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Woolman

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Kristen's Woolman slides

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Woolman

  1. 1. Living Testimony
  2. 2.  Part A – Biographical Sketch  Part B – Woolman’s Inward/Outward Life  Part C – Woolman’s Legacy
  3. 3. Born October 1720 in West New Jersey, a Quaker colony in the Americas
  4. 4.  From Lord Berkeley  From the native peoples
  5. 5.  A thoughtful and meditative child, with a “wild period” in his youth  Capacity for self-criticism and sensitive to contradictions between stated values and some practices among Friends  Early experience with troubled conscience and regret  Began series of choices to harmonize work and values
  6. 6.  Let go of profitable retail operation to allow more time for reflection and travel  Refused to write any more documents or wills involving sale or transfer of slaves
  7. 7.  war tax and armed resistance  billeting soldiers The Death of General Wolfe, Benjamin West 1770
  8. 8. “conduct is more convincing than language”
  9. 9. Concern for “oppressors” as well as “oppressed”
  10. 10. is about relationships among people and with Creation
  11. 11. • dyed clothing • sugar
  12. 12. • using land wisely • care of beasts
  13. 13. Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most High. Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments, that he cannot be partial in our favor. Anti-slavery work: laboring with Friends • with his yearly meeting • in Southern Colonies • London Yearly Meeting
  14. 14.  voyage over  London Yearly Meeting epistle  death in York
  15. 15. The Inward/Outward Life: how John Woolman stayed grounded •abolitionist • mystic •gentle radical •social reformer
  16. 16. Prayer and action To love and reverence God is to love and reverence God “in all his manifestations in the visible world”
  17. 17. but puts a claim on the faithful to work for justice, however unpopular
  18. 18. one can speak plainly without being self-righteous
  19. 19. Inward Practices Corporate Worship • find a way forward without ego or pride • connect with the condition of others • be challenged and supported Meditative Reading • Scripture “and other good books” • Read Bible as mirror • Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah Journal Keeping – an “inner laboratory”
  20. 20. Outward Practices Witness through Personal Choice • livelihood • dress • travel Witness through conversation • ministry • travel among Friends • an invitation to greater sympathy with others
  21. 21. Seeking harmony and integration of inward and outward Prayer as “inward activism” and witness as “outward prayer” Dan Snyder 2008 Integration of all the testimonies – springing from one source i.e. simplicity and peace
  22. 22. Woolman’s Legacy
  23. 23.  The impact of our economic choices on peace and justice  The rights of people, animals and the environment – harmony and sustainability  War tax resistance  Xenophobia
  24. 24.  Starting with self, then nearest community, then wider community  Grounding work in personal experience; seeking to understand the condition of others  Not enough to talk about issues, but to take action, however small the steps  Positive action more effective than negative
  25. 25.  Speaking with respect, even when offering criticism; offering an invitation to grow  Recognizing the imperfections of humanity – don’t expect miracles, but don’t be satisfied with the status quo  Even oppressors need redemption  Doing the fair thing, even at personal cost
  26. 26. The journal of John Woolman has never been out of print since it was first published over 200 years ago. Its influence extends beyond the world of Friends.

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