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Archive for Quaker Life Magazine – Page 4


By David O. Williams

Some of the greatest miracles in life take place before our very eyes, and yet go practically unnoticed. Consider, for example, the “March of the Monarchs.”

Every fall millions of these beautiful butterflies make their annual pilgrimage from North America to a small enclave in central Mexico where they will hibernate for the winter. The following spring they will suddenly abandon the safe confines of their Mexican retreat center and return north in order to “be fruitful and multiply.”

It’s an astonishing feat. To think that these fragile insects have been equipped by their Maker to travel thousands of miles every fall and spring, instinctively following the same path taken by their ancestors for centuries, is mind-boggling to say the least.

As amazing as this is, the thing that I have always found most fascinating about the Monarchs is not their patterns of migration, but the process of transformation they must undergo to make the journey from caterpillar to butterfly. This process is known as “metamorphosis,” a term that finds its origins in the Greek verb, metamorphoo, meaning “to change from one form to another.”

This is the word that Matthew and Mark use to describe the “transfiguration” that Jesus experienced in the presence of Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2). It’s also the same word that Paul uses to capture the dramatic change that takes place in each of our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ when we allow Him to “transform” us into His very likeness (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

There are many aspects of this transformational process known as metamorphosis that are noteworthy, but these are the ones that immediately grab my attention as a follower of Christ:

• The caterpillar must die to its old self by becoming “entombed” in its chrysalis in order to enter into this process of transformation. It must be willing to leave its old, mundane caterpillar life behind if it hopes to move into a new and glorious life as a majestic butterfly (cf. Colossians 3:9-10).

• The developing butterfly must give the process the necessary time to complete its work. Any attempts to short-circuit this process will be disastrous. I should know. As a boy, in a naive but well-intended show of compassion, I decided to hasten a monarch’s escape from its painful struggle by cutting its chrysalis loose a pair of scissors. I was horrified to discover that instead of helping the butterfly I ended up crippling it and cutting its life short. The very encumbrance I sought to remove was actually designed to serve as a critical component in the healthy development of the butterfly’s wings. I learned the hard way that the stress and strain of the struggle was a normal, necessary part of the mature butterfly’s growth and formation (cf. James 1:2-4).

• Even though their physical appearance is dramatically different, the pre-formational caterpillar shares the exact same DNA with the post-formational butterfly. The caterpillar was born to be a butterfly, with all of the necessary raw material in place, but it must be willing to submit to the transformational process in order to arrive at its glorious destination (cf. Romans 8:29).

So how’s your process of “metamorphosis” going these days? Unlike the Monarch, which undergoes this dramatic transformation instinctively, we must choose to submit to this process voluntarily, by surrendering our will to the will of our Maker. By using the present, passive, imperative form of the Greek verb, metamorphoo, Paul would remind us that we must let God change us as we enter into the ongoing process of spiritual transformation: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

As we enter into the tomb, choosing to “die daily” to sin and to engage in an ongoing struggle against the stress and strain of this fallen world, we find over time that our lives increasingly bear a surprising resemblance to the glorious One who has created us in His own likeness: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

It’s amazing how much you can learn about Christian discipleship and spiritual formation from a few fragile, yet fascinating insects.

David O. Williams, D.Min., is a Professor of Discipleship & Spiritual Formation, the Director of the Center for Spiritual Renewal and the Director of the MATL-Spiritual Formation at Barclay College in Haviland, Kansas.

Gathered in Christ: Disciple Making

By Dorlan Bales

Welcome to the first of six Bible studies that explore the subject of discipleship, including being gathered by Christ and sent forth to serve. How and why do people become followers of Jesus Christ?

There is not a simple answer to that question. For many people, two complementary influences lead to a decision to follow Jesus’ teachings and example. One is the persistent inward calling of the Living Christ deep within. The other is the New Testament writers’ witness that Jesus of Nazareth was the decisive outward revelation of God’s love.

As you read this and subsequent Bible studies in the 2014 issues of Quaker Life, you are invited to learn more about the scripture’s witness to Jesus, to discern what the Holy Spirit is teaching at this point in your spiritual journey and to reflect on how your church or meeting could be more intentional in serving those not yet part of your faith community. You may choose to focus on one section of these Bible studies at a time, explore the scripture passages included, ponder the reflection questions and discuss the insights received.

The First Followers of Jesus of Nazareth

Most of the earliest Christian disciples were materially poor women and men who responded to Jesus’ message and compassionate deeds. They received the good news about God’s kingdom of mercy and love, rejoicing as Jesus blessed them, healed the sick, fed the hungry and engaged in public debates about the intention versus the letter of the Jewish law. Though crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases, Jesus seemed not to have had many close followers during the short time between his Spirit baptism and his crucifixion. Little wonder, as he seemed to deliberately discourage would-be disciples by pointing out the high level of commitment required.

To follow Jesus meant leaving everything else behind, living a life of unconditional allegiance to the rule of God that Jesus was announcing. Nothing else could be of more importance: not family obligations (Luke 9:59-62), not possessions (Luke 15:33), not the Jerusalem Temple (Mark 13:2), nor recognition as a religious leader (John 3:1-2). Jesus’ radical social and religious nonconformity created enormous tension between himself and society’s most religious people, who criticized his association with the outwardly “impure” and asked Jesus questions designed to trap and discredit him. Soon it became clear that the authorities would find a way to get rid of him.

Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life (Matthew 16:24-26)?” His bold teaching inspired his disciples to seek first the kingdom of God, its righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, peace and willingness to endure rejection. As a result his followers were to become world-transforming salt, light and yeast!

Do you wonder why Jesus emphasized the difficulty of being his follower?

Why do you think Jesus died on a Roman cross despite his popularity?

Has the Living Christ ever called you to self-denial? What was the result?

Jesus Gathers and Teaches his Disciples

As a young man, Jesus sought out a prophet, John the Baptist, who was preaching repentance and baptizing people in the Jordan River to prepare the way for the long-awaited messiah. Just as Jesus came up out of the water, “the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” Then the Spirit immediately led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days of fasting, where he was tempted by food, fame, and worldly power (Matthew 3:13-4:11).
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned home to the Galilee region where he proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand and called on hearers to repent and believe in the good news of God (Mark 1:14-15). He cast out unclean spirits, healed the sick and spoke with authority in synagogues, where he was well received. In his home town of Nazareth, however, Jesus offended and enraged synagogue-goers who tried to throw him off a nearby cliff (Luke 4:16-30).

Soon he was on the shore of Lake Gennesaret climbing into Simon Peter’s fishing boat to teach a pressing crowd. After speaking he told a tired Simon, who had just finished washing nets after a fruitless night of fishing, to go back out on the lake and let down his nets again. The result was two boats filled to the sinking point with fish, which amazed everyone present including James and John who were Simon’s business partners. When Jesus told them that henceforth they would be catching people, they “left everything and followed him (Luke 5:1-11).”

Jesus spoke plainly to the disciples about the kingdom of God. When he addressed crowds, however, he told stories based on everyday life. Jesus “had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).” He demonstrated the kingdom of God by healing and blessing the poor, calling unlikely people to be his disciples and fending off Pharisees who objected to the “bad” example Jesus set associating with the “wrong” people. When his disciples failed to keep the ceremonial law, Jesus defended them and even broke the Sabbath law himself (Matthew 12:1-14).

