Reflections on the 2014 Swarthmore Lecture. Part 3 – Cheap Quakerism and Living Tradition

Jolly Quaker

Here’s part three of a series of posts reflecting on Ben Pink Dandelion’s Swarthmore Lecture – ‘Open for transformation: being Quaker’. In part one, I reflected on Ben’s call for clarity and his description of Quakerism as a journey of individual and communal transformation. In part two I wrote about the theological pluralism of contemporary British Quakerism, and the challenges that presents. This third and final part considers ‘cheap’ Quakerism and how engaging in a living tradition can counter this, and aid us in being a robust and faithful worshipping community.

An optional Quakerism is a cheap Quakerism

The central premise of Ben’s second chapter is that the two currents of individualism and secularisation have undermined our Quaker foundations and created a Quakerism in which everything is optional. No longer thinking of ourselves as ‘the true church’, or in some cases even a church, Ben suggests we have lost…

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