Quaker Quotations

On Love, Meekness and Watching Over Each Other (Isaac Penington 1667)

My friend Vail Palmer recently recommended to me to read Isaac Pennington’s book of letters. While I was at George Fox University this week for a conference on discernment and leadership I took the chance to visit the Quaker collection there and borrow the Pennington collection. This is the letter I’ve read multiple times this week and in a variety of settings. I love the entire thing, but the line about “helping one another up with a tender hand” has been the most powerful challenge to me this week.



Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been any slip or fall; and waiting till the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting. Oh! wait to feel this spirit, and to be guided to walk in this spirit, that ye may enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly one with another. And then, ye will be a praise to the Lord; and any thing that is, or hath been, or may be, amiss, ye will come over in the true dominion, even in the Lamb’s dominion; and that which is contrary shall be trampled upon, as life rises and rules in you. So watch your hearts and  ways; and watch one over another, in that which is gentle and tender, and knows it can neither preserve itself, nor help another out of the snare; but the Lord must be waited upon, to do this in and for us all. So mind Truth, the service, enjoyment, and possession of it in your hearts; and so to walk, as ye may bring no disgrace upon it, but may be a good savor in the places where ye live, the meek, innocent, tender, righteous life reigning in you, governing over you, and shining through you, in the eyes of all with whom ye converse.

Your Friend in the Truth, and a desirer of your welfare and prosperity therein.

I. P.

Aylesbury, 4th of Third Month, 1667

Isaac Penington to Friends in Amersham (1667).

Sermons The Biblical

The Res. Community Part 2: Finders, Seekers (Jn. 20)

This was my prepared message for worship last Sunday. It is the second in a series looking at what it means to be the church in relationship to the final resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

_profiles of Thomas the Seeker

I don’t know about you but Thomas has the potential to be one of my all-time favorite characters in the Bible. I think it’s partly because he typically gets a pretty bad wrap and I am partial to the underdog, but I think it’s partly because he is not afraid to ask the difficult questions.I think there’s a lot we can learn from Thomas. He is not so much a doubter as he is a seeker. He is not afraid to get it wrong, because he wants to know for himself.

Now a little bit of background – typically in modern culture “Doubt” is a dirty word. Consider this many believe that the beginning of the so-called Enlightenment period began with the philosopher Decartes’ dictum “I think, therefore I am,” (how many of you have heard this before?). Which was basically his way of trying to strip everything down to the basic core of existence. “I know I am a thinking thing, and therefore I must also be a living thing as well.” Now on first glance it seems like he may have had it backwards (why thinking before being) but further, what would happen if you introduced doubt into that system?

Sermons The Biblical The Pastorate

The Resurrection Community Part 1: Standing in the Midst (John 20:19-23)

This was my prepared message for worship last Sunday. It is the first in a series looking at what it means to be the church in relationship to the final resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

_behind locked doors

What is the first thing we can learn about this res. community?
The doors where they were, were locked.

Okay, so let me get this straight, there’s Jesus, he dies, every one’s totally crushed, then he appears in the garden to Mary, she runs back to tell everyone, and everyone gets super excited and starts dancing, throws a party, invites all their friends, and sends out some facebook statuses, maybe they even run around the street — woohoo Jesus didn’t die after all…

Nope, that’s not how the story goes, the doors are not open, they are closed, in fact they are locked. How can this be? After all they’ve gone through, after all that they’ve witnessed, after all that has transpired before their eyes, they are behind locked doors.