This week's Dangerous Quakers Handouts

From Marge Abbott

The Unity of Paradoxical Quaker Extremes

By Bill Taber, Ohio Yearly Meeting, Conservative.

Adapted from an article in FGC Focus, Feb. 1992, Friends General Conference

A careful reading of early Quaker writings up through the early 19th century shows that earlier Friends were able to combine, in dynamic, creative tension, the paradoxical extremes (both ends of the arrows radiating from the center), while later Quakers, as we have become more acculturated and intellectual, have tended to separate into ?camps? or ?parties.? Once we have separated and lost frequent contact with one another, the tendency is to take one end only of a paradoxical truth, and thus gradually become more extreme. It is as if there is something in the human, analytical mind which wants to reach the security of a point of philo-sophi-cal certainty rather than staying in the seemingly less comfortable and more dynamic flux which keeps the paradoxical extremes in some sort of creative tension.

(formatting Issues alert - imagine these words in a circle - each across from their opposite)

Jesus Christ Intuituve
Individual Inspiration Biblical
God Within +
God Beyond
Humanistic Service
Rational Outward
Universal light Experience
Corporate Inspiration

The mark in the center represents that place, in the heart of each tradition, where there is unity, and that it is possible to look beyond the boundaries and polarization and recognize one another as sisters and brothers in the faith, even beyond differences of theology, language, and culture.

Is it possible that the unquestioned power of earlier Quakerism lay in its ability to stay with the dancing, living Spirit in a place beyond the limitations of linear thinking, in a wideness of heart beyond the limitations of words and ideologies and systems?

See part two: Frances Iren Taber's Paradoxical Understandings to Hold in Creative Tension
These articles are from Resources for Fostering Vital Friends MeetingsSee also: the FGC Quaker Library
The graphic representations are available here:

and here:

I was curious.

Greetings Friend,

I have selected your Quaker blog for inclusion in the "Blogging for Worship" listings at I hope this will help bring more visitors to your blog. If you would like to return the favor and help the other quaker bloggers as well, please consider using one of the stickers available on my page.

I'm going to run a session at our Summer Gathering this year on Dangerous Quakers. I'd like to ask you a few questions and perhaps get some of the resources you have on this.

I don't have your email address, so you could perhaps email me a reply to this?

In Friendship,
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