Quaker Ranter (Martin Kelly)

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An Email Newsletter & Blog from Martin Kelley
Updated: 1 week 9 hours ago

Nuturing ministers: Case studies

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 11:04am

Brian Drayton is starting a new series of historical examples of Quakers giving ministerial advice and training:

As I am working on a revision of my book on the Quaker ministry, I am revisiting historical accounts of times when a minister was given guidance (eldering, oversight, nurture, discipline). As part of that work, I will from time to time post “case studies” on this blog.

Nuturing ministers: Case studies, Intro

As I am working on a revision of my book on the Quaker ministry, I am revisiting historical…

Amor vincat
Categories: Blogs

Humor in Religion

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 2:22pm

I’m a little nervous soliciting Quaker humor but it’s become part of my job description… Friends Journal is devoting a whole issue to “Humor in Religion” next April. The writing deadline is January 7. A frightfully serious list of things we’re looking for is below.

Writing Opp: Humor in Religion (due Jan 7)

Magazine ISO legit funny Quaker joke, apply here.

Friends Journal
Categories: Blogs

2019 FGC Gathering workshops announced

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 9:22am

It’s that time of year: FGC’s announced the workshop listings for its annual Gathering, starting at the end of June at Grinnell College in Iowa.

There are 48 workshops to choose from this year, which is about the normal number for recent years. I used Archive.org to look back and the biggest year I could dig up was 2006, when 73 workshops were offered. Gathering attendance has dropped since then but I also suspect 73 selections were a bit ambitious. The current normal is more suited to the Gathering size. There are lots of familiar workshop leaders. Are there any that stand out for you? Fell free to drop recommendations (or promote your own workshop if you’re doing one!) in the comment section.


Workshops offer Gathering adults and high school participants the opportunity to be immersed in a topic with other…

Friends General Conference
Categories: Blogs

QuakerSpeak Staff Picks

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 1:59pm

What’s your favorite QuakerSpeak? To celebrate the QuakerSpeak video series’ fifth anniversary, project director Jon Watts asked the Friends Journal staff to pick their favorite videos. What would be your favorite QuakerSpeak?

Friends Journal Staff Picks — QuakerSpeak

In celebration of QuakerSpeak’s 5th anniversary, we put together this playlist of some of our favorites here at…

Categories: Blogs

A Space for Doubt

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 9:34am

Features on Friends Journal this week, Jeff Rasley’s article on “stealth worshipers” and religious doubt in the professional clergy:

Because I went to seminary, I came to know quite a few Christian ministers. As an attorney, I represented several churches and Christian ministers in legal matters. Several ministers of Protestant denominations and two Catholic priests came clean with me about their personal beliefs. I discovered that when they were not “on,” many pastors would admit to the same doubts about the dogmas and superstitions of their churches as I had about mine.

December’s issue is on Christianity and there are opinions on various sides of the issue but Rasley’s piece gets right to a core strength of Liberal Quakerism: its ability to so easily invite and engage with those unsure of their beliefs. Because of family, I get to a lot of non-Quaker services a lot and wonder how many of the people around me aren’t following their church’s teachings on various issues. One way of ordering Christian denominations is to see if they prefer a tidy and pure but small congregation or a messy big tent come-as-you-are congregation.

It seems like Quakers are taking something of a different path: come but follow your own integrity and engage in the way that honors whatever level of truth has been given you. It’s a pretty powerful stance, though of course it gives us our own special set of headaches when it comes time to speaking in a collective voice.

A Space for Doubt

When religious services are stripped of doctrinal claims, doubters and skeptics can participate with greater integrity.

Friends Journal
Categories: Blogs

British Friends survey on diversity

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 6:28am

From Britain Yearly Meeting:

What ways are we already diverse? Where do our strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of inclusion? Both these questions need to be answered if we are to understand the nature and make up of this old and important faith community that has a history of significant contributions to British and international equality.

This intro document leaves me little unsure what kinds of diversity they’re looking for. Demographic? Spiritual? Geographic? The one quote suggests that someone hopes the results might help advance their agenda. Is this just a one-off SurveyMonkey or will there be more to it?

Diversity: where are we now?