Jesus told parables about a prized pearl, about a treasure hidden in a field and people who sold everything in order to possess these treasures (Matthew 13:4-46). Never one to minimize the cost of being his disciple, Jesus reminded a scribe, an educated man of means who wanted to follow him, that he and his disciples were homeless.

Jesus also advised a would-be disciple who first wanted to bury his father to, “let the dead bury their own dead,” and go with him to proclaim the kingdom of God (Luke 9:60). Early in his ministry, Jesus’ mother and brothers came looking for him when he was teaching a crowd. Jesus told the listeners that his mother and brothers are, “whoever does the will of God (Mark 3:35).”

Jesus’ disciples showed flashes of insight during the intense internship with their unconventional master, but for the most part gospel writers painted a picture of the 12 as slow learners (Luke 9:51-56 and 24:25-27). Though Jesus seems disappointed in them sometimes, today’s readers who enter into the scripture accounts imaginatively may marvel at the original disciples’ willingness to leave everything to follow Jesus. We can also remember times when the Holy Spirit has been disappointed by our failure to follow our Guide more closely.

After Jesus’ baptism by John, why do you think he was called into the wilderness to be tested?

Why did those present at Jesus’ debut as a teacher in his home town become filled with rage at his words?

What was it about Jesus’ words and deeds that made some people willing to abandon everything to follow him? Are there particular teachings of Jesus that have inspired you?

Was there a particular time when you responded obediently to what the Holy Spirit asked you to do? Can you remember a time of disobedience?

Jesus’ Teaching About His Death, Resurrection and the Holy Spirit

Jesus told his disciples on several occasions that he would suffer, be killed and be raised again (Matthew 16:21), but they didn’t accept his words. As Jesus and his disciples healed and taught, his public support grew. The authorities began to worry that he might lead an uprising against the Roman occupation. There was some basis for those fears, since Jesus’ large following wanted to make him their earthly king.

His refusal to claim political power was dramatized by riding “in triumph” into Jerusalem on a donkey to the joyful praise of his followers. He then proceeded to drive the ceremonial animals and the merchants out of the temple courtyard. Both the adulation he received and his clearing of the temple marketplace angered the chief priests, the scribes and Pharisees. They started to look for a way to kill him, but were thwarted for a time by Jesus’ popularity.

The conflict between Jesus and the authorities became intense at the time of the Passover Festival. One of his inner circle, Judas, agreed to let the authorities know where to find Jesus at a time when there would be no adoring crowd to protect him. Jesus arranged with his disciples a Passover meal where he once again spoke of his betrayal, suffering and death.

Jesus also spoke good news and comfort to his disciples during the Passover celebration saying, “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid (John 13:25-27).” Jesus as outward teacher would be taken from them that night.

Like John, the writer of Luke/Acts also emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit. For Luke, the Holy Spirit was not only present when John the Baptist and Jesus were conceived, but also during Jesus’ baptism, within the testing in the wilderness and in final words to his disciples just before his ascension: “I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).” The Acts of the Apostles opens with a review of the risen Christ’s final instructions to his disciples just before he was taken out of their sight, adding these words: “You will be baptized by the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

What do you find remarkable about Jesus’ disciples? Are there ways in which you identify with their feelings of joy and their times of perplexity?

What do you think were the reasons for Jesus’ conflict with the Jewish and Roman rulers?

Do you think it was difficult for the disciples to comprehend Jesus’ teaching about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit before Jesus was no longer present bodily and they were filled with spiritual power a few weeks later?

Quaker Discipleship and the Living Christ

In 17th century England, a radical group of common people appeared during an upheaval that shook the social and spiritual order. These unconventional Christians knew the scriptures and experienced the immediate presence of the Holy Spirit so powerfully that their hearts and bodies trembled. Understanding their experience as similar to that known by Jesus’ disciples, they declared that the Holy Spirit within men and women, whether they are professional or laboring people, is the Initiator and continuing Guide of the human quest for God.

As these people called Quakers saw it, they had been gifted with a rediscovered New Testament Good News and with the same Spirit that had been poured out on Jesus’ disciples (see Acts 2). They thought that a right understanding of Jesus’ message had been all but lost after Constantine saw in Christianity a religion that could help unite his far-flung Roman Empire. With church and state linked so closely, it became difficult for many to make a distinction between God’s will and what emperors required.

Spiritual movements begin with a fiery desire to be true to the will of God, but cool to a more sustainable temperature after a few generations. It appears that 18th century Quakers created communities and practices suitable for the long haul. But Quakers, like all faith communities, need ongoing spiritual renewal if we are to be to be gathered in Christ and love our neighbors as Jesus taught us to do.

The challenges created today by Quakers’ changing circumstances and the ever-present temptations to serve other gods’ call for a greater measure of the discipleship practiced by the early church and our Quaker forebears. Do we as a Society of Friends have faith that God is still able to pour out the Holy Spirit on disciples who listen and worship that we may be “clothed with power from on high?”

Why did early Friends emphasize the Holy Spirit so much?

What does it mean today in the Americas, in Africa and in other parts of the world, to “leave our nets” and “take up our crosses” to follow Jesus?

How do you open your heart to be empowered and led by Jesus?

Pledging Allegiance to Jesus

What motivates someone to become Jesus’ disciple, to fall in love with Christ as inward, primary guide for the first time or renew a decision to follow in spite of past failures and the shortcomings of other Christians? There are many ways in which people are drawn to the Living Christ.

For some, there is a decisive inward encounter with Christ, like Peter’s lakeside call, when the Holy Spirit is experienced powerfully as a direct challenge to the life they have known. Others, like Martha’s sister Mary (Luke 10:38-41), are drawn to Jesus in a less dramatic but no less powerful way. The call can come by way of scripture and other writings, through the faithful ministry of others or apparently unrelated to particular writings or people as the Holy Spirit works inwardly to create the desire to follow Jesus.

Sometimes discipleship is in response to the need for a more purposeful life, or the result of a new awareness of the damage being done to one’s truest self as a result of serving a master other than God. Sometimes turning to Jesus comes in the midst of a life crisis, such as failure, sickness or the loss of an important relationship. Some, like George Fox, turn to Christ present within because other teachers have not “spoken to their condition.”

Quakers have often used the term “convincement” when they describe the decision to become Christ’s disciple. My own convincement has come as a series of calls to follow Christ, the Light, in new ways.

However the call comes, and whatever the life circumstances may be when one responds faithfully, following Jesus Christ is life-changing! When people acknowledge their need for guidance and enter into an ongoing relationship with the Living Christ, the compassionate Good Shepherd invites them to begin a spiritual journey to wholeness, or resume the journey if they have lost their way like the prodigal son and his older brother did. Though the brothers were very different, both needed to be reunited with a loving father (Luke 15:11-32). Discipleship is the pathway to God’s forgiveness and encouragement, the process by which friends of Jesus find power in community to overcome fear, pride and hardness of heart that interfere with living in God’s loving Light.

What led you to become a disciple of Jesus? What has kept you committed to Jesus as important to your spiritual life?

How has deciding to follow Jesus impacted your life?

Discipleship 101: The Master’s Model in Modern Day

By Megan Anderson

Discipleship is a term, like sanctification or reformation, casually tossed about in religious circles, is usually unaccompanied by a clear definition. We have heard the word enough times to cultivate a vague understanding of what it means, but don’t afford it due consideration. Now more than ever, we are experiencing the consequences of that failure. Why disregard discipleship and yet cling to other biblical imperatives, such as tithing and communal worship? My guess is that it is because discipleship costs us more on more levels than any other church practice. Discipleship is intensive, intimate and intimidating, but once it is embraced, it proves invaluable to our personal spiritual health and the expansion of our collective faith.

