduce Australian Friend Gerard Guiton to the Quaker scholarly world concerned with the origins of the Religious Society of Friends. It is heralded with sparkling back cover endorsements by three distinguished Friends of a programmed orientation, recorded ministers all, Douglas Gwyn, Englishman John Punshon, and […]
Reviewed by Selena Middleton The past year has seen the beginning of what could be a renaissance of Quakerism in the mainstream collective consciousness, from Martin McDonagh’s film Seven Psychopaths in which Christopher Walken plays a serene, yet foul-mouthed Quaker, to two books in which readers are presented with alternatives to the already familiar historical […]
Reviewed by Chuck Fager Want to see all US Quaker history in a single page? With attitude? Here it is. Well, one very large page: thirty by forty inches. It’s actually a chart, meant to hang on your wall, not nestle among the pamphlets on a bookshelf. Friend Kaiser sells these charts for $13 postpaid; […]
Guy Aiken It was Monday, December 19, 1938, a little over a month since the Day of Broken Glass, and three American Quakers were holding impromptu worship in Berlin. They were in the headquarters of the Gestapo, and two Gestapo officers had just left the room to discuss with their superior the Quakers’ proposal to […]
Joshua Brown, pastor of West Richmond Meeting, is also the editor of a new edition of the Autobiography of Allen Jay (1831-1910). Jay, an Indiana Friend, was a successful revivalist during the late nineteenth century, as the Gurneyite branch of Quakerism moved toward the pastoral system. Jay’s success as a revivalist came despite his cleft […]
Chuck Fager [Note: This conversation was conducted at the Friends International Center in Paris, in Twelfth Month (December) 2010.] Chuck Fager[CF]: Jeanne-Henriette [JH], I’m interested in your academic career, but I want to know a little bit about you. You say you are from Bordeaux, where did you grow up? Why did you become […]
Reviewed by Stephen Angell Thomas C. Kennedy is probably the most significant historian of Quakerism writing today that most American Quakers have never heard of. He has recently retired from the history faculty of the University of Arkansas. Most of his research has involved British pacifists. His British Quakerism, 1860-1920: The Transformation of a Religious […]
By Jnana Hodson In early Quaker usage, metaphor engages far more than its definition as a figure of speech would presuppose. The central overlapping images – principally Light and Seed, linked to a concept of Truth – advance a complex logic grounded in an outpouring of spiritual experiences by many individuals. Given the constraints established […]
Carole Dale Spencer First of all, I want to dismiss any notions that my book was in any way an attack on Hamm’s Transformation of American Quakerism. While we disagree on a few issues, his work was an important catalyst for the beginning of my exploration of holiness and Quakers almost twenty years ago. I […]
Holiness: 2.5 CheersThomas Hamm, Earlham College Thomas Hamm Those of us in the little world of Quaker historians have long known that this book was coming. I got an inkling in 1990, when the Conference of Quaker Historians and Archivists was held at George Fox College and Carole Spencer presented a paper on women and […]
Reviewed by Chuck Fager It was the British historian John Punshon who told a large Quaker body in 2008 that: . . . one way of studying the Quaker past is to use it as a means of self-justification. At times, interpretations of our history have been produced that have been used in the doctrinal […]
Reviewed by Chuck Fager Winston Churchill was once told, regarding another politician, that “Mr. X is a very modest man.” “Yes,” Churchill replied, “but then, Mr. X has much to be modest about.” Several times during eight years in North Carolina, I have been introduced as a Quaker to black persons of substance, mostly ministers. […]
We might call theology a conversation between present and past. Theology seeks to address contemporary concerns but does so as part of a historical community. So we look to our communal elders of ages past and to their gathered wisdom as a resource for our own theological work.
As it continues to lose its historic identity as a distinctive Christian movement, contemporary Quakerism becomes increasingly diffuse, a condition leading to diminished vitality, commitment, depth, community, and influence. Throughout the range from Christocentrism to nontheism, Friends express various views of what Quakerism is about, what its essential principles and practices are.
