One Quaker and the Bible

Ah, today was the rest day at the Friends General Conference, a week of wacky Quakers. Since we had no activities planned for the afternoon, I slept and then read some Doris Lessing and then walked to downtown Blacksburg, VA and purchased blueberries from the Farmers Market.

Today in the workshop I co-lead with Kody Hersh (aka Super Quaker Lad) our topic for the high school and young adult participants was Quakers and the Bible. Many modern liberal Friends know very little about the Bible, particularly the young people, and some carry decidedly negative assumptions and opinions about it. We discussed these in a worship sharing context and then I walked them through a Bibliodrama, so that they could experience a passage of the Bible firsthand.

In reflecting on the Bible, one high school student shared the following about his first childhood encounter with the Bible.

At my yearly meeting one year I found a children’s bible and I was drawn to it, not because it was spiritual, but because it had stories of violence in it. My parents  were not big on giving me stories on conflict, so I was really excited that there was this Bible that had people fighting and killing each other.
-Scott, Iowa Yearly Meeting (WI)

This post has 6 Comments

  1. Martin Kelley on July 2, 2009 at 3:50 am

    As you know a few years ago Zac Moon and I did a similar workshop, attended by a younger Super Quaker Lad, and we expected that a lot of high schoolers wouldn’t have much experience with the Bible. What we didn’t know was how far they’d put up with our Bible reading.

    What we did was read through the “Sermon on the Mount” over the five days. Every day, the high-schoolers would read a paragraph each and pass the Sermon around till we had finished that day’s reading. At mid-week we asked for anonymous evaluations so we could gauge how things were going. The only complaint we got was that some of the readers were mumbling and could they please speak up so they could hear the Sermon!

    Most of the negative stereotypes you hear from younger (birthright) Friends are second-hand. If you actually share some of the exciting parts and show that it’s possible to be socially liberal and like the Bible, that’s a lesson right there.

    Thanks for sharing the week with us this way!

  2. p2son on July 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Martin, I love that in your workshop with Zac and the young Quakes you read the Sermon on the Mount as you do, bit by bit over a few days. Have you yet read John Henson’s Good As New translation of the New Testament? I especially love how he translates the Matthew 6 and 7.

    For my part I have found the Bibliodrama as an effective way to dig into a passage deeper than a straight-forward discussion. It also helps to unearth the Jesus from the text compared to that other Jesus towards whom many Friends feel a bias.

    Thank you for visiting and for commenting and for the recent link on QuakerQuaker.

  3. Martin Kelley on July 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    The “Bibliodrama” sounds fun, I’d like to see what that looks like. I was lucky in that Zac has a great presentational style and did some of the Walter Wink turning-the-other-cheek drama.

  4. Joe G. on July 4, 2009 at 3:39 am

    I like how the young Friend was drawn to the Bible because of the violence it contains. 🙂

  5. Mike Shell on July 6, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Aha, not a surprise about the violence in the Bible, but definitely an original take on it.

    And as for not being able to hear the Sermon clearly: “I think he said, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers’.”


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