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.
Every now and again I encounter a book that gives me such a jolt it demands to be talked about. I've just finished James Cone's 'A Black Theology of Liberation', first published in 1970, and it has stirred me up. I found it both exciting and disturbing, and I need to process what I've read. … Continue reading James Cone’s ‘A Black Theology of Liberation’ and white liberal Quakerism
In my work around issues of race and whiteness with Quakers, it’s not uncommon to hear white people express an overwhelming feeling of guilt. Learning about whiteness – discovering your nation’s history of colonialism, realising how you’ve benefitted from the privileges of whiteness , remembering the times you didn’t challenge a racist comment, facing your … Continue reading Setting aside white guilt