I'm pleased to announce that my article '"Why do you call me good?": Whiteness and Quaker theological fragility' has been published today in the Friends Quarterly (Issue 3, 2021). You can buy a copy of this edition here: https://thefriend.org/magazine/tfq.
The community formed by and around Christ should be one of strangers brought into intimate communion, a new kind of family. But what has happened to this original vision of the Church?... The Church has moved from being a community of intimacy to a community of strangers, strangers who don’t even recognise one other as fellow Christians. In his book ‘The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race’, Willie James Jennings describes the roots of this ‘distorted relational imagination’.
In ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’ (Qf&p), the ‘book of discipline’ of Quakers in Britain, there is no chapter dedicated to sin or evil. Quakers are not known for their sin-talk. Early Quakers would accuse the Calvinists of ‘preaching up sin’. In Qf&p, there are Edgar B Castle’s words that ‘to contemplate evil is a poor way of becoming good’ (26.69). However, Qf&p does have quite a bit to say about sin and evil, and I’ve put this summary together as part of my work on Quakers and racism.
If we are going to foster a Quaker culture that can name racism and discrimination, and move quickly to the defence of the victim, we have to rethink our understanding of sin. White Quakers like me have to acknowledge that, however good our intentions, we will ‘naturally’ perpetuate institutional racism. We will do this unconsciously, but we are still responsible for the damage we do. Our ability to act in a non-racist way has been perverted. Without our choosing, we are sinners.
Where theology is concerned, Quakers find themselves pulled in two directions. We shy away from the idea of theology, yet we can’t stop ourselves from doing it.
This is the fourth and final part of ‘Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus’, where I critique early liberal Quaker Edward Grubb’s understanding of Jesus. You can find the first part of the series here. F. Jesus the Jew When we reflect on what Jesus means to us today, we need to ask: How does Jesus … Continue reading Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus 4/4
This is part three of four of ‘Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus’, where I critique early liberal Quaker Edward Grubb’s understanding of Jesus. You can find the first part of the series here. D. The Cross as an example of God’s love A central question about Jesus is ‘what did Jesus’ death achieve?’ Grubb offers … Continue reading Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus (3/4)
Dear readers, I hope that wherever you are reading this, you are safe and well. This post is a short reflection on my writing, reading and thinking in 2020, and a big ‘thank you’ for reading the results. This year, perhaps more than ever, I’m thankful for books. In those times when the pandemic sapped … Continue reading Thank you to my readers in 2020
This is part two of four of ‘Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus’, where I critique early liberal Quaker Edward Grubb’s understanding of Jesus. You can find the first part of the series here. B. Grubb’s use of the Bible In the previous section, I suggested that Grubb has fallen into the same trap the ‘Lives … Continue reading Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus (2/4)
‘How does Jesus speak to you today?’ (Advices & Queries No.4) Who is Jesus and why does he matter? Who do Quakers in Britain say Jesus is? A more technical way of asking this is: what is a liberal Quaker Christology? In this series of four blog posts, I’ll offer some thoughts to help us … Continue reading Rethinking the Liberal Quaker Jesus (1/4)