Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sufficiency of the Light ~ Lucretia Mott

" My conviction led me to adhere to the sufficiency of the light within us, resting on truth for authority, not on authority for truth."

Enormity of Pain ~ Primo Levi

"It was not possible for us nor did we want to become islands; the just among us, neither more nor less numerous than in any other human group, felt remorse, shame and pain for the misdeeds that others and not they had committed, and in which they felt involved, because they sensed that what had happened around them and in their presence, and in them, was irrevocable. Never again could it be cleansed; it would prove that man, the human species — we, in short — had the potential to construct an enormity of pain, and that pain is the only force created from nothing, without cost and without effort. It is enough not to see, not to listen, not to act."

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Vegetarianism - Mahatma Gandhi

“It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.” 

Death then, being the Way and Condition of Life - William Penn

And this is the Comfort of the Good,
that the Grave cannot hold them,
and that they live as soon as they die.
For Death is no more than a Turning of us over
from Time to Eternity.
Nor can there be a Revolution without it;
for it supposes the Dissolution of one form,
in order to the Succession of another.
Death then, being the Way and Condition of Life,
we cannot love to live,
if we cannot bear to die.
They that love beyond the World,
cannot be separated by it.
Death cannot kill, what never dies.
Nor can Spirits ever be divided
that love and live in the same Divine Principle;
the Root and Record of their Friendship.
If Absence be not death, neither is theirs.
Death is but Crossing the World,
as Friends do the Seas;
They live in one another still.
For they must needs be present,
that love and live in that which is Omnipresent.
In this Divine Glass,
they see Face to Face;
and their Converse is Free, as well as Pure.
This is the Comfort of Friends,
that though they may be said to Die,
yet their Friendship and Society are, in the best Sense,
ever present, because Immortal.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not Ours to Give ~ Kathleen Lonsdale

"All forms of non-violent resistance are certainly much better than appeasement, which has come to mean the avoidance of violence by a surrender to injustice at the expense of the sufferings of others and not of one's self, by the giving away of something that is not ours to give."

Kathleen Lonsdale, 1953

Selfish Desire

"No relationship can be a right one which makes use of another person through selfish desire."

Advices, 1964

Vegetarianism ~ Henry David Thoreau

 "I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other...."  

"The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness; and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth"

Room of Joys ~ Thomas Traherne

"This moment exhibits infinite space, but there is a space also wherein all moments are infinitely exhibited, and the everlasting duration of infinite space is another region and room of joys. "

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Artwork by Angela Lemaire

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hold Fast that Which is Good - Margaret Fell

"Now, reader, in soberness and singleness of your heart, read this following treatise without an evil eye and a prejudiced mind. Let the truth of God have place in the heart. Let the light of Christ in your conscience seriously judge, weight the things therein contained, (according to the scriptures) prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. Look not at men, nor at the times, as they stand in relation to men, for in so doing, the god of the world will blind the eye. Look at the Lord, at His truth, and eye his dealing and dispensation of His will, according to His wisdom. Let Him be your fear. Let Him be your dread. Slight not your day of visitation of His love, for truly the Lord, whom we seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and who may abide the day of His coming.."

Simplicity of Truth ~ John Woolman

"I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom, and to commit my cause to God, not fearing to offend men, who take offence at the simplicity of truth, is the only way to remain unmoved at the sentiments of others".

~ John Woolman

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Artwork from Eric Fitch Dalglish

The Church of Tomorrow - Florence Kollock Crooker

"The Church of Tomorrow will not be of uniform doctrine or of identical organization. There will be unity of spirit, but not uniformity of creed or rite or polity. There will be variety, but not intolerance. There will be cooperation for holiness, but not conformity of theological opinion. There will be identity of ethical enthusiasm but diversity of administrations."

 Florence Kollock Crooker 1911

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Vegetarianism - Benjamin Franklin

"Quite rightly, we do not normally take the behaviour of animals as a model for how we may treat them. We would not, for example, justify tearing a cat to pieces because we had observed the cat tearing a mouse to pieces. Carnivorous fishes don’t have a choice about whether to kill other fish or not. They kill as a matter of instinct. Meanwhile, humans can choose to abstain from killing or eating fish and other animals. Alternatively, the argument could be made that is part of natural order that there are predators and prey, and so it cannot be wrong for us to play our part in this order. But this “argument from nature” can justify all kinds of inequities, including the rule of men over women and leaving the weak and the sick to fall by the wayside. "

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Staking your Whole Being ~ Ham Sok-Hon

"Discover for yourself work to do and carry out the work staking your whole being on it - then the work is rightly your mission."

