Talk:Quakers/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Theologically liberal? Theologically conservative? What do these terms mean?

I am uncomfortable with the characterization of evangelical Friends as "theologically conservative" and of unprogrammed-meeting Friends as "theologically liberal". "Conservative" and "liberal" here seem to be referring to correlations about political views, which don't seem particularly theological to me. To some FGC friends, the history of the evangelical Friends movement, with the associated professional pastorate and programmed worship, looks more like an assimilation to mainstream Protestant Christianity, and some such FGC friends may feel that "theologically conservative" more rightly belongs to meetings which practice unprogrammed worship and rotating clerkship than to those meetings with professional pastors. Eric Forste 08:42, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I have the same problem with this usage of "conservative" and "liberal" - and I don't think "theologically" is really an appropriate word either, since most of the differences in question have to do with human practices rather than with the nature of God. But I can't presently think of a better phrasing. --Hob 18:38, 2004 Aug 1 (UTC)

Origin of Name

Forgive me as I'm posting this to both [Shakers] and [Quakers]...

I've heard that the name actually comes from a part of scripture that mentions an earthquake (started by God) or something to that effect. I'm not sure where in the scriptures, so that is another mystery. Basically the story I heard was that the Quakers' scriptures say quake and and the Shakers scripture says that the ground was made to shake. I know it sounds silly, but I heard this from a relative (who has now passed) that actually knew a lot about both groups and took many vacations in their historical towns. Now that I think about it, I believe she heard this from a guide at a/the Shaker village (in Ohio?). Of course, it's hearsay and could be completely false. If anyone has any more information on this, by all means enlighten us.JoeHenzi 01:04, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I I've never heard such a thing. The story that is most often told about this is that Quakers were given that name as by those who ridiculed them for "Quaking" in their religious fervor, and similarly for the "Shakers" because they would literally shake in religious rapture. I can't tell you if this is true or not, but that's what I've always been told.Eric Harris-Braun 21 Jan 2005

I agree on "Quaking" in their religious fervor. I have been told and have read this in several Quaker publications.

Friends' schools?

IN my city we have a school The Friends School, which is affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends. (see ) I don't see any mention of schools in the article. Are there many schools set up/founded/affilated by the religious group? -- Chuq 08:15, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Yes, there is already a link on Friends School near the bottom of the External Links section of the article as well as a link at at the top of the web page under Quaker Organizations: Quaker-originated schools and Quaker-originated colleges and universities. Does someone else want to write it up? It could be a section, a list or even a separate article. Petersam 17:32, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)
In fact Quakers have quite a distinguished record in education. Either the oldest or almost oldest co-educational prep-school in the U.S. (Westtown Friends) is Quaker as are a number of well known colleges: Earlham, Haverford, Swarthmore. And this isn't accidental. Unlike some other religions, Friends have never feared education because they never thought that science could be in opposition to religion. Since one of the basic tenets of the faith is that God's truth is one (despite that fact that we might not all have it right) empirical learning can't be taking us away from that truth, only bringing us closer. This is why so many early Quakers wer scientists (Lister, etc.) I'm pretty sure that others (Howard Brinton, Rufus Jones and John Punshon) have written about this relationship in their books, a distillation of which would be nice to see in the article (if only there were time...) Eric Harris-Braun 21 Jan 2005

Source for recent Testimonies?

