Beyond the Age of Amnesia

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.

Back From The Brink: North Carolina Yearly Meeting Says No To A Split

Chuck Fager I North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM (NCYM) has ended the two-year effort to purge its “liberal meetings.” This seems to be the most definite outcome of its showdown annual session on August 13 and 14, 2016. It was a very close thing. The leadership wanted a purge disguised as a split, and the steamroller […]

Encounters from Beyond Quakerism, Belief in Extraterrestrials And the Boundaries of Liberal Religion

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 […]

“Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism & Helped Save America, 1822-1940″* A Review

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 […]

A Letter re: Kenya Quakers & Homosexuality

by David Zarembka Dear Quaker Theology, I read with interest the various comments on the homosexuality issue in Kenya in the last issue of Quaker Theology [Issue #23]. I have some additional comments that might help clarify the situation. I was at the FWCC [Friends World Committee for Consultation] World Conference in Nakuru [in 2012] […]

“Quakers & Homosexuality Press Statement,” from Friends Church Kenya

Friends Church Kenya-vs-Homosexuals-Text-and-Responses-Quaker-Theology-Number-23In This Section: “Quakers & Homosexuality Press Statement,” from Friends Church Kenya Background & Context: Homosexuality, Law, Religion & Violence In Africa Today, by The Editors Responses to the FCK Statement:Pablo StanfieldCindy PerryRich LiversidgeDoug BennettMary HeathmanGeoffrey Kaiser Epistle to the 2012 World Conference of Friends, held in Kenya, from Friends for Lesbian, Gay, […]

Howard Brinton and the World Council of Churches: The Theological Impact of Ecumenism on Friends

by Anthony Manousos The ecumenical movement that culminated in the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948 was a wake up call to Howard Brinton and other Friends, obliging them to take more seriously the theological issues of their day. Up to this point, most of Brinton’s writings about theology focused on Quaker […]

“Spirit Rising, Young Quaker Voices”* A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager “If we have done our job well,” the editors of Spirit Rising declare, “ . . .some pieces [in this book] may surprise, confuse, alarm or even offend you.” Well, that didn’t happen. And partly that’s because I couldn’t keep from seeing this project in a larger historical context. Spirit Rising […]

“Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality”* A Review

Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle In the last two or more decades the word “spirituality,” as a substitute for religion, and even “spirit” has taken on a slightly “new age” connotation, with its vague usage making deep inroads among Friends. I haven’t heard anyone propose that the Religious Society of Friends change its name to […]

Review Essay

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 […]

Lucretia Mott, Liberal Quaker Theologian

Chuck Fager Let me begin by posing a question: If Lucretia Mott had ever been arrested for being a liberal Quaker theologian, would there have been enough evidence to convict? Of course, she would have loudly protested that she was no such thing, that in fact she roundly despised theology, and steered clear of it. […]

Reviews: “A Stone Bridge North,” by Kate Maloy & “Driving By Moonlight” by Kristin Henderson*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Living out a faith is the substance of narrative theology, and memoir is one of the best forms through which we can glimpse this theology taking shape, with all the accompanying struggle and exaltation. Two recent memoirs by Quaker women name and present this process superbly, and, as might be expected, […]

War in the Social Order: the Great War and the Liberalization of American Quakerism

Howell John Harris (NOTE: This essay was first published in David Adams and Cornelius van Minnen, eds., Religious and Secular Reform Movements in American History [Edinburgh, 1999], pp. 179-204.  It is reprinted here by permission.) Introduction When, or if, historians think of the American branches of the Religious Society of Friends, of Quakers, we probably […]

Beyond the Age of Amnesia: Charting the Course of 20th Century Liberal Quaker Theology

Here’s some good news: there are signs that American Friends, at least in the largest unprogrammed branch, are beginning to awaken from a long sleep of unawareness of their recent history. I call this period the Age of Amnesia, an unarticulated sense that Quakerism was effectively invented just a few weeks before thee and me […]