Editor’s Introduction #4

By Anne K Riggs, Associate Editor

In this issue of Quaker Theology we highlight concerns of peace and violence, ecclesiology and theological method, or ways of thinking and talking about theological subjects – about God, about ourselves in relation to God and to one another in a worshiping community, and as people who worship and who live in this world.

In this issue, a traditional Friends concern is approached by Ron Mock and myself, and by reviewer Jeff Gros. Mock gives a Biblical exposition on peacemaking and Chuck Fager responds with another view, also based in Scripture. Gros looks at Cheryl Kirk-Duggan’s Refiner’s Fire: A Religious Engagement with Violence, which speaks from the perspective of a woman within the historically Black Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. My article offers an introduction to the World Council of Churches’s Decade to Overcome Violence.

It is our hope that this variety may serve to encourage and aid Friends in joining the wider world of theological reflection as participants who are self-aware and self-appreciative and as those who are increasingly conscious of how much can be gained in constructive, critical interaction with the thought of others.

Fager has also offered here a reflection on ecclesiology – that is theology about church – which for us means theology about Meetings and about the Religious Society of Friends. Noting concern within many Yearly Meetings with the present day situation of these Yearly Meetings and their future, he proposes a way to think in a disciplined manner about the questions that are being posed for us and by us. Fager’s position is not a view that all would share, in fact, it is not entirely a view that I share. But it is a coherent proposal of how to assess and respond to our present situation and should serve to stimulate others to reflect with equal seriousness and discipline on the issues, whether they agree or disagree with this particular interpretation.

Dana Kester-McCabe, a newcomer to theology as a discipline, in her article, and Tom Finger, a well-experienced veteran of theology as a disciplined enterprise, in his review of Denny Weaver’s Anabaptist Theology in Face of Postmodernity: A Proposal for the Third Millennium, both challenge Friends to consider not only what we believe but how we talk about what we believe. They ask in contemporary terms George Fox’s perennial question: “What canst thou say?”

We also want to note here that we are planning for our third Quaker Theology Seminar, again in State College PA, First Month (January) 18-20, 2002. Watch our website and your meeting’s bulletin board for more details, and plan to join us.

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