Which is the source for "The Testimony of Unity with Creation (recent)/ The Testimony of Living In The World (recent)" quoted in the wiki entry? Thx

I'm not entirly sure. I dug back through the article's history and found they were added by karl in 2002. When I did a massive edit/reorgnization of the article earlier this fall I left them there since I didn't want to step on toes be deleted anything more then I already was (there was lots of duplicate information at the time), but I didn't really know if they were refering to something from a particular yearly meeting so when I started the subsections for the traditional testimonies I left them out (I could guess at what they refer to, but to flesh them out I'd be making stuff up). Since in the months that have followed no one seems inclined to add to them it might make sense to remove them. They certainly aren't part of the general lexicon among Friends (although they hint at ideas that often are), but that doesn't nessasarily mean they should be removed. --ahc November 19th, 2004
My understanding is that testimonies are documented in the books of Faith and Practice (also known as books of discipline to some) published by the various Yearly Meetings. For instance, Pacific Yearly Meeting's F&P of 2001 documents six testimonies beginning here. This document also contains several sections of quotations, some of which deal with the traditional testimonies. Among these, there is a section relating to the testimony of harmony with nature. The F&P's of other Yearly Meetings will, presumably, document other emerging testimonies. --Eric Forste 04:04, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I think the concern then is do we add testimonies that are new, at all. Since Friends are currently so divergent itis hard to call a new testimony something that belongs to the cannon of Friends theology. The other PYM (Philadelphia) has not (to my knowledge) added any similar testimony (although care for the environement is certainly mentioned in F&P). Perhaps the discussion of testimonies should be adjusted and the list made the reflect "tradinional" testimonies among Friends. --Ahc 14:21, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Breaking some sections out

I've been noticing that this article has grown rather long, and it seems like some topics probably deserve their own articles instead of being in here. As the article gets longer it is both harder to make sure all the information is organized well but it is also harder to absorb. Before I started to pull things apart I figured I ought to see of others think I'm a total loon.

For example I feel the peace testimony and Quaker weddings probably warrant their own articles. Of course a brief description would remain here, but the primary information would be moved to an article that would grow on its own. Someone has already done this with Clearness committee, continuing revelation and inner light, so this is really more of a continuation of a trend. --Ahc 17:02, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This seems like a prudent move to me. – Quadell (talk) (help) 21:36, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)
Are there suggestions about what should be moved? I've done weddings. I'll try to peace soon. What else do people feel justifies its own article. --Ahc 02:16, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I think Quaker history deserves it's own article, especially since what we've got here doesn't even scratch the surface (whole centuries are missing). Quaker beliefs and practices may also be a good one. --Zach Alexander 04:08, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
That probably makes sense. We should make sure some information remains here to give a quick outline (like a GF's dates and such). I've thought about that section from time to time. Feel free to do it if you have the time --Ahc 04:57, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I finally got Quaker history pulled out to its own article this evening (only took two months to find the time). The text that was left behind needs some clean up. --Ahc 04:57, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
How about we either make an article called Quaker testimonies or an article on each testimony? In the main article we could still explain each testimony with a sentence or two. Logophile 23:08, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Sounds like a generally good idea to me (actually it's been started with Peace). I would suggest that we probably should only it when we have a body of text to include in the new article. For instance I would wait on Simplicity until someone has time/energy to write more, otherwise it's a waste of a reader's click for them to load the other page. But Equality could probably go now. --Ahc 19:13, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The articles on Peace Testimony, Testimony of Simplicity, Testimony of Equality, and Testimony of Integrity have all been created. Are we ready to condense them in the main article to cut down its length? Logophile 01:04, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Looks to me like they are in good shape. So I think you're right. It's time to work on trimming this article down now. --Ahc 13:47, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
Right now the article gets very repetitive. The same points (e.g., about "thee" vs. "you") are repeated several times, under different heads. 02 Jun 2005


Since this has come up twice in the past few days I'm hoping to get some clarification. Being a US Friend, I am very familiar with the organization of YM's in the US. However, this shouldn't be an article about the US, so would someone with knowledge of non-US organization enlighten me. Twice now the organization section has been updated to reflect what now is clearly a non-US perspective I missed. First to include reference to large numbers of meetings that are not Monthly meetings (which is not the case in the US), then when I tried to find a middle ground statement (badly apparently) the text was altered to state it was the US structure. Do British or other European Friends (I say that since there are so few unprogrammed Friends outside the US and Britain, so any large numbers would be there) use a different organization of the bodies within the yearly meeting? If so, I'd like to know about it, and the article should reflect that. I didn’t mean to be near sighted, but I clearly missed something in my travels among Friends. --Ahc 05:05, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Friends and the Bible

Eric Forste made the following comment in the the article's testimonies section. I moved it here for proper discussion.

