Saturday, July 12, 2008

Evening Session - John Punshon - Johnson Lecture

Friday Evening - 11 July, 2008 - 7 pm

Live captioning services are provided by CSDHH – Communication Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Greensboro, NC. Your captionist today is Vicki Pinson.

(music playing)

Friends. Friends. …

Friends good evening. After having almost perfect day it comes to this. I thought yesterday was just a beautiful day. We started our 2008 Friends United Meeting Triennial conference it was just perfect setting. Spirit among us so beautiful tender and sweet. Then we come to this day. How wonderful it has been. Spirit is so rich and alive. It’s just been glorious. How can it get any better. As I sat my thoughts turned to King Solomon he had all the fame, riches, authority he lived such a life. He simply said the best is yet to come. After having such a beautiful day the best is yet to come. Are you having a good time. Amen.

Just enjoy. It doesn’t get much better than this. I tell the folks I work with I go down the hall and tell them if it get better than this we won’t be here we’ll be somewhere else.
Wonderful. We will start this evening in song Donna will lead us in hymn.

Donna: Brent I have a confession to make. When I first began the music committee here preparation for Friends United Meeting. Some people said Friends United Meeting people don’t necessarily get into music that much. And I was a little concerned about it and then I heard you all sing last night and in the deep south they say them folks can sang…. So what a wonderful blessing you have been let’s sing hymn 670 make me a blessing.


Out in the highways and byways of life many are weary and sad
Carry the sunshine where darkness is strife making the sorrowing glad.
Make me a blessing make me a blessing. Out of my life may Jesus shine. Make me a blessing. O savior I pray. Make me a blessing to someone today.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and his love
Tell of his power to forgive
Others will trust him if only you prove true every moment you live
Make me a blessing
Make me a blessing
Out of my life may Jesus shine
Make me a blessing
O savior I pray
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Give as twas given to you in your need
Love as the master loved you
Be to the helpless a helper indeed
Unto your mission be true
Make me a blessing
Make me a blessing
Out of my life may Jesus shine
Make me a blessing
O savior I pray
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Donna: Thank you be seated.

Friends I’ve asked Patricia if she would open in prayer tonight. Following this… donna will lead us in another song.

Patricia: Shall we pray.
O God our loving father we bow before you this evening with thanksgiving in our hearts for the good plans you have for each of us. We thank you Lord for you liking us as friends. We thank you Lord for bringing us together not that we … but just because you love us. Thank you father for bringing each of us and thank you for speaking … we humble ourselves before you knowing we… we worship you. … I thank you Lord for laying your word on my heart. Father I’m praying for this congregation that each one of us may … for those who seek God … may leave this place here because and one of the things … on this planet was healing the sick. I pray that you touch each one of them and heal them. I pray Lord for the speaker this evening that you anoint him for the wok before him. I pray for Friends United Meeting that you touch and renew us for the work before us. Father in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Donna: Let’s join together and sing wonderful praises joyful joyful we adore thee #90


Joyful joyful we adore thee God of glory Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
Drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
Fill us with the light of day

All they works with joy surround thee
Earth and heaven reflect they rays
Stars and angels sing around thee
Center of unbroken praise
Field and forest vale and mountains
Flowery meadow flashing sea
Chanting bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in thee.

All thy works

Ever blessings happy rest.
Thou our father Christ our brother all who live in love are thine.
Teach us how to love each other lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began love divine is reigning over us leading us with mercy’s hand.
Ever singing march we onward
Victors in the midst of strife.
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life.

Brent: If ushers will please come forward we’ll have our evening offering.

Heavenly father help us realize the richness of your goodness we are so thankful we have opportunity to return portion to you use our tithes and all that is yours might be lifted up. Jesus may be pray amen.