​Quakers in Britain are taking part in major a survey that is set to map the diversity of…

Categories: Blogs

A small break

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 11:26am

My apologies for the radio silence on this so-called daily site. A family vacation took my attention away from most things Quaker and getting caught up on back work is keeping it away a few days. I should be up to speed by the weekend.

During that time the domain registration for QuakerQuaker turned due. I must have missed the deluge of email that its domain registrar usually sends. I’ve paid the domain bill for another two years and it should be back up for everyone.

Categories: Blogs

Traveling in the ministry in the “old style”

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 2:31pm

Wess Daniels on Lloyd Lee Wilson’s traveling style

Most folks can guess what it means to travel in the ministry. You visit different churches and meetings and share gifts of ministry with the community there. “In the old style” is a reference to how many early Friends would travel, by sensing a call to go and worship with Friends in other parts of the country and world, with no clear outcome or goal, and only trusting that by showing up and worshiping with Friends “something divinely good would happen.”

On Traveling in the Ministry

Learning How to Travel in the Ministry: The Past Bears Weight on the Present This is a post…

Categories: Blogs

UK Quakers will not profit from the occupation of Palestine

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 11:57am

British Friends become first church in UK to pull investments in companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine. From recording clerk Paul Parker:

As Quakers, we seek to live out our faith through everyday actions, including the choices we make about where to put our money. We believe strongly in the power of legitimate, nonviolent, democratic tools such as morally responsible investment to realise positive change in the world. We want to make sure our money and energies are instead put into places which support our commitments to peace, equality and justice.

As you’d might expect, there’s been backlash. The Board of Deputies of British Jews has condemned Britain Yearly Meeting’s decision as a “biased and petulant act.”.

Quakers will not profit from the occupation of Palestine

Quakers in Britain has today become the first church in the UK to announce it will not invest…

Categories: Blogs

Genesis: Outer Space and Inner Light, by

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 11:57am

John A. Minahan has written this week’s featured Friends Journal article, a nicely paced exploration that touches on personal memoir, human milestones, cultural memory, and the Book of Genesis:

Now the astronauts had used that same rhetorical strategy but on a planetary and even interplanetary scale. Speaking the words of Genesis, they sent a message of healing to a wounded world; they expressed a certain cosmic humility about our place in the universe; and, most of all, they shared goodwill, jaw‐dropping in its simplicity, with “all of you on the good earth.” A moral and existential vision took hold of me in that moment and has never let go. Though I couldn’t have articulated it as such then, it was a realization of original goodness.

Genesis: Outer Space and Inner Light

Outer space and Inner Light

Friends Journal
Categories: Blogs

New eBook “Remixing Faith” Now Available

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 11:15am

From Wess Daniels:

I have put this talk together in ebook form complete with lots of pictures and illustrations and formatting that adds to the reading experience. I wanted to share this with all of you and make it as accessible as possible, so it is free to download. It should work with most modern-day eBook readers and apps. If that doesn’t work for you, I have also turned the talk into a downloadable .PDF.

New eBook “Remixing Faith” Now Available

My new eBook “Remixing Faith: Seeds of Renewal” is now available for (free) download as an eBook or…

Categories: Blogs

Reddit: Quakerism without Jesus

Sun, 11/18/2018 - 8:57am

Two much-discussed threads on /reddit/Quakers, the first pondering Quakerism with Jesus, and the second—a response—arguing for Jesus’s centrality. Both original posts are perhaps a bit predictable but the conversations go into interesting contradictions and dilemmas.

Also, an early plug that the December Friends Journal will focus on Quakers and Christianity.

r/Quakers — Quakerism without Jesus

12 votes and 42 comments so far on Reddit

Categories: Blogs

Kindertransport survivors call for routes to sanctuary for child refugees

Sat, 11/17/2018 - 12:53pm

At an 80th anniversary of the UK kindertransport program (which we read about a few days ago), survivors and Friends call for wider support for today’s refugees and asylum seekers:

Helen Drewery, Head of Witness and Worship for Quakers in Britain, welcoming all to Friends House, said, “We are pleased to be hosting an event which honours all those – including Quakers who put the Kindertransport into effect. Their endeavours are being echoed today by nearly 100 Quaker meetings across Britain which have identified themselves as Sanctuary Meetings and are supporting people who have fled from danger in their home countries. We are glad that these Meetings and the people they are supporting are represented at today’s event. We join them in pressing for more safe passages.”