Friends believe that the Word of God is Jesus Christ, not the Bible, because this is what the Bible itself says in the gospel of John, but I don't know how to rewrite this first following sentence

--Ahc 21:54, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

For context the current first two sentences read as follows:
Friends believe that the Bible is the word of God as interpreted by each person. Each Friend must interpret the Bible for themselves in the light of the same Spirit that they consider to have inspired the Bible.
--Ahc 22:02, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
My quick response to this is that question raised here shows the division within the RSoF. Many Friends would agree with either statement whole heartily. In my experience the suggested change is an over implication of a very complicated debate. Most Friends (in my experience) would not agree that simply because the Bible says something that Friends therefore hold it as necessarily true. I personally feel that the current text better matches the current feeling of most Friends.
--Ahc 22:02, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you, and I thank you for putting the context in. I don't interpret the gospel of John literally, and all I meant was that if one did interpret the christian Bible literally as the word of God, then one would want to take what it said about what the word of God was literally as well, and there it is in the gospel of John. This, I understand, was the sort of argument that early Friends used to argue against literalist interpretation of the Scriptures, and I think it's an excellent argument for Spirit-led, rather than letter-led, interpretation (whatever that means). --Eric Forste (Talk) 07:54, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

I find the opening 2 sentences of the Testimonies section rather confusing, if not meaningless. The article goes on: Thus Friends believe that divine revelation is not restricted to the Bible, ... which is something I can agree with far more than the preceding sentences. The trouble is that the Bible is not one book, written at one time by one author - or even one school of authors. It is highly heterogeneous; and alongside many passages which show wisdom and compassion, there is a great deal of racism, misogeny, homophobia and vengefulness - sentiments which IMO sit poorly with present-day Friends.

To give just one example, what is the "same Spirit that we consider to have inspired" 1 Samuel 15, particularly vv. 2-3? Are we to understand that Samuel really was speaking the Word of God - or was he simply projecting his own hatred for the Amalekites onto God, and therefore taking the Lord's name in vain? If the former, what kind of biblical God are we following? If the latter, what does it say about the rest of the story of Samuel?

--Tiffer 17:58, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

To me that's where the pharse about inturpretation comes in. Many Christians (Friends and other demoninations) feel free to openly reject passages of the bible that seem to be more inspired by men (usually men and not women) and not God. That said, if you feel there is a better way to open that section let's try it. If it confuses people it should be fixed as far as I'm concerned. --Ahc 18:33, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I see that the question was resolved on 7 April by Zach Alexander, introducing a new section "Friends and the Bible" - a logical solution. --Tiffer 19:06, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Rename to just "Society of Friends"

I recently encountered a reference to this page that was written as [[Religious Society of Friends|Society of Friends]]. The "Society of Friends" alias seemed unnecessary to me, so I simplified the link. It was quickly reverted (though the revert accidentally put the alias on the wrong side of the link) on the grounds that:

The alias "Society of Friends" is actually very important, as there are many Quakers who do not consider it a "religion", but a "belief".

