This, the last episode of season 2, is from Traditional Quaker Christianity‘s section 3J, titled Knowing Christ in Us. We’re looking at two readings from George Fox’s Journal.
Sure Word of Prophecy
In the first, Fox relates hearing a priest in a steeple-house preach that we have “a more sure Word of prophecy” and then claim that that “sure Word” is (wait for it) the Bible. Y’all, didn’t we cover in episode 1 that Christ is the Word? Right, so back to that. Christ in us is our guide. Fox, being Fox, does what we’ve all come to expect (say it with us now): he interrupted the priest. Right. He explains that the Scriptures can’t be read right without the Spirit, and so the Spirit is the “more sure Word.” As an example, he gives Jews who had the Scriptures and yet did not conclude that that Jesus guy who died last week was the Messiah.
Now, this is the part where we need to pause and comment on Fox’s references to Jews and the Gospel of John’s references to Jews. First off, we do not endorse any antisemitic readings of Scripture. We also acknowledge that antisemitism tainted Fox’s writings. Quakers, especially early Quakers, are fond of the Gospel of John. Unfortunately, John sloppily shorthanded “the Jews” when referring to a small elite (like saying “the Catholics” when you mean the Pope and some cardinals) within Judaism, and that opened the door to later Christian persecution of Jews. That persecution continues today. Hey, look, another reason it’s important to read the Bible in the Spirit it was given (for example, in context) rather than all willy-nilly.
Ok, ok “bibliolatry” is 11 letters, not 9. Don’t @ me. I will be very impressed if you use it in Scrabble. Take a photo of that if you do.
Taking the Bible seriously and taking the Bible literally are not the same thing.
Christ in us, the body as the Temple of God
This time, Fox tells the people that the church building (what he’d call a steeple-house) is not God’s dwelling place. No, God’s dwelling place is in each person. There is Christ in us. He tells them to give up Jewish customs (such as the mikvah of baptism) and heathenish customs. “Heathenish customs” can be him just plain insulting Catholicism for the way it remixed Pagan cultural festivals to aid conversion. It could also be the really obviously Pagan traditions that were still hanging around in the 17th century without a Catholic reimagining, such as midsummer bonfires (which Mackenzie mixed up with Beltane bonfires—oops). Examples of Catholic reimaginings of Pagan practices would be things like Christmas trees.
Mackenzie also mixed up Hezekiah versus Haggai. This was the last episode out of like 9 we recorded that day. The brain was a little fried. They both start with H and are names in the Bible.
Pagan things Quakers don’t do
(Or at least, at some point we didn’t do them) Christmas trees and the Easter Bunny are not Quaker traditions. Having holidays like Christmas and Easter set aside, versus parts of Jesus’ life we just remember all the time, is not a Quaker tradition. Plenty do nowadays, but traditionally, they’re not our bag. And then there are the Pagan names of the days of the week:
- Sun’s day
- Moon’s day
- Tyr’s day
- Woden’s day
- Thor’s day
- Freya’s day
- Saturn’s day
Micah admits to celebrating Lent. *gasp* Very few Quakers today actually name the days of the week as “first day,” “second day,” etc. and months as “first month,” “second month,” etc. outside of official meeting records. Actually carrying on conversations that way seems to be a peculiarity of Conservative Friends.
We’re not actually as puritanical as our reputation would suggest. Even the ones that are still hardcore about no pagan influences? They’re just kinda weird.
No, I don’t know what next episode will be on. We have two weeks to figure that out and record the next one. So…surprise for you and us!
- Down by the Riverside
- Haggai 1:8