Ekklesia | Kindertransport survivors call for routes to sanctuary for child refugees

Categories: Blogs

This Couple Had a “Kitten Hour” at Their Wedding

Sat, 11/17/2018 - 8:31am

This story needs no clever introduction:

“We wanted our guests to have something to do as they arrived [while] we took pictures with our families, so we planned a kitten hour,” Colleen told POPSUGAR. “We did a cocktail hour with cocktails named after our cats for the reception, but the Quaker meeting house we used for the ceremony doesn’t allow alcohol on premises. I wanted a wedding falcon, but Iz vetoed that, and so we compromised on kittens.”

This Couple Had a “Kitten Hour” at Their Wedding, and Yes, It’s a Cat Lady’s HEAVEN

This is probably the best idea ever!

Categories: Blogs

Kristallnacht, Kindertransport, and help for refugees

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 7:03am

Quaker refugee work circa 1933:

The reports gathered from the Jewish community in Germany by Quakers were of influence when Quakers accompanied the Jewish delegation who went to see Home Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare to plead the case for allowing immigration of children into Britain without the usual visa restrictions. They swayed the government and this planned immigration of German and Austrian Jewish children became known as the Kindertransport. Around 10,000 children were evacuated from Germany and Austria to Britain between 1938 and 1939.

What I find most fascinating is the detail that the Friends library in London doesnt have a lot of records of this work. It was so much in line with other refugee assistance Friends were doing in Europe that they evidently considered it just another day on the job, so to speak. I shared a piece on the related Quakerspeisungen a few days ago.

Kristallnacht, Kindertransport, and help for refugees

Last week saw the 80th anniversary of the November Pogrom in Germany and Austria, now known as Kristallnacht.…

Quaker Strongrooms
Categories: Blogs

Mike Shell reviews book reviews

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 10:23am

Okay, it’s not quite so referential: Mike’s lifting up three books in September’s Friends Journal book columns that “help ‘white’ readers go deeper into self-awareness about the hidden dynamics of racism.” He also tells a little of his own story of color-blindness.

When my “white” friends said I couldn’t bring my “black” best friend to their lunch table, I shrugged and sat with him at a “black” table. On the minus side, when someone in the school parking lot shouted nigger lover, and my friend wanted to fight, I just told him I didn’t mind the insult. That was probably my first seriously hurtful act of “white color-blindness.” It took me decades to realize, to my shame, that it was he who was being insulted, not me.

Three books for “white” people

The Books section of the September 2018 Friends Journal includes reviews of three exemplary works to help “white”…

Quaker Universalist Voice
Categories: Blogs

Quakerspeisungen and an Oscar Schindler connection

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 9:19am

This week marks the hundred-year anniversary of the end of the “Great War,” World War I, branded as the war to end all wars. Our annual commemoration of the armistice in the U.S. largely went by the wayside in 1954 when Congress changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Instead of marking the end of a horrific war that literally consumed much of European resources and people for years in trenches that never moved, we now spend the day filling lectures with cliches of military service.

But the hundred year anniversary also means we can start remembering the aftermath of the war. The First World War set up the second. We largely think of the mistakes and half-efforts of the victorious powers but Quakers were part of more righteous storyline:

Even more food was sent by American Quakers under the leadership of Herbert Hoover, providing daily meals for 60,0000 starving Berliners for five years. The Germans labelled this massive effort, Quakerspeisungen: “Quaker Feedings.” It saved thousands of lives, including those of the family of Oscar Schindler who famously went on to help 700 Jews to escape the gas chambers at Auschwitz in the Second World War. Schindler’s sisters spent six months recuperating with the Hall family and one even attended Thirsk Grammar School for a term.

Friends Journal Bonuses: Quaker work in Germany in the 1920s and 30s was the subject ofQuakers in Germany during and after the World Wars from 2010. Relief efforts in Spain were part of a more recent story that tied it to present-day refugee assistance in Gota de Leche.

