Dave Hanson

amateur theologian, pseudo-quaker, beard enthusiast

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Protofeminist Quakers

Mary Cole and Priscilla Cotton respond to the silencing of women in church

Early Quaker women’s writings contain some of the most creative and powerful scriptural arguments in the Friends tradition. Quakerism started in the 1650’s by a group of seekers including George Fox, Elizabeth Hooten and many others. Among the early Quakers, women and men were moved by the Spirit to speak in the meetings. The church establishment of the day found this to be outrageous and women were regularly abused and imprisoned for standing up and speaking in church.

One of my favorite arguments for women’s speech comes from Priscilla Cotton and Mary Cole in *To the priests and people of England we discharge our consciences…"

The first section is somewhat standard Quaker fare as a polemic against the religious abusers of the day being of ‘Cain’s generation’. (Cain murdered his brother Abel). Cain’s...

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The Power of Translation

This blog entry is going to raise questions about translating the Bible. ::NOTE I am not a scholar in Biblical Studies and I do not know the biblical languages:: Translating the Bible puts a lot of power in the hands of a translator. First we must consider what merits a successful translation. Is it the one that most accurately represents the authors original intent or the actual words that the author wrote? When there are decisions to be made about the translation of a word or phrase should that decision be based upon scholarship or tradition? When a group or person translates the Bible what is their motive in doing so?

A good place to start is the King Jame Bible that was commissioned by its namesake in 1604 and completed in 1611. It became one of the most influential books ever published in the English language. This was largely planned. King James authorized his Bible and it was to...

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Quakerism - My faith

So I’m not going to go over what Quakerism is for everyone, but rather focus on what Quakerism means to me.

I felt the evil weakening in me and the good raised up - Robert Barclay

For me, Quakerism is about experiencing God’s leading in life. God calls and I attempt to do. It’s almost a form of continual improvement; with the fruit of following God being more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

This is not based on some sort of complex theology. The election of the saints or the depravity of my inward self play no role in this type of life. Quakerism is based upon orthopraxis “right practice” rather than an orthodoxy “right thinking”. This idea goes back to the beginning of the Religious Society of Friends where George Fox rejected notions about God (creed, dogma) and focused more on the experience of God. One can have “bad” theology and be a...

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What to do

I haven’t written here in awhile because I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with this blog. Generally, I try to stay out of politics; however, the present moment has brought me into them more fully that I would like. I don’t really want to write about that. I think I’m going to try to do a post a week about Quaker History or Biblical interpretation. They may veer somewhat into philosophy or politics at certain points, but the general feeling is to put fingers to keyboard and hammer some things out. I’ve been so busy with work and school the past few years I’ve neglected personal writing and I’d like to get back to it ASAP. This entry might seem like garbage, yet it helps start the cycle of writing and thinking. Hopefully, I’ll get some good ideas at the Quaker research conference this week.

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God’s Kingdom God’s Way

“Can we achieve God’s end with evil means?”

In today’s religious and political environment we are either offered or told to compromise our beliefs or values to promote a greater goal. By looking at the story of Jesus’s temptation to power, one can see an alternative to compromising belief. We’ll explore Jesus’s rejection of the devil in favor of crafting the Kingdom of God, God’s way.

The desert temptations of Jesus in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke) occur before Jesus begins his public ministry. Mark merely mentions the temptations of Christ, while Matthew and Luke each give detailed and differing chronological accounts of the temptations. Luke differs with Matthew on the order of the temptations. We’ll use Luke’s account for this post.

In the Lukan account:

So he took him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The Devil said to him, “I will give...

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The Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one...

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The Challenge of Jesus

:: Some of ideas of this post come from John Dear’s Jesus the Rebel ::

Read at a surface level, Mark 3 is a story about Jesus healing a man. “Stretch out your hand and be healed” and the deed is accomplished. At a deeper level, this story is about justice, resistance, and a love of humanity. In context, Jesus asks the Pharisees if it is ok to heal the man on the Sabbath. According to their beliefs, one probably could not be healed on the Sabbath, because all works on the Sabbath are for God. What’s important is that Jesus asks. The Pharisees respond with silence. What does this mean? We’ll the Pharisees are in a ‘yes/no’ situation. Yes, allow Jesus to heal the man. Jesus wants this answer. This answer elevates the man to being cared of by God. This answer elevates Jesus as one who is able to heal and recognizes his ability to forgive sin.

In the negative, the Pharisees can also...

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The Frustration of Theology

Frustration of Theology
Theology is not for the faint of heart. The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know much about anything. I continue to be driven back towards the personal experience of God. Currently, I’m am driven towards the idea of central to the story of humanity is the encounter with the divine. This is best represented in the incarnation of God, Jesus of Nazareth.

The passion narrative drives the story of Jesus in the gospels. Ultimately Christ dies on the cross for the sins of humanity. The New Testament makes multiple atonement claims on how exactly this all works, but that’s a longer blog post fraught with more peril than this one.

I feel like we have over programmed our Christianity. This is largely due to the larger segmentation of society. With our increased specialization, we believe we must always seek specialists to help us along the way. To lose weight...

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The Politics of Jesus - Review

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder is an interesting read that challenges the traditional Christian views on power, social responsibility, and violence.

Howard’s Thesis Question for the work is best put on page 22
“I propose to read the gospel narrative with the constantly present question, is there a social ethic?” I shall in other words be testing the hypothesis that runs counter to the prevalent assumptions: the hypothesis that the ministry and the claims of Jesus are best understood as presenting to men not the avoidance of political opinions, but one particular social-political-ethical option.

Oftentimes, I find myself reading the Bible with some of those assumptions. What if some of Jesus’s teachings aren’t just spiritual but also point us to practical behaviors that are drastically different then today’s?

While reading Yoder’s work, I found the first four chapters to...

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