If this is true, we should move this page to just "Society of Friends". If it is false, I will reinstate my edit with a pointer to this talk page. Does anyone have an opinion on this? --Doradus 17:01, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

The meeting house I attended as a teenager was very clear on this (Quakers tend to be quite clear about their beliefs!), and strongly insisted that it was not a "religion", but a "belief", and where we went was not a "church" but a "meeting house". While I am aware there are a variety of viewpoints among Friends, this "faction", for want of a better word, is quite common out West, and the selfsame statement was made by a Quaker woman in a John Wayne movie made in the 40's, of which the title escapes me now. Doovinator 01:44, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
There are lots of things which could be said "many" Friends believe. The George Fox certainly should (IMHO) keep the Religious on the title, as should this article, since that is the traditional name of the group (and he's traditionally thought of as the founder). I believe (and a quick web site search seems to confirm, although I didn't do an exhaustive search) most yearly meetings outside EFI, still officially have "of the Religious Society of Friends" in there names. So while sure it can be said that it make some Friends uncomfortable, that is not what I see as the consensus among Friends (indeed some of us find that treatment insulting). That said, sounds like I should chime in on the discussion on the other article, to help form a wikipedia consensus on the issue. --Ahc 18:28, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I have nothing against Quakers who wish to use the term "religious", using it. What I object to is eliminating the term "Society of Friends", which is a distinct and legitimate branch of Quaker belief, and every bit as "necessary" as any "religion". Just as some Quakers have "services" in a "church", some have "meetings" in a "Society of Friends" meeting-house. The name of the movie, by the way, is something like "the Cowboy and the Lady". Doovinator 02:05, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think the movie you're thinking of is "Angel and A Bad man" (1947), and while it's a well regarded movie by John Wayne fans I'd suggest that we not use that particular film as a good source of Quaker theology (the non-violent solution in the movie is to have someone else kill the bad guy). I'd also like to be clearer about language here in general (I don't mean to cruel, but some of this is important). Friends (from unprogrammed traditions) attend meeting in a meeting house you don't attend meeting house as that's what the building is called. The body is also called the meeting not the meeting house, therefore the meeting is clear on an issue. Additionally Friends frequently drop the Religious in the same way we often drop the Society of because saying the full name is more time consuming. So we should be clear about when we are using the shortened version as a time saving device, and when it is a statement of belief.
You miss my point. I don't suggest that film is a proper source of Quaker theology, I cite the statement of the Quaker woman in it as an example of the Western branch of Quaker ideology I am familiar with, which firmly holds that it is not a religion, but a belief. I never knew of any other kind until I was into my twenties. The meeting I attended didn't just drop the word "Religious" because it was time-consuming, they never used it, because they didn't believe in it. t was never anything but "Society of Friends". I am aware there are many other branches to Quaker belief, but to claim this one simply doesn't exist is flat-out wrong. "Society of Friends" should not be a simple redirect to "Religious" Society of Friends, it is a distinct form of belief that deserves recognition as such.

I don't know where "attend meeting house" came from either, but not me. We attended meeting in the meeting-house.Doovinator 01:28, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Doovinator, are you suggesting a separate article entitled "Society of Friends"? Wouldn't that pretty much duplicate the current article? Perhaps you want to add a paragraph in the article stating that some segments of the Friends' community prefer the name "Society of Friends" and explaining why. Would that work? I think so. Logophile 17:07, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I suggest, for the purposes of Wikipedia that we use either Religious Society of Friends or simply Friends in all discussions of the group as a whole, and Society of Friends only be used in discussions of this particular debate among Friends. Otherwise the distinction will become confusing to readers lacking background knowledge of the discussion. --Ahc 17:51, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Ahc--Friends or Religious Society of Friends keeps things simple and workable. Quakerism might not be a religion, but it is certainly accurate to call it a religious society, and that is the traditional and almost universal title given to it. Logophile 16:24, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
See above. "Almost universal" is not "universal".Doovinator 01:28, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Doovinator, true. I could go either way on the issue. I would like to point out another problem with dropping "Religious." Many institutions, specially museums, have auxiliary organizations with the name "Society of Friends of. . . .". Could be ambiguous and confusing. As I said, I could go either way without complaining. 12:51, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC) Logophile
Well, I don't mind "Religious Society of Friends" referring to those who care to call themselves by that name, but I do feel it's important to point out somewhere that some Quakers use only "Society of Friends". I'd be happy to do it sometime, but right now I'm more than half asleep!Doovinator 03:02, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Ok, so where does this leave us? Can we agree that using "[[Religious Society of Friends|Society of Friends]]" everywhere is not ideal? Can we agree on what to do about it? --Doradus 21:43, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)