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Sanctifying the World ~ Clarence Russell Skinner

"We accept the world for the joyous place it was meant to be. We like it, despite the fact that belated theologians look upon it with inherited suspicion. It is not longer "the world, the flesh and the devil," but "the world, the flesh and God." The dominant motive [of modern religion], therefore, is no longer to escape from earthly existence, but to make earthly existence as abundant and happy as it can be made. Modern religion ... must glorify, spiritualize, sanctify the world." 

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God's Reluctance - Julian of Norwich

"Pray inwardly, even if you do not enjoy it. It does good, though you feel nothing. Yes, even though you think you are doing nothing."

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness."

Vegetarianism - Leonardo da Vinci

"Truely man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs.  We live by the death of others:  we are burial places!  I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good worth Having ~Jane Addams

"We have learned to say that the good must be extended to all of society before it can be held secure by any one person or class; but we have not yet learned to add to that statement, that unless all [people] and all classes contribute to a good, we cannot even be sure that it is worth having."

Quakers executed for religious beliefs — This Day in History — 10/27/1659

Quakers executed for religious beliefs — This Day in History — 10/27/1659

Full Liberty ~ Isaac Penington (1616-1679)

"The great error of the ages of the apostacy hath been to set up an outward order and uniformity, and to make men's consciences bend thereto, either by arguments of wisdom, or by force; but the property of the true church government is, to leave the conscience to its full liberty in the Lord, to preserve it single and entire of the Lord to exercise, and to seek unity in the light and in the Spirit, walking sweetly and harmoniously together in the midst of different practices."

Isaac Penington (1616-1679)

In Act and In Sprirt ~ Herbert Hoover

"I come of Quaker stock. My ancestors were persecuted for their beliefs. Here they sought and found religious freedom. By blood and conviction I stand for religious tolerance both in act and in spirit."

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Diversity - Bluejay Adamez

"If you accept that God created everything, you have to accept that she created a universe with a great deal of diversity, with many, many ways of getting the same job done. I can look out my window and see literally hundreds of species of plants, dozens of species of birds, at night you can see big stars, little stars, and so on. Would it make sense, then, that that same God would turn around and say "you can only know me this one way, you must worship with only these sets of words, you must do things this way and no other"? I'm still thinking about that..." 

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On Being Vegetarian - Leo Tolstoy

"If he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because ...its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling - killing."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No Forms of Religion ~ John Woolman

"There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath different names; it is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion..." - John Woolman, 1761 

Vegetarianism ~Robert Louis Stevenson

"Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own. "

We Are Called ~ Norman M. Thomas

"God has called us to set forth upon a high venture. He has granted us an unforgettable vision. Tho we are weak, yet He has chosen us as pioneers of His Kingdom, fellow workers with Him. Can we possibly face this task without a profound sense of our own inadequacy? Shall we not bow ourselves before the Most High in utter humility because in wisdom, in strength and in love we come so far short of His glory? In humility and penitence will be our strength. We are not called to judge our brothers but ourselves. We are called to dedicate ourselves to truth as God gives us to see the truth. So let us press forward. Tho the night be dark around us, our faces are set toward morning; tho sorrow be our companion, ours shall be the joy of victory, for He who has given to us our heavenly vision will give us strength to be obedient unto it."
Norman M. Thomas - 1917

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Monday, October 25, 2010

I Call That Mind Free ~ William Ellery Channing

"I call that mind free which guards its intellectual rights and powers, which

  • does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith,
  • opens itself to receive new truth as an angel from heaven,
  • is not the creature of accidental impulse,
  • does not cower to human opinion,
  • which resists the bondage of habit,
  • sets no bounds to its love,
  • delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering,
  • casts out all fear save that of wrongdoing.

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A Space For God ~ Kara Newell

"Acknowledge and set aside for the period of worship all of the cares, concerns, and distractions that you bring with you whether debts, children's problems, outside noises, health, pain, disagreements, conflict, future responsibilities. Take the time to set them aside mentally for the next hour. Empty yourself, creating a space for God, the Holy Spirit, to work within."

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Artwork from

The Inner voice of Moral Guidance ~ Vincent D. Nicholson

"We would suggest, however, that the world suffers more from its politicians than from its prophets. Social progress toward the good life might move more surely if [we] would dare to credit more highly the inner voice of moral guidance..." 

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quakers and Sexuality ~ Britain Yearly Meeting

Quakers were one of the first churches to talk openly about sexuality. Since we try to live our lives respecting 'that of God' in everyone we would want to treat all people equally. We feel that the quality and depth of feeling between two people is the most important part of a loving relationship, not their gender or sexual orientation.

