On this date in 1553 (Oct. 27th), Michael Servetus was burned at the stake in #Geneva, Switzerland. #Humanist. #Rationalist. #Antitrinitarian. Physician. Theologian. Opponent of infant baptism. Condemned by Protestants as well as Catholics. It was the Protestants who finally captured him and ordered his execution. Servetus observed that the doctrine of the “trinity” is not based on the Bible, for the term and the concept are nowhere to be found in the text. He said trinitarians have turned Christianity into a belief in three gods. No matter how much they try to explain otherwise, orthodox Christians are actually polytheists. He advocated a return to the gospel simplicity that pre-dated the trinitarian formulations of the creeds, in the hopes that Christians could find common ground with the Jews and the Moslems who have preserved the truth of God’s unity. Servetus never joined the Anabaptist movement, but many of his views were certainly influenced by his interactions with Anabaptist radicals in Strasbourg during his time there. He was about 42 years old at the time of his martyrdom.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes/Martyrs Series.

L'immagine può contenere: 1 persona

This Day In History: October 27, 1659

Mary_dyerAlthough the Puritans partially came to America to escape religious persecution, there was an abundance of it to be found in the Massachusetts Bay Colony… except it was them doling it out this time. On the receiving end were the Quakers- members of the Religious Society of Friends, a group that the Puritan leaders generally felt represented the pinnacle of heresy.

The Quakers first came to the American colonies when 8 members of the religious sect arrived in Boston aboard the Speedwell on July 27, 1656. The following year, another 11 arrived aboard the Woodhouse.

The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony certainly didn’t roll out the Welcome Wagon. In fact, they promptly arrested the Quakers upon arrival. Undeterred, the Friends were unapologetic in their efforts to spread their flavor of Christianity.

To try to solve the problem, the Puritans passed laws to deter more Quakers from entering the colony. Shipmasters could be fined for giving them passage; Quakers could be stripped to the waist then whipped and imprisoned; and several Quakers had their ears cut off.

It didn’t work. The Quakers kept right on coming back, continuing to spread their message. In fact, the colony’s soon to be chief Quaker nemesis, Mary Dyer, specifically came to the colony because of the persecution, wanting to support her fellow Friends in their time of need.

As a result, on October 19, 1658, Massachusetts lawmakers passed more legislation to show that they really meant business. From then on any Quaker who’d been banished would be executed if they dared to return to the colony. Given that just being a Quaker was a banishable offense, this effectively made it so that the colony had a two strike and you’re out death penalty policy towards Quakers.

By the following year, with much trepidation by some in the community, they got to take the law for a test run. William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephenson, and the aforementioned Mary Dyer had all been banished in September of 1659; but, “moved by God,” to come to try to stop the Quaker persecution in the colony and spread their teachings, they all three returned about a month later. All three were sentenced to death by hanging.

Their date with the gallows was set as October 27, 1659. Robinson and Stephenson were led from the jail while Dyer emerged from the House of Correction. The older woman stood between the younger men and held their hands as they walked toward, not the Boston Common as you’ll often read, but the Boston Neck near the present day intersection of Washington and West Dedham Street.

There was an immense crowd of people gathered around the tree that served as a gallows for Boston’s condemned, and many didn’t take kindly to Mary’s scandalous hand-holding with two men that were not her husband. Dyer reportedly responded to this complaint by stating, “It is an hour of the greatest joy I can enjoy in this world. No eye can see, no ear can hear, no tongue can speak, no heart can understand the sweet incomes and refreshings of the spirit of the Lord which now I enjoy.”

William Robinson was the first to ascend the ladder next to the tree limb that secured his noose. Then the support was pulled away and his execution was soon complete. Marmaduke Stephenson went next.

Finally, Mary Dyer stood with her own noose around her neck. Her arms, legs, and skirts were bound (the latter for modesty’s sake). Lastly, a handkerchief was placed over her eyes.

But it was not the end for her; the leaders of the colony did not want to execute a woman simply for being a Quaker.

Instead, she was granted a last minute reprieve. In a pre-arranged decision, unbeknownst to her, said leaders decided to give Dyer 48 hours to skedaddle out of Massachusetts. They had simply wanted to give her a good scare to show Dyer they were serious, and hopefully rid themselves of her for good without having to kill her.

