Home > Christianity, Church, community, higher education, Jesus, Quakers > Quakers, Justice and Jesus – Part 2

Quakers, Justice and Jesus – Part 2

See Part 1 here. This is a piece I have been working on for George Fox University in its continued commitment to more fully represent the Kingdom of God.

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There is inherent in the word “church” a structure often defined by rigidity. A byproduct of institutionalization, this rigidity often carries with it negative connotations that reformation-minded people long to shatter into indistinguishable pieces from which new life might spring.

These “forms” were the very thing a young George Fox subversively exposed when he encountered the active, living Christ whose voice enlivened a soul thirsty for something more than the unimaginative and oppressive church of his time. His revelation led to a conviction that living in communion with the ever-present God required him to, “Walk cheerfully over all the earth answering that of God in everyone.”

His revelation was one defined by action, by a living connection between what one believed and how one lived in the world. His convictions resonated with the people of his time, and what came to life through this revelation cannot be categorized as just another institution; rather a movement. It was a movement that sought unity through equality; that sought truth wherever it might be found; that lived boldly in spite of the difficulties they faced, because their message was not about them – it was about the living and active Christ available to all people.

From its inception, Quakers have emphasized the immediacy of God through the work of the Holy Spirit, whom we are taught dwells within and in the midst of humanity. As people created in the image of God, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, true faith begins by recognizing the need for an intimate knowledge of the living Christ and living in such a way that values the work of the living Christ in others.

As one author has noted, “The Quaker apocalypse was a revolutionary ground swell aimed at transforming the entire society” (Gwyn, 319). This transformation was found in, among other things, the way women were valued, in relationships with Native Americans and in the abolitionist movement.

One of the earliest indications of Gospel order –  a Quaker understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ as something that rightly orders all of life – was seen in the importance role women played from the very beginnings of the Quaker movement. From its meager beginning, women were enlisted as preachers, leaders and integral to the spread of Christ’s message as far as possible.

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More coming tomorrow!

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