At its core, discipleship is the intersection of three elements: relationship, transformation and multiplication. In one form of discipleship relationship, an experienced believer may interact on a regular basis with a developing Christian, encouraging him/her to emulate Christ’s character, promoting growth of understanding and application of God’s word, and fostering the fulfillment of Jesus’ great commission to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). Discipleship is fundamentally a partnership with the purpose of opening every area of life to the Holy Spirit’s influence.

No one-size-fits-all approach applies to discipleship. Though there are essential elements to this ministry, each relationship is as unique as the individuals comprising it. All those who have led me in discipleship, used distinct gifts and personalities to do so in unique ways. One took an academic approach while another made biblical principles tangible through creative hands-on crafts and projects. I profited from each leader differently: I personally practiced discipleship and benefited from two women with each of whom I enjoy a dissimilar, yet profound relationship, despite my leading them both in the same style. We process Jesus’ teaching at our own pace and discuss it in our own terms. The nature of discipleship provides the freedom to meet individual needs and incorporate the interests of those involved. It isn’t limited by age, education, race or experience. Ultimately, it is about establishing a trusting relationship out of which we grow together toward Christ.

Pursuing Christ’s character, including his love for the Church and passion for reconciling the lost to himself, requires time dedicated to his word. Jesus tells us in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (ESV). Discipleship takes Bible study to the next level by demonstrating how to abide in or continually apply biblical teaching in everyday circumstances. We not only delve into the meaning of God’s words on the page, but devise in practical terms how we will live that truth out together, and then we hold one another accountable. Tapping into the Bible’s power to teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness, we transform into competent servants of God equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Discipleship provides an ideal platform for asking tough questions and wrestling with difficult concepts. This is how we grow both in understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit’s ability to reform our likeness into that of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). The more we resemble Christ and develop his compassion for those who don’t know him, the more effective in multiplying our faith we become.

The biblical command to make disciples falls on every person who confesses Christ their Savior. Every Christian’s responsibility includes multiplying the faith via investing in others through one mode or another. Discipleship is by far the most personal and, arguably, most effective method of accomplishing the Great Commission. Jesus chose only 12 individuals in whom to invest his life. Those few men then, likewise, invested in others and their numbers more than quintupled to reach 70 in a short span of time (Luke 10:17). According to the Pew Research Center, there are an estimated 2.18 billion Christians in the world today. How did so many generations of Christ-followers descend from a handful of ordinary work-a-day men? Jesus and Paul set the example of choosing carefully with whom to enter into such a relationship. Jesus specifically called his 12 disciples, knowing they would be reliable in carrying his teaching into the world after he was gone, and Paul followed suit in selecting Timothy and Titus to perpetuate the gospel’s reach (2 Timothy 2:2; John 1:35-50, 1 Timothy 1:18, Titus 1:4-5). We, too, need to prayerfully choose partners for discipleship, partners who will prove trustworthy and faithful to what we share, partners currently striving to apply God’s word in their circumstances and willing to one day pass that training on to others.

But discipleship comes at too high a cost for many individuals. It requires time commitment, holds us accountable, nudges us outside our comfort zones, challenges how our faith is lived out and confronts us with potentially difficult questions and truths about God, ourselves and our beliefs. It is a model meant for change, and finding both teachers and students willing to bear the cross of discipleship presents a challenge (Luke 14:27). For both discipler and disciple, it is a practice in giving, under God’s authority, of one’s self to the other. Honestly, there were days I dreaded meeting with my discipler because I knew she would challenge me to evangelize in ways that made me uncomfortable. But after I humbled myself to her authority and did what she asked, I stepped away with a deeper compassion for people who do not know God and with a renewed thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Unfortunately, discipleship is no longer a central practice in many Friends meetings. Our failure to engage in discipleship has led to stunted believers and an exodus from the church of other generations. It has caused generational divides, shallow relationships and inadequate guidance in navigating the messiness of modern culture as a Christ-follower. Rising believers tire of pat answers fed them from behind sterilized pulpits and through cookie-cutter lesson plans. They crave something more applicable and specific to the struggles of their peer groups than what they have drawn from corporate Sunday service. The intimacy of discipleship, however, resolves many of these issues. It is up to us within our meetings to offer discipleship proactively.

Congregations that foster a culture of discipleship stand to benefit as much as the individual disciplers and disciples. Watching younger believers grow in spiritual maturity encourages those more advanced in their faith and challenges them, as well, to continue growing. Generation gaps are bridged, as disciplers and their disciples learn to communicate and express compassion toward one another. As disciples train to recognize and serve with their spiritual gifts, the meeting’s supply of leaders is also refreshed, making the larger Body of Christ more effective in fulfilling the Great Commission. Encouraging mature believers to invite younger believers out for coffee, facilitating intergenerational small groups and making six months of discipleship part of the process of obtaining church membership are simple ways to integrate discipleship more predominantly into the fabric of church culture. Making discipleship a priority within our meetings is vital to our spiritual maturity and our unity as a body to carry out God’s will.

If we call ourselves Christians, a people striving to follow Jesus’ example in all we do, why would we exclude one of the most definitive aspects of his life and ministry? We find ourselves at a crucial point in history in which upcoming generations with greater access to the nations than ever before are questioning whether church is the best place to grow spiritually and experience community. If they fail to encounter believers who thirst for deep, authentic relationships and practical guidance for pursuing righteousness in daily life, they will seek those things elsewhere, leaving the Church stagnant and ineffectual. Our choice whether or not to take discipleship seriously impacts eternity. Yes, discipleship comes at a price. Jesus is clear about that. But can we afford not to pay up our time, experience and misgivings when we stand to gain so much in exchange?

Megan L. Anderson is a freelance writer serving Russiaville Friends Church in Russiaville, Indiana (Western Yearly Meeting). She blogs at

It Cannot Be Completed Alone

By Susann Estle-Cronau

I love the Southwestern United States: the dry desert and exotic cactus, the Native American traditions and the beauty of the red earth. While visiting New Mexico, I realized how vital grass is to life. Grass plays a remarkable role in the natural circle of the earth. Without grass, lands would either wash away into the rivers and streams or would dry up and blow away, as it does in the desert. Without grass, many of animals would have no food. Where would the deer lie at night and what would they eat in the morning?

Grass is indeed an integral part of so many lives on this earth. Yet, there is a secret to grass: One blade of grass cannot achieve its purpose alone. If the purpose of grass is to feed a herd, then there must be many, many blades with plenty of nutrients to do the job. If the purpose of grass is to hold the land in place, then there must be many, many blades with strong roots. Even if we only enjoy grass to lie on, walk on and mow every Saturday morning, we need more than one blade. God, apparently, did not create grass to be alone.

So it is with Jesus and his disciples. Jesus didn’t walk alone; neither did his disciples. Even today, disciples are not called to walk alone. Being a lone ranger was never part of the plan of discipleship.

The beginning of Jesus’ ministry was not a solitary event. Jesus found followers who weren’t attached to teachers. Back then, the Israelite tradition demanded that a teen-aged male chose a rabbi — a teacher — to follow, with whom to study. As Jesus, the rabbi, called these young men to follow him, they eagerly joined him. They were anxious to be worthy of tutelage. Philip was apparently well versed in the Torah, and was perhaps even a former follower of John the Baptist.

