Enjoy two radio programmes on the father of Quakerism George Fox:
True godliness don’t turn men out of the world but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavours to mend it…
William Penn, 1682
[*23.02 Quaker Faith & practice (‘The book of Christian discipline of the Religious Society of Friends)]
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Simplicity and equality
The heart of Quaker ethics is summed up in the word ‘simplicity’. Simplicity is forgetfulness of self and remembrance of our humble status as waiting servants of God. Outwardly, simplicity is shunning superfluities of dress, speech, behaviour, and possessions, which tend to obscure our vision of reality. Inwardly, simplicity is spiritual detachment from the things of this world as part of the effort to fulfil the first commandment: to love God with all of the heart and mind and strength.
The testimony of outward simplicity began as a protest against the extravagance and snobbery which marked English society in the 1600s. In whatever forms this protest is maintained today, it must still be seen as a testimony against involvement with things which tend to dilute our energies and scatter our thoughts, reducing us to lives of triviality and mediocrity.
Simplicity does not mean drabness or narrowness but is essentially positive, being the capacity for selectivity in one who holds attention on the goal. Thus simplicity is an appreciation of all that is helpful towards living as children of the Living God.
Faith and practice, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), 1985
“Quakers, for coming out of a roughly Puritan, Protestant, non-conformist and gospel-focused mileu, are remarkably mystical and meditative in style of prayer and worship, again following the leading that all of life is sacramental, and no cleric has a monopoly on the access to the divine word speaking to the human soul. Individual Quakers’ lives testify to this.” Richard J. Foster – - – ‘Foster deliberately speaks to a much wider audience’ (QuakerInfo.com) This author of 70s popular classic Celebration of Disipline works to share his insights on mysticism and ‘spiritual formation’ with mainstream America. He appears in a video introduction to a new book Sanctuary of the Soul (link below) – where he describes a pilgrimage to Northumbrian communities. He’s remarkably quiet about his Quaker roots perhaps so as not to alienate, but his books abound in Quaker quotes –the last words of the 5 min talk (youtube link below – new window) is straight from the mouth of George Fox.