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InOBU BS: The Quakers (114* d) RE: BS: The Quakers 21 Jan 11


Dear Friends:

I should say, after musing on this for a day, that it is not the schools alone that are the problem, they are the symptom. Rather it is the general dumbing down of the USA, due, in part to the efforts of one of the two Quaker presidents, Richard Nixon.

I hear tea cups clatter down, and coffee and tea sputter out soaking computer screens from Kansas to Kingussie. "What's he on about now?"

Well... Nixon blaimed the sixties on several things. One, the news media, the other, social studies in education. In forming the present culture of greed, in which Nixon was a pioneer and trail blazer, he worked to achieve and end to liberal news gathering and an end to social studies in grade school - break the teaching of a culture of liberty in America.

On the news front, CBS, in responce to the stated goal of Republicans taking over news corporations brought in Larry Tish, what passes for a liberal among the rich, to bolster up the corporation so that it would not be taken over by someone like Murdoch. Tish, not being a newsperson, invented the news magazine format, and in the nightly news brought the "if it bleeds it leads" reporting to TV. Violence was removed from context ( for an example compair US TV to Canadian TV news... CNN vs. CBS.) All this was a part of the dumbing down of the USA... the news bite culture.

So... how has this effected Quakerism. I remember as a young child in First Day School being taught things which adult Quakerism classes today never get to... we were enculturated in the process of our faith.

As a very young Friend, we were led to understand our faith by Anna L. Curtis, the Quaker writer and grandaughter of Underground Railroad conductors. At around 10, we began to think deeply about the delemmas of living in the world but not becomeing part of the world, with Peter Fingestine. I remember his reading with us, a New York Times artical on territorialism among humans and other primates and discussing with us, how, can we as Friends - work with these parts of us, dictated by nature ... by God, and still build the peaceable kingdom.

By 12, with Herb White we were talking about what sin is in Quakerism, separation rather than rule breaking... in short, in Frist Day School, we took serriously the last part of Hillel's instruction to the Roman soldier in the conversation with Shimai... "Do nothing to another which is abhorant to thyself, that is the Torrah and the rest is commentary, love God with all thy heart, now go and study." It is the now go and study part that has been lost.

First day school is taught in a way which is little more than baby sitting. Now I know a lot of very faithful R.E. folks will be hurt by this, and say, "NO! We did the peacefeather pagent last year!" But, unfortunatly, this generation teaching, grew up on Seasime street, and has no understanding of the difference between the sound bite culture and the last glimmerings of the enlightenment which gave us birth and died of a masive heart attack with the sudden apearence of the muppets as the mentors of their generation.

Many Quakers think, a) Quakerism is a set of liberal conclusions, B) it happens magically because God talks to thee and not you. So, I hear New Age Quakers go on about channeling God in Meetings and laying it on the rest of us... the listening to God in others seems to be a sort of ... oh... politeness which may be given a nod without a handshake... a bless you after a sneeze.

Well that is a good start from me, I will settle into silence for a bit and see if this plants seeds with any of you out there, either thorn bushes or corn.

Thine, dearly in the light
Lorcan


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