As is indicated in the story of Philip and Nathanael, discipleship is a transformative process that takes an individual through believing and then to being a disciple. The Quaker faith also places importance on the process of spiritual growth of an individual to becoming a disciple of Christ. The faith and practice of Quaker meetings lies in their members having their own experience of the Christ, sharing that experience with others and relying on the Spirit’s guidance in community.

The First Experience of Christ: Philip, having heard the call of Jesus, finds Nathanael sitting underneath a fig tree. But Nathanael is not a happy man. He is not a content man. His friend brings him amazing news — life changing news — and all Nathanael can muster is a nasty retort about Jesus’ hometown. Nathanael is not mentally prepared to hear the call of discipleship from anyone else but by Jesus himself. Jesus performs a miracle to convince Nathanael of his call. His attitude may have been poor, but he heard his friend call him to, “come and see.” You might say Nathanael was a convinced disciple. Just as Quakers use the word “convinced” to signify a member of the Society of Friends who wasn’t born into a Quaker household; a convinced disciple needed more from Jesus. He needed more than second-hand news. Nathanael needed personal experience; tradition and testimony wasn’t enough for him.

George Fox’s experience was much like Nathanael’s. As a young man, Fox left home and searched far and wide for answers to his spiritual questions. He couldn’t find any answers in the churches or from the ministers of the time. The answers came in the form of a personal, inward experience of Christ. From that moment on, it was revealed to Fox that all humanity could have a personal “existential” knowledge of Jesus.

The Shared Experience of Christ: Scripture doesn’t tell us how Philip experienced the call of Jesus. We don’t know if Jesus performed a miracle to call him. We do know the outcome, however. Philip is prepared to go and find his friends, to bring them to Christ, to share his testimony of Jesus and who Jesus is. After he experiences Christ, he immediately feels led to share the experience and finds Nathanael.

In times of silent worship today, we wait upon the Spirit to speak to us, then share the experience with the congregation. As disciples today, we rely upon experiences of God to uplift and guide our meetings. We believe that the Spirit speaks to all, and all are worthy of the Light of God.

Quakers have sat in silence, waiting upon the Spirit, relying upon the Spirit, inviting the Spirit to lead us in right paths. This pattern of experiencing God firsthand, sharing that experience and relying upon the Spirit as we share, has been and continues to be a valid model of discipleship for Quakers throughout history and in modern times.

Relying Upon the Spirit (Together in Community?): The disciples and followers of Christ sat waiting in the upper room after Jesus was crucified. They were afraid for their lives, but they stayed together. How could their purpose be fulfilled if they were torn apart? Their true discipleship began when the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to create disciples without the physical ministry of Jesus. As they fled Jerusalem, like grass seeds blowing on a desert breeze, the disciples sought out those to whom the Spirit would now testify and made disciples.

A piece of grass cannot fulfill its purpose, just as a lone disciple cannot share his or her discipleship with the world. George Fox did not wait after his experience with Jesus. He immediately began to travel the countryside, preaching for hours, bringing the Gospel message to the people of England in a new way. Many Englishmen and women heard his call and experienced Christ for themselves as never before. Likewise, they traveled far and wide to bring their testimony to the world. Today, Quakers still take their beliefs to many corners of the world, serving their brothers and sisters in Cuba, Jamaica, Belize, Palestine and Kenya, just to name a few. Several Kenyan disciples are ministering to their neighboring countries as well.

Grass will grow in fertile soil and disciples will spring forth all over the world. May we continue to flourish like the grass upon the earth and cover the land with our sacrifice and service as disciples of God.

Susann Estle-Cronau is part-time pastor at Hopewell Friends in Quaker, Indiana. During the week, she is a full-time program coordinator for incarcerated veterans at a special re-entry prison in Indianapolis. She is full-time mother of Case, 17, and Chloe, 15.

Discipleship: Relational Connections

By Matt Chesnes

The “Great Omission” is the label Dallas Willard placed on the church’s neglect to make disciples. The church he suggests has omitted, passively or actively, the core objective of its mission. It is a strange practice when Christian churches invest time and energy in developing a relevant mission statement for their ministry when the mission has already been clearly articulated by the One who purchased it with his own blood. He imparted the mission to the disciples in two simple words, “make disciples”. All mission statements connected to the local church must render disciple making as the central focus.

In order for disciple making to be accomplished, there must first be a definition or description of what a disciple is. It is impossible to successfully make something that is undefined. Then, a practical plan of how to make disciples must be established. This article assumes that the reader has a working definition of a disciple; its purpose is to assist the reader in developing a practical disciple making plan, one that is founded upon relationship connections. This will be accomplished by exploring how the Apostle Peter developed into a mature disciple. It is clear that relationship connections, which were established by Jesus, played a significant role in the shaping of this vibrant disciple. Through these personal connections Peter gained a vision of what his life could be in Jesus. Here are a few highlights of Peter’s life-shaping interaction with Jesus.

First, Peter was relationally connected with Jesus. Peter’s discipleship adventure began when he responded to the invitation from Jesus to follow him (Matthew 4:18-20). From that point forward Peter was always “with Jesus”. In this one-on-one connection, Peter learned valuable discipleship lessons. For instance, Peter learned the significance of forgiving others. He wanted to know how many times he should forgive a person who sinned against him. Peter suggested seven times. Jesus taught Peter not to set limits on forgiveness and that true forgiveness flows from the heart (Matthew 18:21-35).

Another lesson Peter learned was how to pray. Although he learned this while with the 12, Peter developed a deep personal prayer life. After the ascension of Jesus, Peter continued to have one-on-one time with Jesus. During a time of prayer Peter fell into a trance. In the midst of this prayer, God granted a visual and verbal revelation to Peter. The central point was that God includes the Gentiles in the plan of salvation. Through this prayer Peter received the next steps of ministry, which included crossing a major cultural boundary in order to preach in a Gentile’s house (Acts 10:9-23). The preeminent relationship in disciple making is with Jesus. The disciple is always to be “with Jesus”. Second, Peter’s relationship with the 12 was vital in his formation as a follower of Jesus. As a reminder, Peter was “with Jesus” while with the 12. This small group was led by Jesus. The impact of this small group was substantial in the maturation of Peter as a disciple. This small group witnessed together the ministry of Jesus and discovered the greatness of Jesus. One day when they were on a boat in rough waters, their Leader commanded the wind and waves to calm down.

It was a bit strange for a person to speak to specific parts of creation and was probably even stranger when the creation responded to His command. It raised the fears and curiosity of the 12 at which they began to discuss the question, “What kind of man is this (Matthew 8:23-27)?” Through experiences like this, the 12 were developing a Christology. They struggled together to learn who Jesus was.

The 12 grew together. Together they argued about who among themselves was the greatest and who would have the seats of power next to Jesus (Matthew 20:20-28). Together they sat at the feet of Jesus to hear Him expound upon parables that were hard to understand. Together they sat around a table where Jesus told them that the bread was His body and the wine was his blood. They did not understand the meaning of what he did at that time, but together they later understood. After supper, Peter was confused when the Lord took a towel and basin so that he could wash their feet (John 13:1-17). Together they experienced all the fears and loss when their leader was arrested, tried and then killed. Eventually, they experienced the joy of resurrection.

Three particular apostles formed a subset of the 12: Peter, James and John. This group was with Jesus at the raising of Jairus’ little girl from the dead (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43) and on the Mount of Transfiguration when the appearance of Jesus changed radically (Matthew 17:1-13). The three were invited deeper in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow (Matthew 26:36-38). Perhaps the three were invited into these extraordinary events because they were to become influential leaders in the early church. (It is a curious thing that there is no mention the other nine disciples.)

