As a result, we have become an invisible church, a relic from the past that many associate with the Amish. My wife, who is a community organizer here in Pasadena, and knows virtually all the religious congregations, barely knew that Quakers existed.
There must be amidst all the confusions of the hour a tried and undisturbed remnant of persons who will not become purveyors of coercion and violence, who are ready to stand alone, if it is necessary, for the way of peace and love among men.
Surely it is the nature and quality of a relationship that matters: one must not judge it by its outward appearance but by its inner worth. Homosexual affection can be as selfless as heterosexual affection, and therefore we cannot see that it is in some way morally worse.
Homosexual affection may of course be an emotion which some find aesthetically disgusting, but one cannot base Christian morality on a capacity for disgust. Neither are we happy with the thought that all homosexual behaviour is sinful: motive and circumstance degrade or ennoble any act…
…An act which expresses true affection between two individuals and gives pleasure to them both, does not seem to us to be sinful by reason alone of the fact that it is homosexual. The same criteria seem to apply whether a relationship is heterosexual or homosexual.
Additionally, the Puritans were bound to suffer the repercussions inherent in their decision to persecute dissenters and adherents of other faiths, despite the fact that they had come to America partly in order to escape such persecution themselves. When Quakers emerged in Massachusetts during the 1640s, they were fined, whipped, and banished by colonial officials. Because Quakers believed that there was no distinction between the “elect” and the rest of the population, that the Divine spirit dwelled within everyone, they were deemed heretical to Puritan doctrine. The Quakers’ suggestion that their members’ “inner light” offered a surer spiritual guidance than the Bible or ministers deeply offended Puritan sensibilities. As a result, four Quakers who returned to Massachusetts from exile were hung between 1659 and 1660. Baptists were also attacked, as they did not prioritize a learned ministry and were therefore deemed threatening to the Puritans, who maintained that an intellectual elite of ministers were the rightful interpreters of the Bible (and therefore of God’s will).
This is a snippet from May’s issue of Friends Journal, which was focused on food
I’d hazard that most modern Friends would agree with early British and U.S. Quakers that moderation in food is in keeping with Quakerly simplicity. William Penn wrote that “luxury has many parts, and the first that is forbidden by the self-denying Jesus is the belly,” and historians have pegged early Quakers’ food ways as “culinary asceticism.”
Where I think we, today, depart from these early Friends is in lifting up our appreciation for divine bounty. We can appreciate the clean, simple taste of a freshly picked carrot, close our eyes, and be filled with a sense of connection to the earth, to creation, and to an experience that our fellow humans on every continent might share. Is it not our very corporeal love for food that brings into starkest relief the injustice of a world of abundance whose poorest still go hungry?
Danielle said the last one is me.. whoops.
Sounds like me too…
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