Ben Pink Dandelion

Ben Pink Dandelion

I have worked on Quaker history, theology and sociology for over 25 years now. I work at Woodbrooke, the Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham but also work with Lancaster and Birmingham Universities.


  • @DaleGodfrey Sorry, I have fixed the links now.

  • Lampitt was a puritan, perhaps 'half way there' in Fox's view, but still too wedded to scripture. Lampitt would lose his living in 1662 as more mainstream Anglicanism reasserted itself.

  • All I can find is this Ann. I hope it helps

    Where allowed, as a non-credal church, Quakers are part of local ecumenical groupings and are full members of the national ecumenical bodies in Britain.

  • Thanks, Bill, Conservative and Liberal Quakers, those who worship in silence, tend not to 'spread the word' but see themselves as one faith option amongst all or none. From their perspective, nobody needs to join anything, whereas for evangelicals, Christian salvation is essential.

  • Thanks Diane, that's important to remember. Lampitt for one lost his living for example.

  • I am a Quaker, Dorothy, but hope I am committed to any course :)

  • absolutely, Maria

  • Thanks Irene, that's very helpful

  • @ChrisLoten Thanks, Chris, sorry I missed the password in your original message. Playing wonderfully.

  • @ChrisLoten Thanks Chris. I couldn't get the video to play, it said it was private.

  • @HughRobertson Days of Fasting and Humiliation were national days of public prayer and repentance called
    when recent events (such as a defeat in battle, a flood or a bad harvest) were taken to
    indicate God’s judgement. They could be called by the religious or the civic authorities;
    Cromwell called a number of these while he was in power as Lord Protector.

  • Thanks Bill. My sense is that Lampitt had a reputation and that Foix wanted to challenge him, also that he felt his congregation were potential converts. Swarthmoor Hall had a tradition of housing travelling preachers.

  • @MaryEllenKerans The journal was only published after Fox died but the manuscripts are available; that is why we know so much about the two versions. Certainly editing went on but I am not sure what the advantage would be in this case.

  • He was very able, Paul and the theology is quite straightforward in some ways. I assume he must have left Yorkshire not long after Fox did, or perhaps when it became clear that things were taking off in Westmoreland.

  • @ClaireWinstanley That's right generally Claire but when the Judge asked if he considered himself the son of God, he did not deny it.

  • @MaryEllenKerans I am not sure that I would take it that far, but that on a theo-political level, he couldn't really sit down with these people.

  • @BenWood sorry, Ben, I do not know.

  • @HughRobertson Thanks so much for searching all this out!

  • I think it is working now, maybe you were so quick off the mark!

  • I think it is working now, maybe you were so quick off the mark!

  • Thanks Susanna. 'Programmed' means there is a pre-arranged order of service, 'unprogrammed' is where the worship is based in silence. Quakers globally are divided into geographical 'yearly meetings'. Sometimes, as say with Norway, it will coincide with a a whole country, but in say the USA there are 29 yearly meetings. Sometimes there are yearly meetings...

  • I am not sure, Adrienne. The King agreed to see her so I assume it wasn't too outrageous.

  • We don't know how they really felt about each other, unfortunately.

    Here is Fell on women ministers:

  • @MicaelaKristin-Kali
    Directly below that you will see two buttons. Press View Page.

    Next page - that will take you to a badly OCR-ed view of the title page. At the bottom of that page press the button marked Page Image.

    Next page - now you should have reached the photographic image of the title page. From there, if you use the Next Image button you...

  • Yes, alas Micaela, they are not on the Lancaster website yet. They were first printed in 1710, titled A Brief Collection of Remarkable Passages and Occurrences relating to the Birth, Education, Life, Conversion, Travels, Services, and Deep Sufferings of that Ancient, Eminent, and Faithful Servant of the Lord, Margaret Fell; But by her Second Marriage,...

  • Yes, Jill, that is how I read it.

  • Yes, I think priest and minister are used interchangeably

  • James Nayler was one of the Seekers that Fox had met in Yorkshire in 1651. He was an early Quaker convert and a very able preacher. He was seen by many to be the leader of the movement.

  • No, no proof I am afraid.

  • @AdrienneCullen-Morgan Not having the freedom to eat with them I think refers to Fox feeling he could not eat with them because it would involve a loss of spiritual integrity.

  • @AnnT Thanks Ann. Professors would be those professing religion, ie independent or unaffiliated preachers. Not having the freedom to eat with them I think refers to Fox feeling he could not eat with them because it would involve a loss of spiritual integrity.

  • Thanks Paul. He would respond if he thought God told him to! It just wasn't always in the expected form.

  • @AdrienneCullen-Morgan Thanks Adrienne. Penn only became a Quaker in 1666 so does not feature much in this course.

  • Thanks Irene. Fox felt that it was if he and the other Quakers were as 'adults' now in their relationship with God. That it was the time for humanity's adulthood in terms of the biblical timeline.

  • The key term here, Randal, is the pejorative use of 'reasoning'. The Quakers felt they has the real experience rather than just ideas or beliefs. But yes, they develop their own theology from that.

  • I think it would have been seen to be very rude in certain settings, as would failing to remove your hat.

  • @DoloresKoenig we will return to what happened to the Quakers later next week, but by the twentieth century Quakerism had divided into different branches with the British Quakers part of a Liberal tradition emphasising the spiritual journey as one faith option, rather than prescribing particular beliefs.