Third, Peter was “with Jesus” while among the crowds, some of which numbered in the thousands. The large groups heard Jesus preach, saw Him heal, raise the dead, rebuke the religious leaders, cast out demons and show compassion to sinners. They were amazed by what they saw and heard. All of these experiences influenced the type of man Peter became. It is also recorded that Peter went to the temple to pray. He participated in the feasts at the temple, such as Passover. These large group settings were dynamic components in the faith development of Peter. Similarly, large group gatherings of disciples to hear the preaching and worship is a healthy portion for the development of disciples today.

Fourth, Peter was “with Jesus” while serving others. When Jesus showed compassion to a large hungry crowd by feeding them, Peter was on the food distribution team. Prior to distributing the food, he thought the crowds should be sent away. In his mind, the 12 could not supply all the food that was necessary to feed thousands. Yet, Jesus made it happen (Matthew 14:13-21). Peter learned that Jesus has the resources to meet the needs of masses. His resources go beyond the abilities and resources of his disciples. Another serving episode happened while he and John were on their way to the temple to pray. They encountered a crippled man, Peter, by the power of Jesus working through him, participated in the healing of this man (Acts 3:1-10). Serving others is another essential practice for a growing disciple.

Since relationships played a significant role in the formation of Peter as a disciple of Jesus, the local church that is determined to fulfill the command of Jesus to make disciples must seriously consider how to provide ways to cultivate meaningful relationships. Individual followers of Jesus need to know how to connect with Jesus in prayer and through the word. Furthermore, it is essential that they regularly interact with a small group to grow together through experiencing God together and in theological discussions. In addition, it is of great value to participate in a large gathering to hear the proclamation of the Gospel and to actively worship the living God. Finally, a growing disciple must engage in serving others. These relational connections were critical in the transformation of Peter from a fisherman to a strong man of God, from a fearful man who denied he knew Jesus, to a man who rejoiced because he was persecuted for preaching Jesus.

Jesus made disciples by engaging in various types of relationships. This was part of his intentional plan for making disciples. The method he implemented ought to shape the methods of his church today.

On a personal note, relational connections were extremely important in my early years as a follower of Jesus. At the age of seventeen I finally heard the Gospel of Jesus. Prior to this time I was not attending a church. I was actively involved with the drug and alcohol culture, so living a Christian life was foreign to me. A few Christian young men took me under their wings. They invited me to a Bible study. We connected at worship services. They included me in their week-end activities. Although we did not always talk about spiritual topics, their friendships helped to support my new life.

Matt Chesnes is married to Janice, and they are the parents of three high school children. They also live with a dog, fish and a bird. As a hobby, Matt teaches at Barclay College. He has been a Friends pastor for 25 years.

Ask Tom: How have Quaker views on tombstones changed over time?

By Thomas Hamm
Professor of History; Archivist/Curator, Friends Collection
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana

Editor’s Note: Tom has waited years for this question to be asked, as he is an enthusiast for cemetery and tombstone studies. His list of Quaker burial grounds visited in North America approaches 300.

Early Friends viewed tombstones as a vanity. The function of elaborate tombs and memorials in English parish churches, reminded worshipers of the dominance of local aristocrats even in death. Such vanity embodied everything that Friends found reprehensible. Friends also looked with suspicion on outward displays that served as manifestations of conspicuous consumption. At a time when few people could afford carved tombstones, the erection of one represented such a display.

London Yearly Meeting advised Friends in 1717, “This meeting being informed, that Friends in some places have gone into the vain custom of erecting monuments over the dead bodies of Friends, by stones, inscriptions, etc., it is therefore the advice of this meeting, that all such monuments should be removed, as much as may be with discretion and conveniency; and that none be any where made or set up, near, or over, the dead bodies of Friends or others, in Friends’ burying grounds for time to come.” American yearly meetings followed suit.

Many Friends, however, disregarded this advice, and local meetings were inconsistent in carrying it out. In some burial grounds dating back to the late 17th century, markers before 1850 are not found. In others, crudely carved fieldstones mark graves back to the early 18th century. North Carolina Friends appear to have been more liberal on this score. At Cane Creek, Deep River and Deep Creek, for example, one finds markers going back to the early years of those meetings. The debates continued as Friends moved west. As late as 1847, Indiana Yearly Meeting repeated its advice against gravestones. When Short Creek Meeting in Ohio removed all of the markers from its burial ground, some members responded by establishing family cemeteries.

By the 1850s, however, Friends began to relax this testimony. They apparently followed the lead of London Yearly Meeting, which had become concerned about unmarked graves being disturbed. Friends began to allow “plain” markers that were no more than 15 to 18 inches high, inscribed with only the name, date of death and age. In many burial grounds in Ohio and the Delaware Valley, this continues to be the rule. But for many other Friends, this manifestation of plainness has passed away.

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Book Reviews: January/February 2014

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

By Resa Aslan
Random House, 296 pp; $27

In Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan argues that Jesus was an apocalyptic messianic figure who believed that God was soon to intervene with violence to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. He further argues that Paul, the most significant shaper of early Christian tradition, along with most of the rest of the New Testament books, sought to hide this Jesus and turn him into one who had nothing to say about worldly political and economic issues. Jesus’ Kingdom “was not of this world.” Aslan writes that the books of the New Testament sought to distance themselves from the Jewish struggle to free Israel from the Roman occupation “by erasing, as much as possible, any hint of radicalism or violence, revolution or zealotry, from the story of Jesus” (149). In this, Aslan disagrees with others currently working in examining the Jesus in the Gospels and Paul’s writings, such as John Dominc Crossan and Richard Horsley. These scholars argue that while Jesus was certainly zealous and a revolutionary, he was nonviolent and believed that the Kingdom was present and that the disciples were charged to go and build this kingdom in the here and now. Aslan does agree that Jesus was not “a violent revolutionary, bent on armed rebellion” (79). Where he differs with these other scholars is in arguing that Jesus awaited God’s wrathful intervention to throw out the Roman oppressors and the Jewish elite collaborators. It would make a fine adult study class to read these books that wrestle with what we can discern about Jesus and early Christianity. More vitally, as Crossan poses the question: “Is your God violent or nonviolent?” I would add: “Is your God present on earth or somewhere else?”

Lonnie Valentine
Richmond, Indiana

Yeshu: A Novel for the Open Hearted

By Charles David Kleymeyer
Quaker Heron Press, 2013, 600 pp; $22.95

What do you do when you can’t find a book about Jesus that would capture your teenager’s imagination and interest? You write your own. That is what Charles (Chuck) Kleymeyer has been doing for the last 29 years. Those teenagers are now in their 40’s while another sibling is approaching her teen years.

Yeshu, a Hebrew name reserved for Jesus of Nazareth, is a Midrash, a method of interpreting Biblical stories that fills in the gaps that are only hinted at in the sacred text.

The story of Yeshu’s life is told to us by Daavi, the young neighbor of the carpenter Yeshu. Daavi spends hours in Yeshu’s carpentry shop and travels with him throughout Galilee during his ministry years. In the post resurrection years Daavi has his own wilderness experience as he struggles to understand Yeshu’s life and death.