Brent: I’d like to share a few comments I have heard the last 2 days. So many people made positive comments about the beautiful facilities here at High Point Friends Meeting. The grounds, campus, meals, … we appreciate that so much. They worked very hard. Second comment if we keep having such good Triennial as this we need larger place. Host for 2011 Triennial you know who you are it will be announced tomorrow morning. We might need to find a larger place cause we are having excellent Triennials. Third comment at table we talked about Triennial someone at table made comment we are having such a great time we think we should have these Triennial sessions more often. Wouldn’t that be great. My pleasure now to introduce you to more special music. It will be presented to us by 2008 friends united meeting choir led by Donna Terrell and following … will introduce our speaker.

Donna: For those who practiced last night you are still committed. While people are coming up and getting together I want you to think about something before this offering of music.
Friends United Meeting as I understand it is a group of people from all over the world from all walks of life, all races, from conservative beliefs, liberal, for common purpose for spreading the goods news of salvation offered to us by Jesus throughout the world. Now these people that are gathering here have spent 60 minutes together to prepare this. 30 minutes a night and when you hear what this group of people has done you will wonder why we haven’t lit a fire across the world. It has nothing to do with who is leader or who is in charge or whose idea. Only because these people have the joy and love of the Lord they want to share. I offer you our Triennial choir.

(music playing)

As I went down to the river to pray … about the . good Lord show me the way.
Oh sisters let’s go down, let’s go down come on down oh sisters let’s go down down to the river to pray.
As I went down to the river to pray telling about that … good Lord show me the way oh … let’s go down, come on down. Come on brothers let’s go down, down to the river to pray.
As I went down to the river to pray … who good Lord show me the way.
Oh fathers let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down. Oh fathers let’s go down, down to the river to pray.
As I went down to the river to pray … and shall . good Lord show me the way oh mothers let’s go down, come on down, don’t you wanna come down, come on mothers let’s go down, down to the river to pray as I went down to the river to pray …. Good Lord show me the way oh sisters let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down. Oh sinners let’s go down down to the river to pray.
As I went down to the river to pray … about that good old way and who shall wear the starry crown good Lord show me the way.


(music playing)

When you are searching to find your way
Filled with doubt lost and afraid
Looking for … to renew your faith
Come and kneel at the cross
When you are troubled with pain…
…. Come and kneel at the cross
With your… seek the Lord leave your fears behind you hope and faith will be restored at the cross he’ll find you.
When you’re discouraged by all you see
Broken hearts people in need
Looking for someone to …
Come and kneel at the cross.
At the cross, at the cross, … feel God’s love surround you
Healed by grace … feel God’s peace around you.
Feel God’s peace around you.


Thank you folks. What a message. I’m asked to announce that there will be available free copy of tonight’s lecture by John Punshon. Also out here in the hall to my right the 1987 Johnson Lecture that John Punshon gave at Guilford College at our Friends United Meeting. It is available for a donation. There is no dollar figure placed.

Also tonight tomorrow there will be available in bookstore two of John’s books. Reason for hope and encounter with silence. I want to do something tonight I haven’t asked permission but something I want to do.
The reason for it is this…we had a beautiful time together. And thank you for your part in it. I keep saying but he keeps ignoring me I say to Brent you have done great job as clerk and he has. 5 years ago Brent served his term as clerk for North Carolina Yearly Meeting the last session he presided as clerk I was seated not same building but somewhat same position where Ray and Katie are here. When Brent closed session his last session I raised my hand I did everything he ignored me. He knew what I wanted. I wanted to get the jump you can’t abort the appreciation of this group a day ahead of time. He is clerk 6 years I don’t know anyone else who served 6 years. I want to say thanks for your great job.


