The New Quakers: A Faithful Betrayal? (Quaker Life Article)

Quaker Life Magazine published an article of mine called “The New Quakers: A Faithful Betrayal?” in their January/February 2010 issue. A number of people have asked for me to share it with them so they could read it, so I checked with the editor of QL, Katie Terrell, and gave me permission to share it here with all of you. You can download the .pdf file here.

There is one important correction that needs to be made, I made a mistake in my article that changes the meaning of what I was trying to get across. In the article I wrote:

One needs to be able to add oneself wholly to it, to personalize it internally and externally, or as T. Vail Palmer, Jr., argues, understand it emphatically.

But Vail’s argument is that early Quakers understood and read the Bible empathetically not emphatically (though they may have done that as well!). My misprint is very far from the important point of his claim, which is that they entered into the biblical narrative and sought to understand it, live it and own it as their own rather than use it as a handbook for argumentation. Emphatic reading is likened more to a fundamentalist reading which is quite opposite the point Vail makes clear in his research. And by the way Vail is in the middle of working on a fantastic book where he lays out this claim using Quaker history, theology and biblical studies, showing what it means for Quakers to read the bible empathetically, so keep yours eyes open for when it hits the shelves. Anyways, I hope this doesn’t confuse too many people.

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.