Dyer was not unknown to them and had previously been run out of the colony for matters unrelated to being a Quaker.  She was a former Puritan member of the colony (arriving in 1635) before getting caught up on the losing side of the 1636-1638 “Antinomian Controversy,” among other things centering around the issue of whether salvation was given via “free grace” rather than one’s works being counted for or against you. The idea of “free grace,” among other ideas proposed by the dissenters, was seen as heresy by the town leaders. They would later use Dyer giving birth to a “monstrous” stillborn baby on October 11, 1637 as evidence of God’s wrath against her heresy.

In fact, when then Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop found out about the secret stillborn birth that had been kept quiet specifically because of the deformities, he even went so far as to take a mob of about “100” people to dig the baby up. Beyond spreading the word of the deformities far and wide to support his cause, Winthrop also described what he found in his journal:

 It was of ordinary bigness; it had a face, but no head, and the ears stood upon the shoulders and were like an ape’s; it had no forehead, but over the eyes four horns, hard and sharp; two of them were above one inch long, the other two shorter; the eyes standing out, and the mouth also; the nose hooked upward; all over the breast and back full of sharp pricks and scales, like a thornback, the navel and all the belly, with the distinction of the sex, were where the back should be, and the back and hips before, where the belly should have been; behind, between the shoulders, it had two mouths, and in each of them a piece of red flesh sticking out; it had arms and legs as other children; but, instead of toes, it had on each foot three claws, like a young fowl, with sharp talons.

Needless to say, historians think his various accounts were exaggerated to support his position.

Whatever the case, Mary Dyer and her husband, along with many others, were subsequently run out of town via banishment or in many cases simply being disarmed and shunned within the colony until they decided to leave. About fifteen years later in 1652, she returned to England, ultimately met George Fox (the founder of the Quaker sect) and converted. She headed back to the New World in 1657, bringing us back to Dyer’s mock execution and subsequent reprieve.

While you might think she’d be happy about not being hanged, nothing could have been further from the truth. The next day she wrote to the General Court stating,

My life is not accepted, neither availeth me, in comparison with the lives and liberty of the Truth and Servants of the living God for which in the Bowels of Love and Meekness I sought you; yet nevertheless with wicked Hands have you put two of them to Death, which makes me to feel that the Mercies of the Wicked is cruelty; I rather chuse to Dye than to live, as from you, as Guilty of their Innocent Blood.

Death was simply not something she feared so the scare tactic didn’t work on her.

However, Dyer did leave for a time, seeking shelter along with other Quakers at the appropriately named Shelter Island, owned by Nathaniel Sylvester. But eventually she decided to go back to push the matter further. In the interim, other Quakers had been arrested for violating their banishment, but the colony was hesitant to hang them owing to the public outcry the previous hangings had created back across the pond. Given this, Dyer felt that by returning to the colony, it would either force the leaders to change the law concerning executing Quakers or they’d be forced to execute a woman for no other crime than being a Quaker. And as executing male Quakers had been controversial, doing the same to her would be a PR nightmare for the colony.

In May of 1660, she arrived back in the colony. A little over a week later, Dyer was brought before Governor John Endicott, at which point the following conversation was recorded:

Endicott: Are you the same Mary Dyer that was here before?

Dyer: I am the same Mary Dyer that was here the last General Court

Endicott: You will own yourself a Quaker, will you not?

Dyer: I own myself to be reproachfully so called.

Endicott: Sentence was passed upon you the last General Court; and now likewise–You must return to the prison, and there remain till to-morrow at nine o’clock; then thence you must go to the gallows and there be hanged till you are dead.

Dyer: This is no more than what thou saidst before

Endicott: But now it is to be executed. Therefore prepare yourself to-morrow at nine o’clock.

Dyer: I came in obedience to the will of God the last General Court, desiring you to repeal your unrighteous laws of banishment on pain of death; and that same is my work now, and earnest request, although I told you that if you refused to repeal them, the Lord would send others of his servants to witness against them.

And so it was that on June 1, 1660, she once again found herself with a noose around her neck. But the leaders of the colony still didn’t want to hang her, offering her a chance to escape the hanging if she’d just repent her wicked ways. She reportedly responded, “Nay, I cannot; for in obedience to the will of the Lord God I came, and in his will I abide faithful to the death.”

When she was then told her blood was on her own head, she reportedly stated,

Nay, I came to keep bloodguiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law of banishment upon pain of death, made against the innocent servants of the Lord, therefore my blood will be required at your hands who willfully do it; but for those that do is in the simplicity of their hearts, I do desire the Lord to forgive them. I came to do the will of my Father, and in obedience to his will I stand even to the death.