I worked with Brent at Friends United Meeting and North Carolina Yearly Meeting and thanks for all you have done … now will you forgive me for saying that. I know what he will do tomorrow. John Punshon our speaker tonight is native of London. He is known in his profession of law theology journalism, public speaking, his wife’s name is Veronica and they have 2 children Tom who is executive with London financial future exchange and daughter Sophia is professional dress maker. She goes to various institutions in great Britain. They have 4 grandchildren. One long time interest is sailing partly because he lives near docks in London. Elder of Milton Kind’s meeting and recorded minister Indiana Yearly Meeting. Also … theology commission of Milton King council of churches. Being grandfather is one of his greatest pleasure apart from food and watching sports on TV. He is author of several books. … reasons for hope, Encounter with Silence. Future of friends church testimony and tradition. Not too long ago he taught Quakerism at Earlham college. In 1987 I introduced him and I am grateful to have privilege again tonight to be our Johnson Lecturer. John thank you for being in NC and with Friends United Meeting again.

John Punshon: thank you.

The first Friends United Meeting gathering Triennial I attended was in California when we had California friends. We do don’t we we have the greater body. Our friends … anyway this was at … orange county and seemed to get off to very good start. I was room next to air conditioner generator like sleeping in engine room of ship. I made my first contact with NC friends because James Good was at that time assistant to general superintendent I said I can’t sleep he said no other available. I asked him to do something about it. He reminded me about this a few weeks ago I made his life dreadful because I wouldn’t sleep where I had been assigned. That didn’t cramp my style. I was standing back at the hall like there while a performance was being given and standing next to experienced friend not of Friends United Meeting background. And looking at music and all this. I said do you know what’s going on here. And I replied yes. I know exactly where I am. And what lay behind that reply I think was that I looked around then and as now I see the kind faces I know and grew up with faces like my grandparents like my parents. People who come from same walk of life, same society. I think probably I’ve been able to give the service I have to Earlham and Friends United Meeting is that I feel so at home with it. First thing I want to do today is to take opportunity of acknowledging publicly the immense affection you have given to my wife and myself during 12-13 years we have spent in USA. This is our thank you for that. I’m glad to see so many friends from Kenya. I was representative from … in 1991. And we arrived at Kisumu and had message would we go to Kaimosi straight away we did. Discovered our dear friend who I hope some of our Kenyan friends remember had died. Jasmine was wonderfully kind, very strong, … as well as being on staff at Friends Theological College he had tea and coffee farm. He had diabetes. … invited me to bring the message at his funeral. First time I met Kenyan friends in Kenya was to undertake that immensely sad, immensely moving very wonderful funeral to be conducted under the trees. So I have many memories crowding in tonight and I want to add personal welcome to them. I was invited to come give this talk by she said you’ve done it once and did well we’ll give you second chance. The theme a hope and a future what we want you to do is talk about friends generally and future of Friends United Meeting specifically. I was rather frightened by this. I don’t know if I can do this effectively without stirring hornet’s list. You know what I mean. So I said I would really rather do something else so she said alright you just published a fairly successful book she said. Excuse me. Why don’t you write the next chapter for us. I said book already published. I don’t mean that. I mean write what you would say if you were going to write a last chapter. So I have. And there is a 40 page last chapter waiting for you outside. That really has been the work I put into this Johnson Lecture. What would next chapter be. What do I see future of friends. What I will do tonight is give you flavor of what I say in the text. I recommend you take a copy of the text. Copy of the Johnson Lecture from 1987 if you make contribution for that. I don’t even get expenses for that. I hope you will accept it in that spirit. So what I will talk about is sort of thing the booklet contains. Really a meditation hope and a future. I gave chapter title living in the new world. 3 main reason. First is that is what Jeremiah’s prophecy is about. Secondly because every juncture in history we move into a new world. It will be a new world tomorrow. The new is always fresh unexpected challenging. We need to be prepared for that fact of life. Always moving into new world. 