Growing Together in the Light

A place for Friends and others to explore Quakerism. A place where, in the Light that comes from God, we may all grow and where we may hope to find a unity that underlies our diversity of language.

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Raised a Friend, I am currently a member of Fresh Pond Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. I am also active in Salem Quarterly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Christian Education

During the discussion at NEYM Sessionson renaming the Christian Education committee,  I started thinking about other meanings of Christian education, and those thoughts have been percolating ever since. My first thoughts were about the need to educate Christians. Although early Friends thought that they were on a mission to spread their gospel to the entire world, it turned out that it was mostly a matter of educating Christians. When they spoke in the steeple-houses, or in the yards outside when they were not allowed to speak inside, they were trying to educate Christians about the true nature of Christianity. Christianity as they experienced it and understood it, bore little relationship to what was being preached in many of the churches. They did not pull any punches about this, either. Barclay called the doctrine of predestination “a horrid blasphemy against the love of God.” It appears to me that a large portion of the Christian Church in America has become captive to the kingdoms of this world. Early Friends saw themselves as primitive Christianity revived. We need to educate ourselves and others about how revived Christianity is different from what we see around us.

The second area of Christian education that came to mind is based on who it is that comes to our meetings. Many people come to Friends suffering some sort of spiritual trauma from whatever tradition they came from. Many of these people have difficulty hearing Christian language. At some point we need to be clear, as Quakers, that our view of Christianity is different from what it was where they came from. We need to be able to articulate a non-traumatic and healing vision of Christianity. And we need to embody this vision in our lives and in our meetings.

With this in mind I am planning to start a series of posts on Christian education. I will be discussing various aspects of Christian theology and what the Quaker take on it is. Much of what I will have to say will not be unique to Quakerism, but I will try to identify how the Quaker tradition embodies these things. Some Friends are not comfortable with theological discussions, but ultimately any faith tradition is an embodiment of a particular theology. It is difficult to understand the puzzling or unique aspects of any faith tradition without understanding the theology that underlies it. For instance, it is strange to find out that some Catholic and Episcopal churches have special sinks that are not connected to the regular plumbing . But if you know that these sinks are used for washing the dishes used during the Eucharist and if you understand the concept of transubstantiation, it is easier to understand that people would not want any drops of wine or crumbs of wafer that have become the physical body and blood of Christ, to be washed out into the common sewer. Quakerism has its own quirks and oddities. I do not intend to discuss our peculiarities of architecture, but I do expect to discuss some of our unique religious, organizational and cultural structures.

This is all matter that I am still working on myself, so I hope that what I write can be a starting point for discussion.


Will T



Anonymous Steven Davison said...

Will, is it possible to subscribe to your post so that I can be sure to track the progress of this project? I am eager to hear what you say.

Steve Davison

September 09, 2011 9:53 AM  
Blogger Will T said...

I think that I have the settings of this blog set up so that you should be able to subscribe to it with an RSS feed. If that doesn't work for you you can drop me an email at
wt33 at verizon dot net and I will add you to my notification list that I email when I post a new entry.

September 10, 2011 6:09 PM  
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November 19, 2012 1:52 AM  
Anonymous Sean Riker said...

It looks like it doesn’t matter so long as a donation was made. So we can probably expect the Hugh Hefner Institute of Gender Studies if he gave a donation. It’s all about the money for this University – this so-called “press release” cements that fact in place. Allred mechanized the abortions of hundreds of thousands and needs to be held accountable by the church, not given a feather in his cap. All this release shows is that the concerns were justified.

February 26, 2013 10:49 PM  

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