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Links 1 through 10 of 257 by Martin Kelley tagged quaker.witness

As a historically pacifist church, we are not always in unity about how we can counter violence—particularly violence perpetrated by nations against their own citizens.

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Common sense also dictates that we spend too much time talking about gun control and not enough time about mental illness. When will we learn to recognize and help people who are on the verge of causing so much destruction?

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 think it's fine and wonderful to organize and engage in political activism but I am not sure, now, why it's important to play the Quaker Card in doing so.  How different is this than people saying things like Jesus would oppose abortion or gay rights or outlawing plastic grocery bags? 

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So this is an invitation to an experiment. I hope that some of my readers, especially those with knowledge of our history, will be interested in joining me in fleshing out our economic history. By “economic history,” I mean a history of Quaker economic fortunes and also a history of Quaker contributions to economics and to the structure and history of capitalism as a system.

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The icon of the encounter between Quakers and the Indians is Edward Hick's "Peaceable Kingdom." In the foreground it shows the scene from Isaiah in which the lion lies down with the lamb, and the child can handle snakes and other animals without harm, and there is peace in all of God's creation. In the background, Penn is signing a peace treaty with the Indians--a peace treaty which, unlike virtually all others whites made with the Indians, was never broken. The message: the Peaceable Kingdom requires us to have peaceful and just relationship with the first people of North America (whom Penn equated with the lost tribe of Israel). This belief is at the heart of our Quaker faith.

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Each local Meeting of the Church has to determine the right balance between outward engagement and inward reflection. Some churches are more naturally inclined to a spirituality of action, while others lean more contemplative. But all of us must wrestle with how we are to live out God's call in community.

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Much of the history of Quakerism has been mythologized. For example, I personally did not have a role in the underground railroad, WW2 relief work or feeding the hungry during the potato famine (not in historical order!), but when I identify as Quaker to non-Quakers, it is these stories and more that emerge as part of that Quaker identity... I am proud of my faith community and I hope that I can live up to its reputation.

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So how has this important contributor to Quaker—and even Western—history fallen into such relative oblivion among his own people? Why did even his own contemporaries shy away from his genius? And what, if anything, does our amnesia say about Quaker culture and our testimonial relationship to the concern that most exercised him: the social organization of capitalist enterprise?

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It is almost impossible to exaggerate how important Quakers were to the transition from mercantile capitalism to industrial capitalism and to the progress of the industrial revolution itself. It is also almost impossible to exaggerate how unknown most of this incredible history is to most Friends. What is it about Quaker culture that finds this radical historical amnesia useful, given how obsessed we are with our own history?

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During the half-century since this historic speech, presidents have come and gone; political parties have waxed and waned; there have been times of open war, punctuated by intervals of "peace" and covert conflicts; the economy has seen boom and bust. Yet through it all, the size and reach of the Military Industrial Complex has steadily grown. The MIC is, among other things, the top consumer of oil and a major source of mostly unregulated toxic pollution.

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