3rd I think friends tend to be introspective. In the chapter I talk in widest possible context for discussions that take place about future of society I look up from topic a b and c and how those topics might play in wider world outside us not always interested in internal .. we have. That is the brief. I want to begin by saying something about the prophecy the theme. I don’t want to look at how I see society of friends now in 2008. Third I will touch on some of these wider themes I mentioned like boundaries in which our religious life takes place. We have to look there to see the future. Those 3 aspects for what I want to say tonight. First Jeremiah’s prophecy. What lies behind those words a hope and a future. We have to understand the background. He was writing in last 30 years of 7th century bc during time when … was dissolving. Social conditions were pretty dire. Real fear that annihilation would come to community. For almost 100 years they were receiving refugees, unemployment, hunger, etc. things were not good and Judah was .. between the two great powers of the ancient world Egypt and successively Assyria and… Jeremiah’s time is there. And the interests of the establishment as you might say in Judean time was designed to preserve national integrity. So we read a great deal in the prophets about how to treat… what expectations things like financial policy, trade policy, dynastic marriages. That is the background to the hope and future prophecy that we … it was prophecy of hope in a very grim time. Let’s move forward. Jeremiah said about these conditions he looked at the domestic policies international and came to conclusion that it was being approached in the wrong way the personal we political and political was personal. 2 things he criticized particularly in the booklet I return to the end to say are these things still present. First is idolatry. Idol is something that gives you comfort. Something which is … 2 ways you can look a religious image. One is to place yourself in its power place in the power of what it represents. What will happen if we go to the foot of the cross. That’s not idolatry but to go to the cross to get personal benefit to seek only the messages from religious tradition which confirm the attitude you already have is to use idol for your own purpose. Complex one. What do you want to get out of religious life. If you want … but if you want meaning and reality then something different will flow from the imagery. Idols blinded you to religious… the other thing he … it is the option of having more than one God. Jeremiah and others complained about the … what did you expect in the Jerusalem temple like a gothic cathedral. A pure house but in fact what we read that was not the case. There were idols from many foreign gods as well as the part of building devoted to … so the prophet looked at the corruption of religion at the use of religion for social control use of religion to procure personal advantage and unless you change disaster will come. As we know in … disaster did come and Jerusalem fell. That is the background. They were looking for theme for conference. You have to have a theme for conference. I thought did they know their bible. Yes I think they did. So they put me up to tell you what they had in mind. So I want to read you most of the prophecy that hope and future comes from. Listen I left out a bit but they don’t alter meaning. These are the words the letter Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the elders priests and all people Nebucannezer … thus says the Lord to all exiles build houses and live in them. Plant garden and eat the produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives to your sons and give your daughters in marriage. Multiply there and do not decrease but seek welfare of the city I sent you to exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf for in its wealth you will find your wealth. For thus says the Lord when 70 years complete I will … I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place for I know the plans I have for you says the Lord plans for welfare and not evil to give you a future and a hope then you will call upon me come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart. I will be found by you and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all nations and places I have driven you and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. So these are the things that were to happen. The hope and future were to come to those who were in confinement not exactly in prison but in confinement. One points I make in the chapter that you are invited to take is just this. At one point I say if you have never read… go and do it now. Reason is this book is about the life of a man when every single freedom he had was taken away living a completely regimented life. He came to conclusion that while no one could get inside his head no one could control him and therefore in battle against tyranny he was always going to win. Now this is very important, important literary work for 20th century. Made important point too that is that … beginning to define himself in captivity. Knows his boundaries his desires, etc. desires of those in charge of him. This I think is historically what happened to Jewish people this time we begin to talk about the Jews the battle … because these words of redemption would only become reality if they continued in their devotion to him. Until they understood who they were and they understood who they were by measuring themselves against standards of captures. Only way was to preserve… so text of Jeremiah when we open it up like that has important parallels with us. What is … where is how do you answer that question. My argument in chapter question of identity and .. who we have been decides who we are and how we meet challenges of external world. Future is where hope is but new world comes into being. I look at constraints are upon practice of religion and practice of Quaker faith as 21st century gets underway.