Britain Yearly Meeting

Fruit of the Spirit ~ Elise Boulding

"Happiness depends on the present. Joy leaps into the future and triumphantly creates a new present out of it. It is a fruit of the spirit, a gift of God - no man can own it."

~ Elsie Boulding

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life is in Flux ~ Doug Kraft

"Life itself is more like a river than a rock. Life is in flux, it changes, twists and turns, ebbs and flows. When a river encounters a boulder, the boulder may win for a while. But eventually, even the most massive stone is worn away by the currents of time." 

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The Deepest Self ~ Howard H. Brinton

"The deepest Self of all is that Self which we share with all others. This is the one Vine of which we all are branches, the Life of God on which our own individual lives are based."

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God's Way ~ Carol Reilley Urner

"I know now more firmly than ever that the way of Jesus--of Gandhi and Woolman and Fox and Penn--is the only way worth travelling. But I also have some inkling of the discipline required if we are truly to enter into God’s way. The needle’s eye is closed to those of us who hold wealth to ourselves, to the self-interested, or the self-indulgent. Our lives can be of good use in this world only if we dwell in the Spirit that was in Christ Jesus, stay in the Light, and walk firmly in the Way he showed us: the way of love, truth, identification with the poor and oppressed, poverty, non-possession, purity and humility."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Religion is Beyond all Speech - Mahatma Gandhi

"Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, so there is one true and perfect religion, but it becomes many religions as it passes through the human medium. The one Religion is beyond all speech. Imperfect men and women put it into such language as they can command and their words are interpreted by others equally imperfectly. Hence the necessity of tolerance, which does not mean indifference to one's own faith, but a more intelligent and purer love for it. True knowledge of religion breaks down barriers between faith and faith."
Mahatma Gandhi

Vegetarianism - George Bernard Shaw

"Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends. "

We are the living graves of murdered beasts,
Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.
We never pause to wonder at our feasts,
If animals, like men, can possibly have rights.
We pray on Sundays that we may have light,
To guide our footsteps on the path we tread.
We're sick of war, we do not want to fight -
The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread,
And yet - we gorge ourselves upon the dead.

Like carrion crows we live and feed on meat,
Regardless of the suffering and the pain
we cause by doing so, if thus we treat
defenceless animals for sport or gain,
how can we hope in this world to attain,
the PEACE we say we are so anxious for.
We pray for it o'er hecatombs of slain,
to God, while outraging the moral law,
thus cruelty begets its offspring - WAR.

Stand Still in the Light ~ George Fox

"Stand still in that which shows and discovers; and then doth strength immediately come. And stand still in the Light, and submit to it, and the other will be hush'd and gone; and then content comes."      George Fox, 1658

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spirituality is our Action - Peter Morales

"Every religious tradition on which we draw has a reverence for life. We are a part of an intricate web of life. Every tradition on which we draw teaches that the ultimate expression of our spirituality is our action. Deep spirituality leads to action in the world. A deep reverence for life, love of nature's complex beauty and sense of intimate connection with the cosmos leads inevitably to a commitment to work for environmental and social justice."

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On Being Tested ~ Richard M Nixon

“The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes when you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be at the highest mountain.

“Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember other may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.

“I can only say to each and every one of you, we come from many faiths, we pray perhaps to different gods, but really the same God in a sense, but I want to say for each and every one of you, not only will we always remember you, not only will we always be grateful to you but always you will be in our hearts and you will be in our prayers.

A Word of Explanation.

Normally on this blog I give no explanation for postings, this is to let the reader make up their own mind of the meaning of the post and of its worth. On this occasion, however, I do think that a word or two of explanation is necessary. Richard M Nixon was a Quaker, perhaps not a model Quaker, but a Quaker all the same. As a Quaker myself, and a pacifist, I cannot defend many of his decisions in office. I am not an American citizen, but as ‘a man of the left’, he would never have got my vote if I were. Those of us that remember his time in office remember much of it with pain and regret.  Nixon’s reputation is reflected in those websites listing ‘famous Quakers’, often run by Friends; do not have Nixon on the list, perhaps for obvious reasons, though many with less claim to the title seem to make it.

Given this I do think we need to look at Nixon the man with some charity. As a Quaker I believe ‘that of God’ is present in every human being and it is my duty to seek ‘that of God’ in all including Richard M Nixon. The quotations above come from the Farwell speech to Whitehouse staff. I, possibly like you (if you are old enough) remember watching this on television at the time it was made, though I recall little of its content at the time. On hearing the speech again some years later, at the end of the Oliver Stone movie “Nixon“; it, quite unexpectedly, reduced me to tears.