I started to hold this conversation on the new WikiProject (see below and the project page) about this issue. Sorry I forgot to mention it hear. Since this is a issue that should apply to more articles then just this one it seemed appropriate, however it would have been helpful if I'd mentioned that to those participating bad. --Ahc 13:20, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
If brevity of the link is what we are concerned about, then simplest would be to create a redirect page for Society of Friends, IMV. I for one wouldn't want to see the "Religious" prefix dropped, for 2 reasons: (1) it is after all the proper title; and (2) just "Society of Friends" is less meaningful to people outside the Society. --Tiffer 22:55, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Well, I don't mind "Religious" used as a prefix by those who wish to use it, but not to refer to those who feel it is contrary to their belief. A short mention or a redirect would be fine with me, but not elimination of "Society of Friends", which is also a proper title, albeit of a smaller group. One does not claim Episcopalians are Catholic so that "outsiders" will not be "confused". Doovinator 02:39, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Towards a solution, hopefully -- I just made an edit which I hope will be satisfactory to everyone, or at least more satisfactory than the previous state of things. I added a "Names" section, which goes into the various names, and in the RSOF paragraph notes that some Friends object to the R. I did this because I think it should be noted, but I don't think there should be a separate article, since there is no separate organization. Episcopal/Catholic isn't really a relevant comparison, because there is zero doubt whether they are separate groups; a better comparison would be (hypothetical) members of the Southern Baptist Convention who object to the term Southern; if it's just a sentiment among some of them, and they haven't actually made it official, you wouldn't expect a separate article on the Baptist Convention. Zach 14:14, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I like it. It's quite good. I think it makes the later section on the origin of the term Quaker redundant. Should we remove that section? Logophile 15:49, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Probably could be combined or condensed. I think the article is coming along quite well. I don't see the need for an entirely different article on "Society of Friends" either, though I'd say holding a belief is something more than a "sentiment". Religion is by its nature organized and exclusive. Part of holding a belief that is NOT a religion is not forming or joining such exclusive organizations. Thus, a personal belief can't and will never be "official". Individuals who attended our meeting did as they wished, but as a group we never joined anyone, since as a matter of principle we wished to be inclusive, not exclusive. I hope I am being clear, I think this is probably the most misunderstood point of all! Doovinator 00:52, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Yes, sorry, calling it "sentiment" was a little marginalizing I admit. I'm glad you liked the edit tho. Please do add more about this when you have the time for it. Zach 17:41, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Whoops, yeah, I meant to move the Origins section, not just duplicate it... deleting... Zach 02:57, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)


So the concensus seems to be that links should just look like [[Religious Society of Friends]], with no alias to "Society of Friends" unless there's a good reason to do so in the context of that particular article. For a more terse link, [[Religious Society of Friends|Quakers]] is preferable. --Doradus 20:28, Apr 15, 2005 (UTC)

I agree. "Quakers" is probably most recognized anyway. Doovinator 06:30, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Come to think of it, perhaps [[Quakers]] is good enough for the terse link, and we can let the redirect do its job. Conceiveably, a consensus might arise in the future to move the article to Quakers anyway, so we should probably avoid overengineering the links. --Doradus 16:10, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)


Still other Friends rejected (or began to neglect) the Christian Bible altogether; hence among some liberal (usually unprogrammed) Quakers one will encounter Sufi, Buddhist, Jewish, nontheist and otherwise non-Christian Friends."