It’s difficult to make generalizations about … we do it all the time. Sure you don’t I do. … the cricket team…. As we speak they are playing south Africa and I don’t know what the score. If I picked the team they … so there is plenty of we are all opinionated I’m opinionated. Before I talk about society of friends is certain attitudes I discern when I talk to people and when I read news. One of them it actually says on lecture he’s more interested in opinions than news. Opinion is much more interesting. I live in this kind of world. It’s a world first of all which doesn’t understand that to explain human behavior is not to condone it. And if you are old enough to know west side story you know that marvelous scene where officer Krupke tries to get the hoodlums to behave they say officer Krupke we have the social disease they go through long list of disadvantages they felt they were entitled to be criminals. When I listen to this scene it picks up on something I think important. In our perfectly proper understanding the reasons why social pathologists we tend to overlook the standards against which they ought to be measured. You can disagree with me but I have the microphone. There are a lot of people who think we can ultimately explain everything. This is … it is a problem German philosopher said we can calculate meaning of everything I don’t think so. I think life has area of mystery, area of tragedy, all kinds of things in our experience we can’t explain. If we thought to ourselves we can explain everything we seriously … understanding of human nature. A basic bloody-mindedness about people will always prevail about the … I don’t think we have answer for everything. I think the effort to answer the great questions is what makes us human. I don’t see a world we can calculate answers to everything. I guess because I don’t believe in I don’t want to say great deal about this I grew up in a progressive household. My relatives and my parents their friends all had progressive friends and I grew up in that atmosphere which thought world was getting better and better. I’m a child of the second world war I can tell you what it’s like to be bombed because I have been bombed. I don’t believe in progress. Not everything gets better. As I say in the book I cheer for modern medical science in many ways things are getting better but not automatic process. We sometimes confuse information and … any of you who have teenage children who go online to do homework will know they can get plenty of information on internet but how good is that information. How does it stand up how do you apply critical standards to what we read and education in Britain educators getting worried about this. Everyone went to coursework instead of examinations. Wikipedia putting a few sentences together to give information some shape and passing it off. That is serious problem. We don’t … and there are two assumptions I also discuss in the book first moral relativism I won’t say more about that. And the second one is idea of specialist who knows best. If we want to know about something you go to specialist and get the answer. If you … that’s the way to find something no one has written before. The age of specialist. I think … I have that off my chest. Reason I say that. … I make a case that in these things we have areas of controversy and I don’t think specialists are … I obviously don’t think… I follow the conventions of my community because they I’m not stupid enough … but I’m trying to point to the areas where the assumptions we tend to make in religious community are not formed by society at large. If we want to communicate with the other church we have to understand use a phrase I hate where people are coming from and if you don’t understand that you won’t get anything so here is first part of sermon because I want to change and look at the society of friends that finds itself in this kind of work. I want to say something about my own personal journey as a friend and then society of friends at large. So first of all how I became a friend. In the archives of Britain Yearly Meeting there is application I wrote at age of 19 to local monthly meeting asking to be accepted. I haven’t looked it up. It would be like 50 years before anyone can read it so I haven’t I think back to what I remember. First I have never doubted the existence of God. I have doubted his presence in my life. We all have had dry periods. All have had dark night of the soul. But underlying it I never lost my faith in existence of God. That stability … difficult to understand people who don’t have same experience. We think others are like us and they are not. I was brought up in the country on a farm. I had wonderful time as a child. … answered I knew the reality in the streams and fields the animals birds that sort of thing. I look back and think that experience was inward one and it came probably from … the natural world. I have deep sense I am in the world not spectator. … it was Baptist but not southern Baptist. In the hymns and stories … I found corresponding reality. So what happened to me gradually my sense of Christian faith moved together and I think God .. would be my testimony. When you put that together with the progressive family that I was born into it meant that I was very sensitive to corruption of religion. I came to look for my own church. Didn’t go church shopping but at age of 19 I found society of friends. I thought then and now that this is as close as you can get to Christianity of our Lord that’s why I’ve been here 50 years. In modern terms if you read literature you’ll know his book, … discipleship… no such thing as … important lesson. Something I learned in society. He went to meeting … something born out of my own experience … can somebody do something about this. Can I you I can hear echo can you. I knew yes that it was the soft of thing society of friends gave to me. I found my way into society and I was thinking about this I thought are they still operative. That’s why I became a friend. Why do I remain a friend. Remaining a friend is a different thing. First thought is question of principle now society of friends has a truth which is to be received on faith as absolutely true to totally undemonstrable. That dogma is that there is that of God in everyone. Who’s counting. That’s the only way to prove it. But I’m a man of faith I don’t need proof and the doctrine there is … in everyone which I think is same .. I was sitting last night listening to thinking yes that’s exactly what I mean. I believe and that sentence … every moment of my life as a friend. Second thing is this mentioned I convened theology commission which I like doing and I meet a lot of people in this and I experience of church people is fairly wide. There are often differences about predestination and all that sort of thing but most of the time we are on same wavelength until question … that is where I know I’m a Quaker. More I thought about it what makes us distinctive but one … we are all ministers. We may be separated by pastoral function but … not criticizing pastoral system. Not something I want to be. But I think the way we make decisions the way we come together at monthly meeting. And I read new testament that is what church of disciples was like. Friends as church. Can’t emphasize that strongly enough. I have come as life goes on to appreciate more. I simply reply Quakerism is a way of life. What is that way of life. I tell them about peace, simplicity… they say why and that’s when you get into the theology. I found that testimonies are rather like … I do … someone says John you shouldn’t have done that and I think when I think it often comes back. You didn’t treat that person the way you should have. You didn’t choose a peaceable way to remonstrate the … was a valid way that day so the testimony is not so much but … they have become daily …