Finally, the support was kicked out from under her and the colony was rid of Mary Dyer once and for all.

This didn’t have the intended outcome the Puritan leaders were going for. News of the execution of Mary Dyer spread like wildfire all the way back to England and as a result of this particular brand of religious persecution (including the later hanging of Quaker William Leddra), King Charles II stepped in and in 1661 put the kibosh on the practice of executing or arresting people just because they were Quaker.

As a way around this, the “Cart and Tail Law” was passed in the colony where instead of arresting the Quakers for being Quaker, the Quakers would simply be stripped to the waist, then dragged through town behind a cart while being whipped. They could then potentially be dragged to another town within the colony to receive the same treatment. This was repeated until they’d find themselves unceremoniously deposited in a bloody heap outside of the colony where they were let go. Unfortunately, not everyone survived the transport method.

This eventually drew the attention of the rulers back in England and further decrees were sent over forbidding such atrocities. However, there are accounts of such acts continuing for a few decades after until popular sentiment, along with a string of royal decrees, more or less ended this sort of overt legal persecution of the Quakers.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy subscribing to our new Daily Knowledge YouTube channel, as well as:

Update-Northwest YM Gay Expulsion: The Power In Posing The QuestionHow does a group in power get what it wants from a divided Quaker body, given the practice of seeking “unity” or a near-unanimous “consensus” for action?It’s not hard, and we’ll get to how it can be done in a moment. First, some background:As reported in…

via Update-Northwest YM Gay Expulsion: The Power In Posing The Question — A Friendly Letter

25.10.2016 Democracy Now!

This post is also available in: Italian

Belgian Socialist Region Threatens to Block Major EU-Canada Trade Deal
(Image by Jean-Paul Grandmont, Wikimedia Commons)

A major trade deal between the European Union and Canada appears to be on the brink of collapse, after Belgium announced it would not sign the treaty amid massive local opposition in three regions of Belgium. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as CETA, was expected to be signed this week. It requires the support of all 28 European Union countries to be approved, but on Monday Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he could not sign the agreement, because of opposition led by Belgium’s socialist-run Wallonia region, where residents are demanding stronger labor, health and environmental protections.

Madea on Halloween–Boo!Went to see this movie at the Tuesday bargain matinee. The film was the surprise box office winner for films that opened last weekend.My goal for it was twofold:1. Pig out on popcorn (no added “butter,” free refill); and2. Be distracted from the fearful foolishness outside.I’m aware that there are some black sophisticates…

via Madea on Halloween–Boo! — A Friendly Letter

Quaccheri cristiani ecumenici per fare il bene

Happy birthday, Joseph Hofer (Oct. 25, 1894 – Nov. 29, 1918)! #Hutterite. #Pacifist. Conscientious objector. Martyr. Born in the Rockport Colony, Alexandria, South Dakota. In the spring of 1918, Joseph was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Camp Lewis, Washington state. He was joined by two brothers, Michael and David, as well as a brother-in-law, Jacob Wipf. Upon arrival, the four Hutterites refused to put on the military uniform or cooperate with any orders. They were promptly court-martialed and sentenced to 20 years at Alcatraz (San Francisco, California). While imprisoned, the men endured terrible mistreatment and even torture. In November they were transported to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. By this time, as a result of malnutrition and exposure to the elements, Joseph and Michael were extremely sick. Joseph died Nov. 29, and Michael died Dec. 2. David was released so he could accompany the…

View original post 26 more words

The Marginal Mennonite Society’s

Pacifist Reading List

50 pacifists, 65 books

A publication of the Marginal Mennonite Society Tract & Propaganda Department.

Compiled by Charlie Kraybill on behalf of the Marginal Mennonite Society.

Visit www.facebook.com/marginalmennonitesociety and “like” us.

Last revised Oct. 24, 2016.

The MMS Pacifist Reading List 2016

(sorted chronologically by pacifist’s date of birth)


CONRAD BEISSEL (March 1, 1691 – July 6, 1768). Founder of the Ephrata Commune in Ephrata, PA. Pacifist. Born in Eberbach, Germany. Buried in the Ephrata Cloister Cemetery.

The Ephrata Commune: An Early American Counterculture by E.G. Alderfer (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1985).

~     ~     ~


JOHN WOOLMAN (Oct. 19, 1720 – Oct. 7, 1772). Quaker preacher. Abolitionist. Journalist. Mystic. Pacifist. Born in Burlington, NJ. Died in York, England. Buried in York, England.