And from beginning to end . . .
and end to beginning,
I know that I love Yeshu
And Yeshu loves me. Pg. 582

Each chapter in Yeshu is a story that can stand alone or be read as a continuous narrative of Jesus’ early life, ministry, death and resurrection. I was deeply moved by the nature oriented word pictures illustrating our human experiences and Daavi’s spiritual journey as he discovers the inward dwelling Christ. I believe you will find this book to be a treasured resource for individuals, families, First Day School and Adult Religious Education programs. For a preview go to

Joan Dyer Liversidge
Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting, Baltimore Yearly Meeting

Passages: Quaker Obituaries – January/February 2014

DORRELL Homer R. Dorrell, 89, of Mooresville, Indiana passed away peacefully October 19, 2013. Homer was born to Merrill and Lillian (Barnett) Dorrell on June 9, 1924, in West Newton, Indiana. He married Gladys W. (Westerfield) Dorrell on July 20, 1947. Homer graduated from Decatur Central High School in 1942. He received his B.S. in Secondary Education from Indiana University and went on to earn his Masters in Secondary Education from Ball State University. Homer was a high school science teacher for Wayne Township Schools for 21 years, retiring in 1985. He also taught in Kenya, East Africa for eight and a half years. Homer was a World War II Army Veteran. He was a member of West Newton Friends Meeting, a member of Western Yearly Meeting and Friends United Meeting where he and his wife served as missionaries in East Africa. Homer has lived in West Newton, Indiana, all of his life. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Gladys W. (Westerfield) Dorrell of Mooresville, Indiana; three sons, Harold (Pat) Dorrell of Loogootee, Indiana, Dale (Karen) Dorrell of Newton, Iowa and Dean Dorrell of Washington, Indiana; five grandchildren and four great grandchildren; three brothers: Kenneth Dorrell of Indianapolis, Indiana, Chester Dorrell of Indianapolis, Indiana, and W. Ernest Dorrell of Florida and one sister, Mabel White of Franklin, Indiana. Homer is preceded in death by his parents, Merrill and Lillian (Barnett) Dorrell; his brother, Robert Dorrell; sister, Marjorie Imhausen; and his daughter-in-law (Dean’s wife), Karen Dorrell.

GARBERT Wayne Edward Garbert, 93, passed from this life Monday, October 28, 2013, at 8:30 P.M. at Fairmont Rehabilitation Center, where he had been a resident for seven years. A second generation German-American, he was born in Kokomo, Indiana, September 18, 1920, the son of Eduard Johann Wilhelm (Edward William) and Della Mae (Swing) Garbert. The family moved to Harrison Township, in Howard County, Indiana where Wayne attended Alto and West Middleton schools, then later moved to Taylor Township, also in Howard County, Indiana. He attended Kokomo High School and was graduated from Sharpsville High School in 1938. In his youth he played basketball and baseball, maintaining friendship with former teammates throughout his life. On June 29, 1941, he married Martha Doris Allee. Their early Sunday morning ceremony was followed by attendance at Sunday School and worship, then the annual church picnic. He was employed in 1940 as a meat cutter for Beuhler Brothers Meat Market in downtown Kokomo, Indiana. In 1944, he became a salesman for Colonial Baking Company and was a route man in southern Kokomo for 19 years. He loved people, making many friendships among his customers. They enjoyed his stops, as he would often sing, whistle or have a funny story to share. He was later employed by Greentown Locker, Miller Packing and Sycamore Food Shop, from which he retired. He valued his continuing friendship with Grady Martin, his last employer. For many years Wayne was a member of Hemlock Friends Church, (Western Yearly Meeting) where he provided music ministry every Sunday, morning and evening, and mid-week prayer meeting, as song leader and bringing special music. He led music for evangelistic meetings in central Indiana for a number of years, sometimes accompanied by his daughter on piano or organ. In 1969, he became a member of Union Street Friends Meeting (now Kokomo First Friends Meeting),where he participated in the choir, taught Sunday School and served on committees. At the time of his death, he was a member of Russiaville Friends Meeting, in Russiaville, Indiana (Western Yearly Meeting). He continued to provide music ministry into his later years, sometimes including poetry with his presentations. His grandchildren remember him as a fun-loving person of abiding faith and strong moral character. His enjoyment of automobiles, trains, bicycling, backyard wildlife and reading bedtime stories are fond memories. He especially enjoyed playing with his great granddaughter. He is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Ann and husband, Daniel Wayne Carter, Russiaville, Indiana; a grandson, William Wayne Carter, Russiaville, Indiana; a granddaughter, Laurel Ann and husband, Dr. Bruce Allen Whisler, Clemson, South Carolina; and a great-granddaughter, Katherine Ann Whisler. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, and a sister, Mary Louise Garbert.

HODGES John Ellsworth Hodges, 73, of Dunn, North Carolina died Thursday, October 31, 2013, at his home. He was born March 6, 1940, in Sampson County, North Carolina, and was the son of the late Leonard Ellsworth and Eloise (Dawson) Hodges. Mr. Hodges was a member of Bethesda Friends Meeting in Dunn, North Carolina, where he taught the Quaker Fellowship Sunday School class for many years. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and he enjoyed his family and friends tremendously. He was also a retired volunteer fireman with the Plainview Fire Department. Mr. Hodges is survived by his wife, Linda Hodges: one son, Johnny Hodges and wife, Leasa; one daughter, Debbie Summerlin and husband, Ray; two sisters, Peggy Core and husband, Dalma Lee; and Gloria Carroll all of Dunn, North Carolina; and five grandchildren, Erin, Samantha, and Ashley Summerlin, and Rachel and John Hodges.

MILLER Elizabeth “Libby” Miller, 101, peacefully departed this life on Sunday, November 3, 2013, surrounded by family. She was born February 4, 1912, to Henry and Rosa Catherine (Hipskind) Stouffer. She married E. Woodrow “Woody” Miller on May 19, 1940. He died September 18, 2012. Libby lived her entire life in rural Wabash County, Indiana, and graduated from Linlawn High School in 1930, where she played center on the girls’ basketball team. She graduated from International Business College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and was employed as a secretarial assistant to Mark Honeywell at the time he was planning the Honeywell Center. She later worked at Markhon. She had the honor of being the eldest member of the Wabash Friends Church where, for many years, she enjoyed singing in the choir and participating in the Linlawn Missionary Society. She was also a member of the first 4-H club established in Wabash County, Indiana. In addition to her homemaking skills, she was a passionate clothes designer, an avid seamstress and doll collector, adopting over 300 “orphaned” dolls, repairing and dressing them in costumes of her own design and creation and frequently giving them to needy children. She was inspired by the rural landscape of Wabash County, Indiana, to write poetry, and she loved spending time with family and friends, hosting many large family gatherings. Her flower and vegetable gardens were her pride and joy. She loved to play the piano and sing with her family, and enjoyed a great sense of humor. She left many friends and family, including two sisters: Frances Stewart of Monon, Indiana, and Ruth Barnett of North Manchester, Indiana; a sister-in-law, Alice Stouffer of Wabash, Indiana; her daughters: Beth (Dave) Purcell of Kirkwood, Missouri, Susan Fagin of Wabash, Indiana, Marianne Poston Briscoe of Roann, Indiana; and her son, Dan (Marilyn) Miller of Wabash, Indiana. She also leaves 12 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, cousins and wonderful friends to cherish her memory. She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband; her eldest son, Thomas W. Miller; three sisters, Alice Myers Petry, Katherine Vrooman and Velma Mae Stouffer; two brothers, Joseph Stouffer and Robert Stouffer; and three infant great-grandchildren. Libby’s life of service to others and her Christian faith serve as a fine example to her family and friends. She will be sorely missed.