A review of Conservative Quakerism on the Rise
A Postscript by Chuck Fager As noted in our review of this novel in QT #12, the author had used the novel form to spread a prophecy that the real town of Farmington, Maine would be transformed into the New Jerusalem, free of death, sin, and illness, on June 6, 2006, at dawn. The transformation […]
Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle At a superficial level, America’s Providential History seems to be a textbook: a large format paperback, it looks like a text; it has the feel of one; and it has wide enough margins for the interested student to make copious notes on its pages. Moreover, the authors claim, in the […]
Licia Kuenning and her prophecy.
Review Essay: Taking Up Niebuhr’s Irony: Living a Theological Saga Six Books by Gary Dorrien Published by Westminster John Knox, Louisville: The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion, 1805-1900. 2001, 494 pages. The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism & Modernity, 1900-1950. 2003, 666 pages. The Word As True Myth: Interpreting Modern […]
Priscilla Elaine Eppinger At the age of 87 Lucretia Mott attended the 1880 Philadelphia Quaker Yearly Meeting. The representative committee reported that although the issue of temperance had been before them, the “way did not open for them to take action upon it.” After a lively discussion it was noted that a bill proposing the […]
By Richard Lee Frampton on Severn was around before William the Conqueror and his Normans conquered England. It is an old village on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean. Still, no one knows for sure just how old Frampton is. It was in Frampton where my Ol’ Gran taught me the Old Ways […]
By Esther Greenleaf Murer This paper grows out of the Quaker Bible Index, an attempt at a comprehensive Scripture index to make readily available Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Quaker writings. The first version, which appeared in 1993 and is available on CD-ROM, included about 10,000 Scripture references to works by Fox, Barclay, Penn, Woolman and others. […]
By Chuck Fager Editor’s Introduction: In Tenth Month 2002, some very interesting people gathered at Swarthmore College for a Conference on George Fox’s Legacy. Numerous papers were delivered, many of which will be published presently in Quaker History, the journal of the Friends Historical Association. Both in the papers and in personal conversation, many intriguing […]
By Chuck Fager Walking in the Way of Peace: Quaker Pacifism in the Seventeenth Century. Meredith Baldwin Weddle. Oxford University Pres, 2001 British Quakerism 1860-1920: the Transformation of a Religious Community. Thomas C. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 2001. Re-examing Quaker Peace Testimony In our current circumstances, few tasks are more urgent for Friends than to […]
Reviewed by Thomas D. Paxson, Jr. Many who come to the Religious Society of Friends are not introduced in any systematic way to the scriptural passages which most spoke to the experience of early Friends, which strengthened them in their faith and helped them keep to the Light. Nor is this surprising, since few texts […]
By Chuck Fager. We didn’t plan it that way, but this issue is about learning Quaker theology from history, mostly recent history. And some of the best recent historical insights into Quaker theology that I’ve seen have come from outside, from our sister denomination the Unitarian-Universalists. Specifically, through the work of John C. Morgan, a Unitarian minister […]
By Alison M. Lewis, Ph.D. Caroline Emelia Stephen has enjoyed a long-standing reputation among Friends as a Quaker theologian. Quaker Strongholds (1891) is considered a “Quaker classic;” one hundred years after its first publication, Friends General Conference book catalog calls it “one of the clearest visions of our faith.” Stephen was also the author of Light Arising: Thoughts […]
By R. Melvin Keiser. To speak of the nature and origin of Quaker theology is to raise the question of how systematic we should be in our theological pursuits as Quakers. As a Quaker theologian and postcritical philosopher I am drawn to systematic theology because I am interested in how intellectual principles structure our thought […]
By George H. Tavard. In this paper I will take the words, mystic, and mysticism in the sense they have in the Catholic spiritual tradition. Over the centuries there have been innumerable believers, lay or ordained, who have been given access to the presence of God in them in ways that are unsuspected or at […]
By Alvin Joaquín Figueroa. This article is a preliminary draft of a more ambitious project. It is a skeleton and a brainstorming process of some ideas I have been examining for a while. I would like to study the relationship, and points of convergence and divergence, between the religious discourses of Spain’s most important mystic […]
AN HISTORIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY Melvin B. Endy, Jr. The problems posed by the attempt to define Puritanism have driven some scholars to substituting description for definition and others to the use of the term as an umbrella for the religious experience shared by groups as disparate as mildly dissatisfied Anglicans, on the one band, and the […]