The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman by John Woolman (edited by Phillips P. Moulton) (Friends United Press, 1971).

~     ~     ~


“MOTHER” ANN LEE (Feb. 29, 1736 – Sept. 8, 1784). Founder of the Shaker communities. Mystic. Pacifist. Born in Manchester, England. Died in Watervliet, NY. Buried in the Shaker Cemetery, Colonie, NY.

Ann the Word: The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah, Mother of the Shakers, the Woman Clothed with the Sun by Richard Francis (Arcade Publishing, 2000).

~     ~     ~

Elias Hicks

~     ~     ~


ELIAS HICKS (March 19, 1748 – Feb. 27, 1830). Quaker preacher. Abolitionist. Universalist. War tax resister. Pacifist. Born in Hempstead, New York. Died in Jericho, NY. Buried in Jericho, NY.

Elias Hicks: A Controversial Quaker by Simon Webb (The Langley Press, 2010).

~     ~     ~


GEORGE RAPP (Nov. 1, 1757 – Aug. 7, 1847). Founder of the Harmony Society. Mystic. Pacifist. Born in Iptingen, Germany. Died in Economy, PA.

Utopian Communities in America 1680-1880 by Mark Holloway (Dover Publications, 1966; orig. published 1951).

~     ~     ~


SARAH MOORE GRIMKE (Nov. 26, 1792 – Dec. 23, 1873). Quaker. Abolitionist. Suffragist. Pacifist. Born in South Carolina. Died in Boston, MA. Buried in Mattapan, MA.

The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers for Women’s Rights and Abolition by Gerda Lerner (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2004; orig. published 1967).

LUCRETIA MOTT (Jan. 3, 1793 – Nov. 11, 1880). Quaker minister. Suffragist. Abolitionist. Pacifist. Born in Nantucket, MA. Died in Cheltenham, PA. Buried in Philadelphia, PA.

Lucretia Mott’s Heresy: Abolition and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America by Carol Faulkner (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).

~     ~     ~

Lucretia Mott

~     ~     ~


ADIN BALLOU (April 23, 1803 – Aug. 5, 1890). Unitarian minister. Universalist. Socialist. Abolitionist. Communitarian. Pacifist. Born in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Died in Hopedale, MA. Buried in Hopedale.

Christian Non-Resistance by Adin Ballou (Blackstone Editions, 2003; orig. published 1846).

ANGELINA GRIMKE (Feb. 20, 1805 – Oct. 26, 1879). Quaker. Suffragist. Abolitionist. Pacifist. Born in Charleston, SC. Died in Hyde Park, MA. Buried in Mattapan, MA.

Lift Up Thy Voice: The Sarah and Angelina Grimke Family’s Journey from Slaveholders to Civil Rights Leaders by Mark Perry (Penguin Books, 2002).

WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON (Dec. 12, 1805 – May 24, 1879). Abolitionist. Suffragist. Journalist. Pacifist. Born in Newburyport, MA. Died in New York City. Buried in Jamaica Plain, MA.

All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery by Henry Mayer (W.W. Norton & Company, 2008).

MARTHA COFFIN WRIGHT (Dec. 25, 1806 – Jan. 4, 1875). Quaker. Abolitionist. Suffragist. Pacifist. Born in Boston, MA. Died in Boston, MA. Buried in Auburn, NY.

A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women’s Rights by Sharon Penney (Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 2004).

~     ~     ~


LEO TOLSTOY (Sept. 9, 1828 – Nov. 20, 1910). Novelist. Philosopher. Anarchist. Social reformer. Pacifist. Born in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Died in Lipetsk Oblast, Russia. Buried in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia.

The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy (Watchmaker Publishing, 2010; orig. published 1893).

~     ~     ~


BELVA LOCKWOOD (Oct. 24, 1830 – May 19, 1917). Suffragist. Educator. Lawyer. Politician. Pacifist. Born in Royalton, NY. Died in Washington, D.C. Buried in Washington, D.C.

Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President by Jill Norgren (NYU Press, 2007).

CYRUS PRINGLE (May 6, 1838 – May 25, 1911). Quaker. Botanist. Conscientious objector. Pacifist. Born in East Charlotte, VT. Buried in Charlotte.

The Record of a Quaker Conscience, Cyrus Pringle’s Diary by Cyrus Pringle (MacMillan, 1918).