PHILLIPS Sheila (McGinnis) Phillips was born June 8, 1919, in Friendswood, Texas, a small Quaker community founded by her grandfather Frank Brown. She died December 20, 2012, in Lubbock, Texas, at the age of 93. Sheila is survived by her daughter, Jane Henry from Portales, New Mexico, and her son, Williams Phillips, from San Antonio, Texas, 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. After spending her childhood in Friendswood. Sheila met her husband, Harold Phillips, at a church camp in Camp Wood, Kansas. She was 16 and he was 20. Like Sheila, Harold was born and raised in another Quaker settlement in Havilland, Kansas. Harold once stated, “We met at Camp Wood playing table tennis. It was nearly love at first sight.” Sheila’s uncle, Cecil Brown, paid for Sheila to attend college at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, while Harold studied music at University of Kansas. Harold and Sheila were 125 miles apart but corresponded by letter and saw each other occasionally. After graduation they were married on August 9, 1940, in Friendswood. They lived in Ulysses, Kansas, from 1945-1952. Harold taught all grades music (instrumental and vocal) and Sheila operated a dry cleaning shop. They purchased an old hotel, which had been moved from the downtown area, lived in the bottom floor and rented the upper floor apartments. In 1953, Harold and Sheila cam to Clovis, New Mexico, to start a new life as music storeowners with Sheila as the store manager and Harold, the musician. Together, Sheila and Harold helped to foster the cultural enrichment of the citizens of Clovis by supporting music education. Sheila encouraged her children to do their best and set an example of a strong work ethic. She always had a keen sense of curiosity and loved adventure and traveling. She had a great sense of humor and strong intellect until the time of her death. She was also a prodigious reader, reading several books a week and was a good bridge player. Sheila drew strength from her faith and encouraged her family to read the Bible daily and memorize scripture. She had been the standard bearer of the Quaker and musical heritage and wanted her family members to remember their strong family roots. She was generous and encouraging and always set a wonderful Christian example by sharing her love and gifts. She embodied a positive attitude and chose to see the best potential in everyone. She demonstrated gratitude in her life and always said that being grateful was the best way to be happy in life. Sheila will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

PIERCE Lawrence Maxton Pierce, 81, passedaway peacefully on Sunday, November 3, 2013, at his home. Mack was born in Wayne County, North Carolina on July 3, 1932, to the late Bertie Lawrence Pierce and Alma Montague Pierce. Along with his family, Mack owned and operated Nahunta Pork Center. Nahunta Pork Center first opened its doors in 1975 to serve the small rural community of Nahunta, North Carolina, with sausage and fresh pork products. Nahunta Pork Center was actually a spin-off of Nahunta Hog Market and Slaughter House, which had been in business since the mid 1950s as a hog buying station and custom slaughtering plant. In May of 1975, Mack remodeled a bulk tobacco barn and began a small pork retail center. Today Nahunta Pork Center is the largest all pork retail displayer in the eastern United States. For over 70 years, Mack had been a member of Nahunta Friends Meeting. He was devoted to his church, sang in the church choir for over 62 years and was the song leader for Sunday school for 37 years. He also served the church as an elder, finance committee member, youth leader, Sunday school teacher and was involved in many other activities where he utilized his gifts and abilities to share the love of God. Mack lived a life of dedication to his family and friends and to his community. He served his community many ways from serving on the Branch Bank and Trust Company Board for 20 years to his work as a trustee at Mount Olive College for 10 years. He was also one of the founding members of the Nahunta Fire Department and served as a fireman for 15 years. Mack is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jean Hardison Pierce; and his sons, Lawrence Maxton “Larry” Pierce, Jr. and wife, Rita Lynch Pierce of Goldsboro, North Carolina and James Frederick “Freddie” Pierce and wife, Amy Sutton Pierce of Goldsboro, North Carolina. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Brandon Pierce and wife, Mandy, Lauren Pierce, Lindley Pierce. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Milo Pierce and Cedric Pierce; and his sisters, Marjorie P. Radford, Blanche P. Davis and Wilda P. Haswell.

SAVAGE W. Jean Lindley Savage, 88, of Evansville, Indiana, formerly of Tipton County, Indiana, went home to be with the Lord August 25th, 2013, after suffering a stroke. Jean was a life-long Quaker and a member of Russiaville Friends Meeting of Russiaville, Indiana. Jean, the daughter of Walter & Gertrude (Morrison) Lindley, was born on the family farm in Prairie Township, Tipton County, Indiana, on March 7, 1925. She was the youngest of five sisters, all of whom preceded her in death. Opal (Brookbank), Ruby (Collier), Mary (Mitchell) and Betty. Jean graduated from Prairie High School in 1943 and Indiana Business College in 1945. She was a career bookkeeper in Kokomo, Indiana, retiring from Erik’s Chevrolet. Jean was an avid homemaker. In 1949, she married Roy T. Savage, who survives. She was a member of the United Society of Friends Women, County Extension Home Economics Club and the Indiana Society of Pioneers. Jean was a descendant of Indiana Settler Jonathan Lindley. After moving to Evansville, Indiana in 1995, she received much pleasure attending her grandsons’ activities. Jean is also survived by sons John of San Francisco, California, and David (Becky Price) of Evansville, Indiana; grandsons, Matthew of Indianapolis, Indiana, Luke of Evansville, Indiana and Andrew of West Lafayette, Indiana; as well as her many dear nieces and nephews.

WILSON James Edward Wilson, of Snow Camp, died Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, from injuries he suffered in a tractor accident. He was born in Burke County, North Carolina, July 12, 1943, the son of Ruby (Lingafelt) Wilson Wood and the late Robert Edward Wilson. He was preceded in death by his brother, Bobby Wilson; and maternal grandmother, Ruth Chester Lingafelt Curtis. Survivors left to cherish his memories include his wife of 51 years, Louise; sons, Bryan Edward Wilson (Melodee) and Jonathan Wilson (Jennifer); eight grandchildren, Chelsey Wilson, Hayden Wilson, Tanner Wilson, Justen Murray (Kara), Jeremy Murray (Rebecca), Kaitlyn Wilson, Jonathan Wilson and Jeremiah Wilson; brothers, John Wilson (Sarah) of Morganton, North Carolina, and Larry Wilson (Shelia) of Burlington, North Carolina; sisters, Ann Wilson Bush and husband, the late Paul Bush of Morganton, North Carolina, and Joyce Wilson Penland (Edward) of Lakeland, Florida.; nieces, Lisa Bush Norman (Gary) and Heidi Bush Spiess (Jason), both of Morganton, North Carolina, Kristal Penland Boyce (Roger) and Kerri Penland Foster (Ryan), both of Lakeland, Florida, Katina Penland of Miami, Florida, Mindy Wilson of Asheville, North Carolina, and Melissa Wilson of Burlington, North Carolina; three nephews, Randy Bush (Nan) of Morganton, North Carolina, Paul Bush (Kim) of Granite Falls, North Carolina, and Scott Wilson of Marion, North Carolina; six great-nieces; nine great-nephews; and stepfather, Franklin Wood of Morganton, North Carolina. As the eldest of six children, he was always very attentive to the needs of his family and they always knew he was there for them in any situation; his presence will be greatly missed. James graduated from Glen Alpine High School, where he played basketball, football and baseball. He was captain of the 1961 undefeated football team that won the Western North Carolina State Championship, under Coach Jug Wilson, who was like a father to him. His first job was at the Twin Circle Grill, at the age of 14. Before he could drive he purchased his first car, a 1950 Mercury, which he still owned at the time of his death. He was working at Grace Hospital, when he met Louise Teague, whom he fell in love with and married in 1962. He later worked for Kirksey Funeral Home in Morganton. James moved to Snow Camp, North Carolina, in 1965, with his wife and young son, Bryan, to start a new life in Alamance County. James was a member of Cane Creek Friends Meeting in Snow Camp, North Carolina. His ongoing interest in sports led him to establish the Sylvan Athletic Association in Southern Alamance County, where he went on to coach several sports teams. A former Glen Alpine High School teacher, Mrs. Lena Taylor, introduced James to acting and theatre. James had a desire to preserve the history of Snow Camp and in 1972, James and his brother, Bobby, came up with the idea of bringing an outdoor theatre to Snow Camp. James served on the Board of Directors and then as General Manager of the Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre, since 1975. He put his blood, sweat and tears into the theatre. For the past 40 years, the Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre has been a vital part of the community due to his passion, excellence and dedication to the Quaker community. He cared deeply for the company of actors who spent their summers with him and taught them the value of hard work, through his example. James could entertain family and friends, for hours, with his unique gift of storytelling. He was an incredibly loving and compassionate person. His greatest and most enduring legacy will live on through his children and grandchildren, whom he dearly loved and who brought him the greatest pleasure.