In my experience—which is limited to a single meeting—this is an extreme understatement. I have been told that 90% of our meeting is non-Christian. --Goethean 16:44, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes, maybe the "some" should be changed to "many". But your experience is only typical of FGC Friends, although even in many FGC meetings there are many Christians. As for other braches, all FUM and Conservative Friends are "Christian" (leaving aside what Christian means), and I think Beanite meetings often have a high percentage of people that identify as Christian in some sense. ("Christ-centered universalism"). Zach 18:17, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
By number most Friends are not from the more liberal and univeralist branches of Friends. These pockets tend to be quite dense for a variety of reasons and quite loud when larger groups of Friends come together. I think "many" is fair, but we need to make sure we avoid "most". --Ahc 04:57, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Altho it depends on what we're talking about -- some/many/most liberal unprogrammed Quakers, or some/many/most Quakers period? "Most unprogrammed Quakers..." might be justified (tho I'm not sure), but "Most Quakers..." definitely wouldn't here. Zach 13:12, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
In my experience (equally limited), despite the fact that we're a pretty damn "liberal" meeting (Princeton, NJ) there is plenty of Christ- and Bible-talk. Just want to add my two cents in -- liberal and unprogrammed does not mean "non-Christian". Sdedeo 15:11, 9 August 2005 (UTC)


I was looking at the article, and I think we could use a better explanation of "plain speech" and plain dress. Perhaps it could be its own subsection in the Beliefs and practices section? School just started back up for me, so I don't know when I'll have a chance to work on this myself. Zach 17:35, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It should also be part of the testimony on simplicity section. I'll try to work on something in the next few days/weeks on this. Sounds like a couple editors are about to get busy for a while, so others of us should step up more to keep things moving. --Ahc 04:43, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Evangelical and terminology

As someone who considers himself an engaged buddhist and someone who was quaker roots and has gone to more than a few unplanned meetings as well as quarterly meetings I have to admit that I find some aspects of this article misleading. I have always understood, that at least among unplanned meetings, proseltization is considered taboo. There is no formal process of confirmation of conversion so to speak of. You simply decide that you are. Having been to these meetings I have not met anyone I would describe as new age, a universalist, or even someone else such as myself who would describe themselves as buddhist. I should also mention that I have never heard a single one of those terms mentioned. This is simply my personal experience. When I figure out why my account wont work and/or decide to create a new one I will make adding to this page one of my priorites. I think there are many points worth mentioning that are not discussed. I have to confess ignorance of what the society of friends is like outside of the United States and Canada but I supsect this article is more charactersitic of British quakers.~~

Having traveled a good deal among North American Friends I can safely say I have meet Friends that I would discribe as Universalist and some as new age (although that's a sticky terms as many people take it as an insult). I certainly have talked with Friends that describe themselves as Buddhist-Quaker, or Jewish-Quaker. So, yes they are accurate to include here IMHO.
The issue of proseltizing is a point of some disaggreement among Friends in North America. Most Friends from the more liberal backgrounds (generally associated with FGC) are very uncomfortable with any form of proseltizing, while Friends from more conservative backgrounds (particullarly those affliated with EFI) feel called to share their relationship with God through every means avialable. I suspect that there are similar breakdowns among Friends world-wide, but I don't know for sure.
We have been working over that last few months to deal with some problems with the article being too North American centric, and we've been making adjustments to take European and Austrian Quakers into better account. What we're still lacking (in my estimation) is a good understanding of African Friends. Friends in Africa are numerous, but here we make almost no real mention of them (I suspect because like myself, few of the editors know much about the particulars are African Quakerism, which I understand is somewhat different from Friends elsewhere). --Ahc 13:59, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Latest Edits--Nature of God, Trinity, Eschatology

I am not a Friend myself, but I do not believe that these latest edits are needed or helpful in the article. I would like to see a source for them, as they definitely sound more credal than Friends actually are. Logophile 20:52, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Since they were already removed, I'm not in a big rush to look it over. I'll take a look when I have a few minutes and see if there is content that should be included or if cropping it all was a good idea. --Ahc 13:56, 31 May 2005 (UTC)