Heroic Quakers and a fascinating link between Oscar Schindler and Thirsk

A FASCINATING link to Oscar Schindler via a Thirsk family of Quakers is being celebrated in the North…

Darlington and Stockton Times
Categories: Blogs

The gray wave that wasn’t

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 6:25pm

Back in March, Friends Journal and the Earlham School of Religion co-hosted an online discussion with six Quaker candidates for congressional seats. The idea and coordination came from the awesome Greg Woods. I went to see just how high the 2018 “gray wave” had crested.

Spoilers: no wave. Four of the candidates didn’t make it out of the primaries and a fifth was running as an independent in a long-shot candidacy. The one candidate to win major-party primary was the awesome Shawna Roberts1 of Barnesville, Ohio. Shawna’s one of the most down-to-earth, real, people I know and it was a lot of fun to follow her campaign. Her twitter feed has been a hoot:

Last night, at the BPW forum, my opponent’s statement said his childhood home “didn’t even have indoor plumbing.”

Oh, Bill. Indoor plumbing’s still pending at our old farm house.
You can’t out-hillbilly me. Unless you eat squirrel brains. I draw the line at squirrel brains. pic.twitter.com/hGMJvQ8Yhq

— Shawna Roberts (@RobertsOhioD6) October 20, 2018

Unfortunately Shawna only got about 30 percent of the vote yesterday. This election was not kind to Democrats in rural districts like southeast Ohio’s 6 and she was running against an incumbent. From my vantage point 30 percent seems pretty good, though as my seventh grade math teacher used to intone in his weary baritone, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. traced it down (Popik was an essential source tracking this Quaker bumpersticker).">2 Still, the prospect of a Mrs Roberts Goes to Washington win had me hoping against the odds. I’d love to see her continue to be involved: 2020 is only two years away.

Stats on everyone’s results are at the updated Quakers in Politics page. For anyone wondering about Quaker politicians, Paul Buckley had a nice overview of our complicated relationship to voting a few years ago.

2018 Quakers in Politics Web Panel (Updated Nov 2018)

The upcoming U.S. Congressional mid-term elections already have at least seven Quaker candidates for office. How does their…

Friends Journal
Categories: Blogs

Looking outside the meetinghouse (FJ call for submissions)

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 3:25pm

Let me give a plug that Friends Journal is looking for articles on the topic of “Outside the Meetinghouse” for the March issue. The deadline is a little over a month away. Here’s a little bit of my write-up for it, as a teaser:

There is a long history of Friends preaching and witnessing outside of the confines of the meetinghouse. George Fox’s Journal is full of unconventional worshiping; he had a particular penchant for preaching from any bit of high ground he could find, like a tree or rock outcropping. His contemporary James Naylor is most remembered for re‐enacting Jesus’s Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem by dramatically riding a horse down a main road into Bristol. Modern‐day Friends continue to find unconventional places to worship…

Also, I’ve just set up a form to get on the email notification list to get pinged when topic write-ups get posted. It’s very low-volume, as we only write these once a month. There’s only two subscribers. For the time being, I’m just keeping the emails in a list and sending personalized emails.

Writing Opp: Outside the Meetinghouse (due 12/10)

Information about our upcoming March 2019 issue, “Outside the Meetinghouse.” Feature submissions are due December 10, 2018.

Friends Journal
Categories: Blogs

Political queries from an almost-Quaker

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 2:27pm

Timothy Taylor on radical objectivity:

But near what feels like an especially divisive election day, it seems worth posing his insights as a challenge for all of our partisan beliefs. While I am not a member of the Religious Society of Friends, I attended a college with Quaker roots and married a 22nd-generation Quaker. The Quakers have a term called a “query,” which refers to a question–sometimes a challenging or pointed question– that is meant to be used as a basis for additional reflection.

His list isn’t really in the style of classic Quaker queries (surprise). It’s the modern style of leading questions that get called queries. Too often this form ends up being a rather transparent attempt to impose a kind of political orthodoxy but Taylor’s questions feel refreshingly challenging and useful for whatever side or non-side one takes in politics. Hattip to Doug Bennett for the link.

Clifford Geertz and Radical Objectivity

My current office sits near the anthropologists, who have posted this comment from Clifford Geertz on the departmental…

Categories: Blogs