Football Nation

By Barbara DeMille

A recent shooting in Sparks, Nevada, has added another name to the lamentable list of teachers killed at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, educators who died while instinctively shielding their students from apparently deranged gunmen armed with automatic weapons and the delusion that the murder of innocents would somehow quell the raging cacophony roaring through their heads.

Yet, as a society we still savor, sing of, lay wreaths at the feet of violence. Our reliance on violence to counter threats, to allay our fears, to serve as an immediate response to an attack, is most evident in the flag-waving and sword rattling that taints our annual memorial to those slaughtered in the 2001 toppling of the World Trade Center. On September 11th, 2001, there was shock swiftly followed by anger and then violent action.

And so we have had two wars with thousands dead and maimed, land laid waste, the lives of survivors damaged forever. Belief seemed to be that sufficient retaliation, more severe than the initial attack upon us, could erase that stark image of our neighbors burning alive or choosing to leap from windows to their deaths.

Such reasoning finds cultural life in our national pastime, football, which satisfies this seemingly insatiable thirst for retaliation. Brutal bodily contact, masses of men headed for collision with each other; football satisfies a universal itch. Recent medical research affirms what has previously been suspected: for those paid to do the colliding, to bear the brunt of these attacks, the constant battering is seriously destructive. A series of even mild concussions frequently leads to brain damage and dementia in later years. Violence will kill, although in some cases it may take decades to do it.

But there is a violence more subtle, though equally lethal. Constant anger and commitment to retaliation wears on the sensibility of a people, obliterating consideration of alternatives. In this frame of mind, constructive action through consideration, serious contemplation and honest acknowledgement of a justifiable root of the anger prompting the attack is labeled weakness. In the “Hit ‘em again, harder, harder,” frame of mind only violence will do, violence escalating with each counter-reaction until all perish. In righteous anger this seems to be a necessary action, but to temper this instinct we are also endowed with intelligence and consideration.

Just as a mob can be roused to commit swift justice by a lynching, a crime that an individual would hesitate to commit, our emphasis on anger, terror and pain — be it as a game or a political policy — without a constructive plan preempts our intelligence, our humanity and our imagination. To return evil for evil is not a solution; it is a reaction.

And war is not a game with defined limits. Once begun in righteous or unrighteous anger, it is so very difficult to end. Gandhi once said, “Violence will prevail over violence, only when someone can convince me that darkness can be dispelled by darkness.”

Too many troubled young men, too many automatic weapons and violent video games, too much cheering for those who can hit the hardest; this is our darkness of which we should be ashamed. Something must be done, and it must be done by those of us still sane enough to be horrified, still aghast, still outraged that gun money still controls our congress and ultimately our lives.

Barbara DeMille is a retired associate professor who taught English Literature at William & Mary College. She and her husband live in Rensselaerville, New York.

A Faithful Responsibility

By Dave Kingrey

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NRSV). Bearing one another’s burdens is a direct imperative of the Apostle Paul to the Galatian Christians, and it follows his concern about “anyone” who may have been “detected in a transgression” (Galatians 6:1 NRSV). Paul advises that Christians, who have received the Spirit, should restore such a person with gentleness. Paul’s message is very relevant to Christians/Friends today, both for the individual and the church. Everyone has personal burdens to bear: guilt from transgressions, losses, failures, disappointments, and other difficulties. In our churches/Friends meetings we sometimes face the burden of financial challenges, disunity within the fellowship or lack of vision.

Paul tells us that we, the “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NRSV), are to support one another amidst personal and church-wide burdens, and in so doing, we will “fulfill the law of Christ.” As he points us to Christ, we look to Jesus, our supreme “Teacher and Lord” (John 13:13 NRSV), for the fullest counsel on bearing one another’s burdens. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NRSV). Jesus’ lesson begins with an invitation to come to him when we are burdened, and he promises to give us rest. He asks us to learn from him, because he is gentle and humble in heart. He explains that in him we can find rest for our souls. Then he teaches that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Yoked with Christ, we have his divine strength abiding with us, easing our loads and helping us to carry our burdens. What an offer!

These teachings of Jesus and Paul have sustained me through my life in Friends pastoral ministry in Friends United Meeting and Evangelical Friends Church International. The words of counsel given by Christ and Paul have guided me in my ministerial work at Purdue University, University Friends Meeting in Wichita, Kansas, Whittier Friends Meeting in Whittier, California, High Point Friends Meeting in High Point, North Carolina, and now, in my teaching at Barclay College. Relying upon Christ’s strength, I have been particularly diligent to help these Friends communities bear their burdens, some of which have seemed enormous. As a pastor, I have discovered sometimes that the burdens of individuals and the churches have become my own. When this has happened, I have found myself working more intimately with Friends as a fellow seeker for answers to our mutual problems. Hopefully, I have pointed us to the gentle, humble Christ, working within to provide the perfect answer we need. The counsel of George Fox in his Journal has been beneficial. “I . . . turned them to the light of Christ in their hearts.”

A question for us to consider is: “How might we respond more faithfully to Paul’s directive and Jesus’ gracious offer?” Will you join me in answering this crucial question? Some responses seem necessary to me. We can share the compassion of Jesus with members of our church community who are experiencing heavy loads. We want to reassure them that the power of God in Christ, which is greater than any of our burdens, is available to all of us. Relying upon Christ’s power within, we are lifted beyond our feeble human attempts and given Godly strength. Moreover, if we are to “fulfill the law of Christ,” we will follow Jesus, who modeled for us the true way to love, forgive, heal, reconcile and pray for one another. Very significant, also, is our ministry of encouragement, since burdens often cause discouragement. Finally, we need to express generously our gratitude to God. The prayer of Jesus is our ultimate model, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth . . .” (Matthew 11:25 NRSV).

Bearing one another’s burdens is central to the Christian community and becomes a joyful responsibility when strengthened by the resources of the living Christ.

Dave KingreyDavid Kingrey is Professor and Chair of the Division of Bible/Ministry at Barclay College, and Director of the Church Leadership Institute for Ministry, Evangelical Friends Church Mid-America Yearly Meeting.