Looking now at the speech I can clearly see a man with some humility, some dignity and even some honesty. I would welcome your comments and, please read or listen to the full speech yourself.      Hay Quaker

Full text of the speech at:

Mp3 of the speech at:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Open Life ~ Douglas V. Steere

"The need is here. The fellowship is here. The power is here. Are we willing to be laid hold of by the vocation, to enter into the decision, to live under the principle, the root, to come under holy obedience, to act in the presence of God, to be kneaded into the living cells of the new order? Are we ready to come up into the power of the open life?"

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The Exercise of Cruelty ~ John Woolman

" by his breath the flame of life was kindled in all animal and sensitive creatures, to say we love God ... and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature ... was a contradiction in itself."

John Woolman, 1772

Vegetarianism - Paul McCartney

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."

Be Anything or Nothing ~ Susan B Anthony

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences."

 Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leadings of God

"Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life."

Advices and Queries

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Quakers and Sex (in 1963)

"Sexual activity is essentially neither good nor evil; it is a normal biological activity which, like most other human activities, can be indulged in destructively or creatively."

"An act which expresses true affection between two individuals and gives pleasure to them both, does not seem to us to be sinful by reason alone of the fact that it is homosexual. The same criteria seem to us to apply whether a relationship is heterosexual or homosexual."

Towards a Quaker view of Sex, 1963

Quakers and the Kindertransport ~ Elizabeth Rosenthal .

"My maternal grandfather Georg Haase in Danzig helped the Quakers by offering storage space in his house for food supplies to feed the starving children in 1918. My mother Eleonore (n ée Haase) Rosenthal, a student of education, helped with the distribution during college vacations.

When in 1938 we were desperate to leave Nazi Germany, my mother wrote to the Quakers in Manchester and called on the Friends Office in Berlin: Corder Catchpool was working there. A family in Oldham near Manchester offered hospitality to a Jewish child. The Quakers organised this for me (aged 11 at the time). They paid for me and told my mother to put me on the train with the Kindertransport at the end of February 1939. At Liverpool Street Station Quaker ladies took me to a Jewish hostel for the night and in the morning two ladies took me by car to Euston Station, showing me Buckingham Palace on the way! They put me on the train to Manchester, telling the guard to “look after the child alone on the journey”. On arrival, a party of Quakers and the English family – Mrs Daxon and her daughter Nancy, aged ten, met me and took me home to Oldham. I was deeply unhappy when my mother did not follow me after a month, as promised, although the family were kind and loving.

Some time later, in May 1939, the Quakers found work for my mother as housekeeper to an English teacher of German, who had three children, and his wife, who was in hospital. As this job was in a village near Oldham my mother was able to visit me on her free day – a great relief, our lives saved by the work of the Quakers."

This is part of one of the many personal stories to be found at  Well worth a visit.

Vegetarianism - Albert Einstein

"Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

Monday, October 18, 2010

The First Quaker in Australia

The first Quaker on Australian soil was Sydney Parkinson, an artist employed by the botanist Joseph Banks, sailing with James Cook. They landed briefly in 1770. It was not until 1832 that the Society first took root in Australia, as a result of a visit by two English Friends, James Backhouse and George Washington Walker,  sent by British friends on a six-year journey around south-east Australia to enquire into the condition of the penal settlements, the welfare of the Aborigines and free settlers.

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Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse 1816

The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse is the focus of a major community preservation effort designed to stabilize and preserve the building, restore it to its historic appearance, and donate it to an appropriate historical agency for use as an educational and tourism center to interpret the nationally important history of Farmington as a site important to woman’s rights, Quakers and Native Americans, and abolitionism and the Underground Railroad, reflecting national debates about American ideals of equality.
The 1816 Farmington Quaker Meeting is nationally important for its association with major reform movements before the Civil War, including the woman’s rights movement, Native American rights, and the Underground Railroad. Famous Americans associated with this meetinghouse include Lucretia Mott, Austin Steward, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony.

Read the full item at

Vegetarianism - Isaac Bashevis Singer

"I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens."
 ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

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Evil ~ William Penn

"A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it."

William Penn, 1693

Nothing to fear in Difference ~ Adlai Stevenson

"I think one of our most important tasks is to convince others that there’s nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics without which life would become meaningless. Here lies the power of the liberal way: not in making the whole world Unitarian, but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one’s own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination."

- Adlai Stevenson

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