~     ~     ~


BELLE CASE LA FOLLETTE (April 21, 1859 – Aug. 18, 1931). Suffragist. Lawyer. Peace activist. Pacifist. Born in Summit, WI. Died in Washington, D.C. Buried in Madison, WI.

Belle: The Biography of Belle Case La Follette by Lucy Freeman, Sherry La Follette, and George A. Zabriskie (iUniverse, 2001; orig. published 1986 by Beaufort Books).

~     ~     ~

Jane Addams

~     ~     ~


JANE ADDAMS (Sept. 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935). Unitarian. Suffragist. Social worker. Peace activist. Philosopher. Sociologist. Pacifist. Born in Cedarville, IL. Died in Chicago, IL. Buried in Cedarville, IL.

American Heroine: The Life & Legend of Jane Addams by Allen F. Davis (Ivan R. Dee, 2000; orig. published 1973).

Jane Addams: Spirit in Action by Louise W. Knight (W.W. Norton & Company, 2010).

RUFUS M. JONES (Jan. 25, 1863 – June 16, 1948). Quaker. Theologian. Historian. Mystic. Philosopher. Professor. Pacifist. Born in South China, Maine. Died in Haverford, PA. Buried in Haverford.

Spiritual Reformers in the 16th & 17th Centuries by Rufus M. Jones (orig. published by MacMillan, 1914).

The Faith and Practice of the Quakers by Rufus M. Jones (Friends United Press, 2007; orig. published 1927).

LILLIAN D. WALD (March 10, 1867 – Sept. 1, 1940). Suffragist. Social reformer. Humanitarian. Nurse. Pacifist. Born in Cincinnati, OH. Died in Westport, CT. Buried in Rochester, NY.

Always a Sister: The Feminism of Lillian D. Wald by Doris Groshen Daniels (The Feminist Press at CUNY, 1995; orig. published 1989).

Lillian Wald: A Biography by Marjorie N. Feld (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2008).

MOHANDAS GANDHI (Oct. 2, 1869 – Jan. 30, 1948). Revolutionary. Humanitarian. Philosopher. Independence leader. Anti-poverty advocate. Tolstoyan. Pacifist. Born in Porbandar, India. Assassinated in New Delhi, India.

The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mohandas Gandhi (Dover Publications, 1983; orig. published 1927/29).

Gandhi the Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World by Eknath Easwaran (Nilgiri Press, 1997).

~     ~     ~


PETER MAURIN (May 9, 1877 – May 15, 1949). Co-founder of the Catholic Worker. Social activist. Anarchist. Pacifist. Born in Saint-Julien-du-Tournel, France. Died in Newburgh, NY. Buried in Queens, NY.

Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World by Dorothy Day (Orbis Books, 2004).

~     ~     ~

Jeanette Rankin

~     ~     ~


JEANETTE RANKIN (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973). Suffragist. Civil rights activist. Anti-war activist. Pacifist. Born in Missoula, MT. Died in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. Buried in Missoula, MT.

Jeannette Rankin: America’s Conscience by Norma Smith (Montana Historical Society Press, 2002).

HELEN KELLER (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968). Suffragist. Socialist. Lecturer. Anti-war activist. Pacifist. Born in Tuscumbia, AL. Died in Easton, CT. Buried in Washington, D.C.

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (Bantam Classics, 1990; orig. published 1903).

Light In My Darkness by Helen Keller (Chrysalis Books, 2000; orig. published 1927).

SYLVIA PANKHURST (May 5, 1882 – Sept. 27, 1960). Suffragist. Artist. Pacifist. Born in Manchester, England. Died in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Buried in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire by Katherine Connelly (Pluto Press, 2013).

SCOTT NEARING (Aug. 6, 1883 – Aug. 24, 1983). Socialist. Economist. Educator. War tax resister. Simple living advocate. Pacifist. Born in Morris Run, PA. Died in Harborside, ME.

The Making of a Radical: A Political Autobiography by Scott Nearing (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2000; orig. published 1972).

BETTY CADBURY BOEKE (April 28, 1884 – 1976). Quaker. Advocate for simple living. War tax resister. Pacifist. Born in Birmingham, England.

Beatrice: The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune by Fiona Joseph (Foxwell Press, 2012).

A.J. MUSTE (Jan. 8, 1885 – Feb. 11, 1967). Quaker minister. Labor activist. Anti-war activist. Civil rights activist. War tax resister. Pacifist. Born in Zierikzee, Netherlands. Died in New York City.

American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century by Leilah Danielson (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).