***Captioning Request: Could the speaker please speak closer to the microphone?

John Punshon:
Am I to continue. Louder. Oh I thought I was loud already ok. Two quick points because I want to get on but the first is question part of reason why I became a friend because I didn’t believe then a lot of things I believe now. I believed in God but don’t know if I believed in Trinity. Quaker doesn’t believe in Trinity but I believe in father son and holy spirit and hope that’s good enough but I didn’t when I began. Nobody taught me I had to. There were wise people in my meeting who perhaps sensed I was on the path and let me find my way myself. That’s very important and precious if I could preach to you be very careful when we start making requirements of what people ought to believe to come into fellowship of a meeting. And again I offer greatest thanks for it because my life how much longer I have I don’t know but I was writing the lecture in December evening light was going and whole section there about dying. Because I’m a lot nearer my death than my birth let’s hope I have a little more. I’d like to see … win against Australia that would be a bonus to see that happen. But the end is coming. And sorry I forgot … I can’t imagine a greater joy than I have when I have my quiet time with God go to meeting Sunday morning or Saturday nights when I pray for the three congregations I am particularly associated with. I know my journey is coming to end but it’s been wonderful journey because friends gave me freedom to develop and discern. They never forced me into anything and I believe there is liberty in the gospel. That is very precious. Last thing remaining friend we are such an annoyingly traditional group. London Britain Yearly Meeting as it’s called I don’t go there. Like like this you walk in there is atmosphere of silence. Clerk let ms try this meeting on. It has been reported by some friends in gathering that on the hall there are not … the cause of this we understand is that windows are open. It has been suggested to us that maybe the comfort of our friends would be better if windows closed. Recognizing there may be difficulty coming to consensus on this we agree to defer this question until afternoon session.


