IT’S COMFORTING TO FIND OTHERS ALSO INTRIGUED BY THESE HISTORIES

Jnana's Red Barn

A common version of the rise of the Quaker movement has George Fox wandering north from the English Midlands, receiving a vision atop Pendle Hill in 1652, and soon after finding welcome among a radical group known as the Seekers. As his message then ignites them, the Society of Friends is born and spreads amid a flurry of controversy and persecution.

Many contemporary Friends are quite fond of the term, “Seekers After Truth,” another name for those English radicals, by the way – and that serves to reinforce this view of history.

I’ve leaned toward a somewhat different take, especially in regard to the Mennonite-tinged General Baptists in England who shaped Fox’s growth in the half-dozen years before his 1652 Pendle Hill epiphany.

While history can be quite fascinating on its own terms, my bigger interest is on the continuing impact on thought and action in the present, and that’s…

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