~     ~     ~


VERA BRITTAIN (Dec. 29, 1893 – March 29, 1970). Feminist. Novelist. Poet. Pacifist. Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England. Died in Wimbledon, London, England.

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (Penguin Classics, 2005; orig. published 1933).

One Voice: Pacifist Writings from the Second World War by Vera Brittain (Bloomsbury Academic, 2005).

ALDOUS HUXLEY (July 26, 1894 – Nov. 22, 1963). Agnostic. Novelist. Philosopher. Mystic. Consciousness researcher. Universalist. Pacifist. Born in Godalming, England. Died in L.A., CA. Buried in Compton, England.

The Divine Within: Selected Writings on Enlightenment by Aldous Huxley (Harper Perennial, 2013; orig. published 1992).

BENJAMIN MAYS (Aug. 1, 1894 – March 28, 1984). Baptist minister. Sociologist. Educator. Social activist. Pacifist. Born in Ninety Six, SC. Died in Atlanta, GA. Buried in Atlanta.

Born to Rebel: An Autobiography by Benjamin Mays (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2003; orig. published 1971).

Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography by Randal Maurice Jelks (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2012).

DOROTHY DAY (Nov. 8, 1897 – Nov. 29, 1980). Co-founder of the Catholic Worker. Pacifist. Born in Brooklyn, NY. Died in Manhattan, NY. Buried on Staten Island, NY.

Loaves and Fishes by Dorothy Day (Orbis Books, reprint edition, 2003: orig. published 1963).

The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day by Dorothy Day (edited by Robert Ellsberg) (Image Books, 2008).

All the Way to Heaven: The Selected Letters of Dorothy Day by Dorothy Day (edited by Robert Ellsberg) (Marquette Univ. Press, 2010).

All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day by Jim Forest (Orbis Books, 2011).

HOWARD THURMAN (Nov. 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981). Baptist minister. Theologian. Educator. Philosopher. Civil rights activist. Gandhian. Pacifist. Born in Daytona Beach, FL. Died in San Francisco, CA.

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman (Beacon Press, reprint edition, 2012; orig. published 1949).

With Head and Heart: The Autobiography of Howard Thurman by Howard Thurman (Mariner Books, 1981; orig. published 1979).

~     ~     ~

Dorothy Day

~     ~     ~


AVA HELEN PAULING (Dec. 24, 1903 – Dec. 7, 1981). Human rights activist. Anti-nuclear activist. Pacifist. Born in Beavercreek, OR. Died in Portola Valley, CA. Ashes buried in Lake Oswego, OR.

Ava Helen Pauling: Partner, Activist, Visionary by Mina Carson (Oregon State Univ. Press, 2013).

HELEN NEARING (Feb. 23, 1904 – Sept. 17, 1995). Advocate of simple living. War tax resister. Pacifist. Born in Ridgewood, NJ. Died in Harborside, ME.

Loving and Leaving the Good Life by Helen Nearing (Chelsea Green Publishing, 1993).

ABRAHAM J. HESCHEL (Jan. 11, 1907 – Dec. 23, 1972). Rabbi. Theologian. Philosopher. Civil rights activist. Pacifist. Born in Warsaw, Poland. Died in New York City.

The Prophets by Abraham J. Heschel (Harper Perennial Classics, 2001; orig. published 1962).

FRANZ JAGERSTATTER (May 20, 1907 – Aug. 9, 1943). Conscientious objector. Pacifist. Born in Sankt Radegund, Austria. Martyred in Brandenburg-Gorden Prison, Germany.

In Solitary Witness: Life and Death of Franz Jagerstatter by Gordon Zahn (Templegate, 1986; orig. published 1964).

~     ~     ~

Bayard Rustin

~     ~     ~


BAYARD RUSTIN (March 17, 1912 – Aug. 24, 1987). Quaker. Civil rights strategist. Socialist. Gay rights activist. Pacifist. Born in West Chester, PA. Died in New York City.

Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio (Free Press, 2003).

I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters by Bayard Rustin (edited by Michael G. Long) (City Lights Books, 2012).

CLARENCE JORDAN (July 29, 1912 – Oct. 29, 1969). Baptist minister. New Testament scholar. Civil rights activist. Farmer. Communitarian. Pacifist. Born in Talbotton, GA. Died in Americus, GA. Buried on Koinonia Farm.

Clarence Jordan: Essential Writings by Clarence Jordan (edited by Joyce Hollyday) (Orbis Books, 2003).

