Quaker Quotations

‘what thou hast been to me in the night’ James Nayler (A Psalm)

I’ve was reading a variety of quotes from early Friends in preparation for my message on Sunday and stumbled ever so timely on this one. It speaks to my current condition as something I really needed to hear:

It is in my heart to praise thee O my God, let me never forget thee, what thou hast been to me in the night, by thy presence in the day of trial, when I was beset in darkness, when I was cast out as a wandering bird, when I was assaulted with strong temptations, then thy presence in secret did preserve me, and in a low estate I felt thee near me. When the floods sought to sweep me away, thou set a compass for them how far they should pass over when my way was through the sea, and when I passed under the mountains there was thou present with me; when the weight of the hills was upon me thou upheld me, else had I sunk under the earth, when I was as one altogether helpless, when tribulation and anguish was upon me day and night, and the earth without foundation, when I went on the way of wrath and passed by the gates of hell, when all comforts stood afar off and he that is mine enemy had dominion, when I was cast into the pit and was as one appointed to death, when I was between the millstones, and as one crushed with the weight of his adversary, as a father thou was with me, and the rock of thy presence. When the mouths of lions roared against me, and fear took hold on my soul in the pit, then I called upon thee in the night, and my cries was strong before thee daily, who answered me from thy habitation and delivered me from thy dwelling place, saying, I will set thee above all thy fears, and lift up thy feet above the head of oppression. I believed and was strengthened, and thy word was salvation. Thou didst fight on my part when I wrestled with death, and when darkness would have shut me up, then thy light shone about me, and thy banner was over my head. When my work was in the furnace, and as I passed through the fire, by thee I was not consumed, though the flames ascended above my head. When I beheld the dreadful visions and was amongst the fiery spirits thy faith stayed me, else through fear I had fallen; I saw thee and believed, so the enemy could not prevail.


-James Nayler 1659




Review: All Labor Has Dignity – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The book, All Labor Has Dignity,” is a collection of Martin Luther King, Jr’s speeches edited by Michael Honey, a scholar of labor and African-American history. There are a number of speeches/sermons that have never been put into print before that Honey was able to track down and include. At the beginning of each speech Honey does a stellar job of offering some of the labor movement history and MLK’s own work role within that setting. Much of the book shows King’s constant support of the labor, at least its ideals (there are number of critiques he offers in the book as well), and his work to try and bring the labor movement together with the Civil Rights movement.


The Original Revolution: Occupy Christmas? (Isaiah 52:7-10)


I know this is late, but it is the message I gave on Christmas morning December 25, 2011.

Isaiah 52:7-10: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

John 1:1; 14 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

I saw a political cartoon this week that said “Occupy Christmas.” And then off to the one side it said “in your hearts.” And I thought at first, “ah, isn’t that nice…?” And then, I was thought, “wait, no, no, no!!!” “How could you Occupy something in your heart? You don’t occupy something like Christmas in your heart. That takes away the power not only of “occupy” but even more importantly of Christmas.” It undercuts whatever revolutionary power either of these have.

Blog Entries

In Memory of Martin Luther King

A friend sent this to me in honor of Martin Luther King day.

Psalms 15

Lord, who can be trusted with power,

and who may act in your place?

Those with a passion for justice,

who speak the truth from their hearts;

who have let go of selfish interests

and grown beyond their own lives;

who see the wretched as their family

and the poor as their flesh and blood.

They alone are impartial

and worthy of the people’s trust.

Their compassion lights up the whole earth,

and their kindness endures forever.

(A Book of Psalms, translations by Stephen Mitchell)

via In Memory of Martin Luther King.

Quaker Sermons

Peace is a Garden (James 3:13-18)

This is the sermon I preached Sunday January 16, 2011.

The want of peace_

One of the queries I sent out for reflection this week over email to the church was “how do we support peace?” How do I, Wess Daniels, We the Daniels Family, We Camas Friends Church, support peace?

But I also wondered. What does it mean to support peace, to really want it? Because it’s one thing to put a bumper sticker on your scooter, as I’ve done, it’s quite another thing to actively pursue peace in a 20 year family conflict, to try and reconcile with a brother who has deeply wounded you, to step outside your front door and begin nurturing relationships with your neighbors that might actually produce fruits of peace.

A friend of mine is known for being a peacemaker in his neighborhood. Each fourth of July he and his wife throw party for their entire block and everyone comes out because he’s literally befriended most of his neighborhood. If you hang out with him over the course of 3 hours 3 or 4 neighbors will randomly drop by to say hello, drop off cookies, or some little treat for his children. It’s unreal. How many of us don’t even know the names of our neighbors let alone actually create space where relationships can grow and neighborhood peace can be nurtured?

I’m reminded of Don and Joy’s presence in their friends’ life as she past away and their care for her family since then — this is a perfect example of nurturing and supporting peace in a neighborhood.

Do we want peace and how do we support it?

Quaker Sermons The Biblical

‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’ (Luke 1:26ff)

This is my sermon from December 18.

So far this advent we have focused largely on preparation.

What is it we prepare for exactly? 2,000 years after Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, hasn’t it already all happened? Advent means coming, but hasn’t Christ already come again in the resurrection? As Christ-centered Quakers we believe that Christ is present here among us, we don’t have to wait until Christmas for Christ to come, God is birthed in the world everyday. And in this sense, Quakers should be celebrating Christmas everyday!!!

And besides this preparation is very difficult.