I think you know what I mean. Now there is a difference between playacting being Quaker and being one. It’s our identity that carries us forward and we have to be very careful about 2 things. One is pretending to be … when we are not. Adopting the speech of George … and taking the values of the past and translating them into long terms. The former …. But later we seriously need to be concerned about. Moving into new world we can’t define ourselves in new terms can’t determine what is good or bad, faithful or unfaithful. Because in his he had to say who am I, I am the product of … we have to cherish it. To help meet the challenges of the future. How do we do that. Probably I better finish at this point. What have we got to go on. Where do we stand. How do we stand. I gave this lecture the Johnson lecture in 1987 patterns of change. Shortly after I discovered what I say I hope if you are interested you will take that because I think that is one of the best things I have written. I did it before I came to America. I don’t think I could have had the effective ministry I think I have had among you. Most of the things I said them about Americans who are not … outside your nation and not well known I was talking to a friend… I was thinking to myself if we have joint Friends United Meeting …. Conference. Wouldn’t it be good. Why don’t we. So I think that American friends I have … the phrase I used to describe friends this was 20 years ago there wasn’t the sort of defensive attitude of friends in other traditions I think that was important that remains the case. I think it remains the case that we use our history rather than our theology as means of talking. That’s very important. It means we have a terminology we can encounter difficult ideas. If we go back to 1940s period of first world war it was difficult for friends to talk because of no common vocabulary. Now we do talk. The terms in which theology are done, have changed in 20 years. This is really most important point that is that in those days theology for the reflective church member was how we stand on liberal evangelical spectrum. And someone will stand up and ask what about l…. particularly in NC. Some of our best friends are conservative friends of NC so don’t repeat what I said to them. I think you know what I mean. What do they argue about now. Foundation… post modernism… they offer challenge to both liberal and conservative. That is the marketplace perhaps the prison confinement that we heard. If we argue about that …we are just standing here. That has changed dramatically I expect us to filter through… I was going to make a point here. Perhaps we will leave it. What are my reasons for hope first what I said about the way we do theological discussions. Historical movement coming together of scholars to work together on issues of history and principles is extremely important. It began with … and it came down through …. Folks of that kind and I want to mention one thing to you that is you may or may not know … Spencer who have just produced a thesis which I think suspect is going to revolutionize … … I wrote a book what’s it called. Portrait of faith just had second edition and they said well do we need a new book. And I said no. this book has been written out of historical consensus that Quakerism rose out of puritan movement. … this book is going to be published and she takes a different theme, not technical 19th century way. Over the whole period showing how faith, scriptural account. That is what came from that. As soon as I use the word hopeless I’m sure when… that’s what I mean about the Quaker history. The second reason I have hope is reason I don’t know what to call it school, discipline community school of the spirit. Ministry in Philadelphia… perhaps a bit ore about Quakers … there is a display downstairs please go see it. Take one of the fliers the school of the spirit… third there is the … we have representatives from Africa. Friends United Meeting is strong in Africa. Strong in … but out of … Kenyans experience and Africa American experience come things we desperately need to know and how unimportant personal possessions are. The presence the … of the Quaker community is important to us. The last point and then I will .. in inconclusive way one of the experiences about America I cherish most is my service on the … you see I’m getting too old. Those of you … the appraisal committee … we used to interview people for recording. Sometimes they were not pastors sometimes they were and we would meet with ministry and council to decide if this person should go into this. You probably do same thing in NC. For Yearly Meeting. I would go out usually in summer. In Indiana corn fields. And talk to someone who was going to be … often they were part time found way into pastoring from the factory, from the farm. One friend from Indiana was driver for Wal-Mart. He had study tapes he used in his truck. I think quality of pastors in our meetings is higher now. These folks coming forward who might not have particular academic skills but are … in their heart. Their understanding of Christian faith Quaker faith and I am constantly impressed and giving thanks for that. I know we have pastors here tonight. The last reason I have to look forward to bright future… so those are some things I have written about in the leaflet. The chapter and I hope I said enough to encourage you to take a copy. Thank you very much for being so patient.


John thank you for reminding us we do have reasons for hope. And I trust all of you will leave here tonight with hope in your hearts encouragement and excitement to move forward. Sleep well tonight. We have more activities tomorrow. Pick up the next chapter.

Thank you.

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