DAVID DELLINGER (Aug. 22, 1915 – May 25, 2004). Socialist. Conscientious objector. Pacifist. Born in Wakefield, MA. Died in Montpelier, VT.

David Dellinger: The Life and Times of a Nonviolent Revolutionary by Andrew E. Hunt (NYU Press, 2006).

BARBARA DEMING (July 23, 1917 – Aug. 2, 1984). Feminist. Writer. Teacher. Journalist. Advocate of nonviolent social change. War tax resister. Pacifist. Born in New York City. Died in Sugarloaf Key, FL.

A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds by Martin Duberman (The New Press, 2011).

JESSICA MITFORD (Sept. 11, 1917 – July 22, 1996). Atheist. Communist. Journalist. Civil rights activist. Pacifist. Born in Gloucestershire, England. Died in Oakland, CA.

Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford (New York Review Book, 2004; orig. published 1960).

GORDON HIRABAYASHI (April 23, 1918 – Jan. 2, 2012). Quaker. Sociologist. Human rights activist. Civil rights activist. Pacifist. Born in Seattle, WA. Died in Edmonton, Canada.

A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. U.S. by Gordon K. Hirabayashi (Univ. of Washington Press, 2013).

~     ~     ~

James L. Farmer, Jr.

~     ~     ~


JAMES L. FARMER, JR. (Jan. 12, 1920 – July 9, 1999). Civil rights activist. Socialist. Pacifist. Born in Marshall, TX. Died in Fredericksburg, VA.

Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement by James Farmer (Texas Christian Univ. Press, 2013; orig. published 1985).

ELISE BOULDING (July 6, 1920 – June 24, 2010). Quaker. Feminist. Sociologist. Pacifist. Born in Oslo, Norway. Died in Needham, MA.

Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History by Elise Boulding (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2000).

URSULA FRANKLIN (Sept. 16, 1921 – July 22, 2016). Quaker. Feminist. Anti-war activist. Physicist. Pacifist. Born in Munich, Germany. Died in Toronto, Canada.

The Ursula Franklin Reader: Pacifism As A Map by Ursula Franklin (Between the Lines Books, 2006).

WILLIAM DAVIDON (March 18, 1927 – Nov. 8, 2013). Civil rights activist. Anti-war activist. Physics professor. War tax resister. Pacifist. Born in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Died in Highlands Ranch, CO.

The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI by Betty Medsger (Vintage, 2014).

CORETTA SCOTT KING (April 27, 1927 – Jan. 30, 2006). Civil rights activist. Feminist. Anti-nuclear activist. Musician. Pacifist. Born in Heiberger, AL. Died in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Buried in Atlanta, GA.

Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King by Edythe Scott Bagley (Univ. of Alabama Press, 2012).

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (Jan. 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968). Baptist minister. Civil rights activist. Pacifist. Born in Atlanta, GA. Assassinated in Memphis, TN. Buried in Atlanta, GA.

Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David Garrow (William Morrow and Company, 1987).

Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero by Vincent Harding (Orbis Books, 2008; orig. published 1996).

The Radical King by Martin Luther King, Jr. (edited by Cornel West) (Beacon Press, 2015).

DOROTHEE SOELLE (Sept. 30, 1929 – April 27, 2003). Feminist. Liberation theologian. Pacifist. Born in Cologne, Germany. Died in Goppingen, Germany.

Theology for Skeptics by Dorothee Soelle (Fortress Press, 1995; orig. published 1992).

Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian by Dorothee Soelle (Augsburg Fortress, 1999; orig. published 1995).

~     ~     ~

Coretta Scott King

~     ~     ~


ROSEMARIE FREENEY HARDING (July 24, 1930 – March 1, 2004). Civil rights activist. Social worker. Former Mennonite. Pacifist. Born in Chicago, IL. Died in Denver, CO.

Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism, and Mothering by Rachel Elizabeth Harding (Duke Univ. Press, 2015).

VINCENT HARDING (July 25, 1931 – May 19, 2014). Civil rights activist. Historian. Former Mennonite minister. Pacifist. Born in Harlem, NYC. Died in Philadelphia, PA.

There Is A River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America by Vincent Harding (Mariner Books, 1993: orig. published 1981).

