Posted by: Ken Brown | December 3, 2008

I’m a Quaker?

Sorry about the lack of posting, lately. I’ve been out touring the world, meeting famous people, climbing Everest…. ok, really I’ve been busy with family and the end of the semester, but after the 12th I’ll be done with course work–for good!–so that’s something. Then all I’ll have left is my thesis… speaking of things I’ve been too busy to work on.

So with all that extra time I don’t have, I wasted a bit of it on the “Belief-O-Matic,” which has been making the rounds of late. As all such questionnaires, this one is almost entirely useless, as I’m inclined to choose “none of the above” for almost every question, but I still can’t figure out how I got a 100% for “Orthodox Quaker.” To be honest, some days I’m not even sure I’m Orthodox, and don’t know that I’ve ever even met an Quaker. Still, the summary at Beliefnet doesn’t sound half bad. Anyway, here’s my top 5:

1. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (94%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (83%)
4. Seventh Day Adventist (80%)
5. Eastern Orthodox (79%)

You can take the quiz yourself here.

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Responses

  1. Ken,

    You’ve met kind-of-a-quaker as we have briefly met.

    After being asked to leave a Baptist church in younger days, I was a member of a Quaker meeting for about four years.

    Orhtodox Quaker? That’s tricky as Quakers traditionally reject doctrine. Perhaps you do to, or maybe the test id flawed. Guess I’ll have to take it too and see.

  2. Glad I can spell *Orthodox*

  3. Well if it puts me in your company, I’ll take it as a compliment! 😉

    As for rejecting doctrine, I’m curious what you mean. Surely they don’t reject all doctrine, as that would mean total agnosticism. But if they merely reject the notion that one’s theology is the most important aspect of one’s faith, then I’d probably agree.

  4. How anyone can NOT be agnostic?

  5. If by agnostic, you mean there are many things you doubt or find unprovable, then everyone is an agnostic, but no one can be a complete agnostic. Even the claim that the infinite is unknowable is, ultimately, a doctrinal statement. Certainly anyone who claims to be a Christian must make some doctrinal statements (about God, Christ, the nature of the humanity and the church, etc.), even if their views are held lightly.

    In the end, I tend to think of faith and doubt as complements rather than opposites: you doubt based on what you believe.

  6. “…then everyone is an agnostic, but no one can be a complete agnostic.”

    That’s exactly what I mean, how can one not be agnostic?

  7. Keep in mind, there are 2 main kinds of Quakers: liberal Quakers and christocentric Quakers. Christocentric or Christian Quakers have pastors and offices and look like Evangelicals who talk about peace. The PC term in Quakerdom is “programmed meeting”. As the pastor(s) set up a worship service with music and preaching

    Liberal Quakers, the kind of meeting I went to, are more traditional in practice, but not necessarily in belief. The Quakerdom term is “unprogrammed meeting” as these meeting have no set program (nor a pastor to do the programming). Worship at an unprogrammed meeting consists of silent, prayerful meditation occasionally interrrupted by someone who feels compelled to share what the spirit has laid on them. This is traditional Quaker worship.

    However, while this is the outward form of Quakerism. It is not the historic confession. Historically, Quakers were Christians. They were believers in Jesus who dissented from the standards of proper society in Britain. Modern Quakerism is generally split, the traditional theology is still found in Christian Quaker meetings. But the traditional form of worship exists in unprogrammed meetings, which are by-and-large unconfessional.

    There are Christian Quakers who hold unprogrammed meetings. And there are believers in unprogrammed meetings. But, the great majority of meetings are as I have described them.

    As far as Quaker doctrine, depends what kind of Quaker you ask. At a programmed meeting, you’ll hear doctrine that sounds similar to mainline Protestant thought. At an unprogrammed meeting, the only thing that everyone will agree on is “that there is that of God in everyone, and inner or inward light”. Any furhter kind of creed or doctrine is outright rejected. That’s not to say that they don’t think about God, but those thoughts are simply ideas. Any compulsion to make them normative for Quakers would be unQuakerly.

  8. Anon,
    I suppose we agree; but I’ll have to remain agnostic unless you can be more specific.

    hebrewandgreekreader,
    Very interesting. So I suppose by “Orthodox Quaker” it must mean traditional Christian Quaker. I still find it odd that it would assign me to that category (then again, it labled James a Neo-Pagan!), but I suppose I can’t complain. I wonder what it would make of the fact that I’m a deacon at a Reformed church? 😉

  9. A Christian Quaker who worships in an unprogrammed meeting and is creedless. Quite a rareity


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