~     ~     ~

The Northwest Gay Expulsion Impasse: Is A Break In Sight?At its September business meeting, West Hills Friends (WHF) in Portland Oregon considered a statement accepting its expulsion from Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM) for having become a LGBT-welcoming congregation. If approved, the statement would be issued jointly with NWYM.The decision to expel West Hills was made public by…

via The Northwest Gay Expulsion Impasse: Is A Break In Sight? — A Friendly Letter

Quaccheri cristiani ecumenici per fare il bene

L'immagine può contenere: una o più persone
Marginal Mennonite Society

Happy birthday, Nancy Meek Pocock (Oct. 24, 1910 – March 4, 1998)! #Quaker. Peace activist. Born in Chicago, Illinois. Moved to Toronto, Canada, with her minister father in 1920, when she was 10 years old. In 1950, Nancy and her husband, Jack, joined the Society of Friends (Quakers). During the Vietnam War, the Pococks opened their home to draft dodgers from the U.S. They also began sheltering Vietnamese refugees. Their house continued to be a shelter for refugees of all kinds for the next three decades. In 1978, Nancy was awarded the Medal of Friendship from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In the 1980s she became involved in efforts to welcome Central American refugees to Toronto. Just days before her death, lying on a bed in the ER, she was still signing papers on behalf of her refugee friends.

View original post

Does Your Church Have a Vision?

As evidence mounts that the organized formal church is faltering (here are just two recent examples) it made us wonder if perhaps failing church leadership has anything to do with it. But rather than bemoan a lack of leadership, perhaps it is more instructive to look toward visionaries, rather than leaders. So we went to our church archives to dig up this sermon, delivered in 1995 by Johann Christoph Arnold. It was partly inspired by Arnold’s reading of George Barna’s classic The Power of Vision. Read it, and find challenge – and encouragement. (Edited for clarity and length.)

In Proverbs we read, “Where there is no vision, people perish.” This is crucial for a church. We need to have a vision of what God wants for our church and of what God wants for our individual lives. We need to have a clear understanding of where we are headed. One of our main problems is that we don’t really care where we are headed. We need to have a clear understanding of the way to which we have committed ourselves, otherwise our journey on this earth will be severely limited.

man looking out toward mountainsTo be a true pastor one needs to be a visionary. When God chooses leaders in the church, and if they respond and are faithful to God’s call, they are always effective, regardless of their lack of worldly qualifications. The first disciples were not educated; they were fishermen.

When God’s vision enters into a person’s life, it brings change. God’s vision never defends the status quo. A visionary will always have enemies, as Jesus himself told us and as was witnessed in his life and with his death. If we have no enemies, it can only mean one thing: that we are not listening to God and not obeying his will for our life.

Vision is about stretching reality to extend beyond the existing state of affairs. Vision is always needed for a church to remain alive. In a declining church the people pine after the good old days when everything went well, instead of looking to the future and seeing what needs to be changed. We need to ask ourselves what changes are needed to make our life more creative, to make it more exciting and alive. A church needs visionaries in order to remain alive. We should never be satisfied, because God is a creator, and he always wants to create something new.

It can be quite exciting to think that we weak and feeble human beings can be used by God. But it means constant, never-ending struggle. A living church will go through crises, trials, and testing – again and again. These things will always come, and they are a gift from God. Times of continued testing and pruning are essential for God’s vision. We must hold firmly to the vision and point each other to the redeeming aspect of God’s judgment.

We can never be satisfied, then, because God is the creator who always wants to change what is old and stale and create something fresh and new and alive. True visionaries concentrate on the future. The only hope for any church is to focus on God alone and to be very active in bringing God’s love in new living ways.

So vision for the church is the reflection of what God wants to accomplish to build up his kingdom. Spirit-filled leaders – like Stephen, Paul, David, Moses, or Nehemiah – are essential. Those who actively seek to fulfill God’s vision for their lives are crucial; every church needs members who have a burning desire to see God’s will done to the fullest. We should ask ourselves: do we have the desire for God’s will to be fulfilled to the fullest?

A vision from God always outlasts the visionary. Meister Eckhart, a German mystic of the thirteenth century, said that the earlier a person seeks the will of God – that is, God’s vision – and asks for strength to do it, the more productive his life will be. In Revelation we read, “Blessed are those who die in the Lord, for their works follow after them.” May that be true for each one of us, that we may die in the Lord, and that our works may follow after us.

Blog Stats

  • 4,699 hits
October 2016
« Sep    

Support 2007, 2008 and 2009

More Light Presbyterians

Visite recenti

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Blog Stats

  • 4,699 hits
Follow Ecumenics and Quakers on WordPress.com