  • @BarbaraMyers and in Nayler's case, his wife Anne looked after the farm. Quakers were not the poorest of people and were often literate, but equally when religion is the most important question in a land that has already seen mass displacement through the civil war, maybe it was easier to leave home than say now.

  • Thanks, Liz. There was a great coherence to interpretation; perhaps people took their lead from Fox, but also Margaret Fell, who we meet next week, was very skilled at writing to the new communities and helping them frame their experience.

  • He dictated his journal on two occasions, both when he thought he was close to death in prison. Maybe those were the moments he had the time.

  • Fox first went to jail under a charge of blasphemy as he did not deny he was the son of God ( because he claimed all those who had had the kind of experience he had had were children of God). Churchgoing was expected of everyone at this time.

  • Thanks, Dale. I think they assumed there was one God. That seems implicit in many of their writings.

  • My understanding, Hugh, is that Puritans had a strong sense of a covenant of grace.

  • Thanks Patricia. This grand day out was not just for Quakers but for everyone in the area interested in hearing different preachers. But fore the Quakers too, whilst spirituality was inward, their experience bound them together. Many left their homes to follow the movement. It was not an individualistic faith but a collective spirituality focused on the inward.

  • There are a great many good points here, Neil.

  • In some ways, Quakers levelled society down, but their manner and patterns of speech and behaviour would still set them apart, not saying 'Good Morning' for example.

  • Thanks Olwen. Yes, it is true that Quakers claim that anyone can have an experience of God anywhere and at any time but there ia also something deeper and perhaps more reliable about gathering together to try to 'listen to God.' The experience is different; additionally, people can hear the messages that other Quakers feel they have been given.

  • I agree, Enid, all the zeal of a revolutionary and then the excitement of gaining a mass following.

  • Thanks Susan. I think that particularly in the early years, there was an oral tradition. Even tracts may have been read out publicly rather than read individually.

  • Great response, Paul,a nd it chimes with another comment as to why Quakerism never realised its ambitions. However, the Quakers were perceived to represent the biggest threat to the religious social order: the Bristol academic in his book on the republic Ronald Hutton talks of people in London anxiously looking across the channel worried about an invasion but...

  • @PaulKamill My sense, Paul is that they quote the Hebrew scriptures because the prophecy there ties in with the culmination of the new Testament in the book of revelation. They are less focused on Jesus and the first coming of Christ and more on the culmination of God's plan for humanity as they read it across the Bible.

  • Thanks Sheila. By pure silence, I take it to mean worship without any spoken contribution.

  • I expect both, Jill. Silent worship is seen as sufficient to hear God's guidance but also other Quakers can act as conduits for specific messages.

  • @ShirleyHeelas I think you well might find a feeling of belonging in a Quaker community, Shirley.

  • Thanks Adrienne. Just to remind you that present-day Quakers are very much less dogmatic than Fox! Quakers no long see themselves as the only true way.

  • Thanks, Micaela. Angus Winchester tells me there is no external corroboration for any of these events prior to the Firbank Fell gathering, and even then nothing contemporaneous.

  • Thanks Enid, we hear more of what happened after 1652 in week 3.

  • There was a great strength of leadership, it wasn't just down to 1 or 2 or 3 people: clearly some people had the abilities to preach well and organise well and would take on those roles. One of the advantages of such a simple form of worship is that it is very easy to set off, and then move on. You don't need to leave a 'priest in charge' or have a special...

  • Thanks Claire. I read it in the latter way.

  • Thanks Shirley!

  • apologies, 'felt the need to bring'

  • @MaryEllenKerans I see your point Mary Ellen. What happened for these Quakers though was not about rational agreement but a similarity of spiritual experience. So in the end, they had their own empirical evidence.

  • Thanks Adrienne!

  • He married Margaret Fell in 1669, a Quaker we will meet next week.

  • Thanks Barbara. I do not know who redacts comments, probably FL, and I do not know their criteria for doing so.

  • That's a really good question, Susanna. Certainly the later journal is longer and more detailed.

  • Thanks Susanna. The bible for early Quakers was the word of God as revealed to its writers but Fox and the others felt they now had a more contemporary and unfolding source of authority in their revelatory experiences. The authority of the Bible was secondary to the authority or revelation. Of course, having grown up as church-goers, they knew their scripture...

  • Thanks Glenys. The community discerned what was right and wrong and if someone followed their own path, they would be talked with, and failing that, have it publicly made clear that they were not in unity with the group. It amazes me how little schism there was in the first decades of the movement.

  • This is an excellent point, Laura. Quakers authenticate their beliefs through 'discernment', a process of spiritual listening. But yes, there is the constant danger of listening to the imagination instead. So, in turn personal 'leadings' are 'tested' within the community to avoid the dangers of individualism or personal preference getting in the way of God's...

  • @SusannaChiarenzi Today, Susanna, Quakers may refer to each other as Friends. From all accounts, the first Quakers did not bother with any ritualistic greetings.

  • Hi Michael, Angus is not on the course but can I help? Can you say more so I can understand your question?

  • Thanks Mary Ellen. I don't think Fox spoke any other language but there was also the idea that 'ministry' (ie what came from God) would be understood without the need to know the literal words of the message. I think there may have been translators present when Fisher met the Sultan.

  • @MaryEllenKerans Thanks Mary Ellen - we will do more on silence and outward forms later this week. For Quakers, absence leads to a sense of presence.

  • @ChrisHughes Thanks Chris. Convinced is used to refer to a six stage process that the early Quakers experienced. 1) God broke into their lives, 2) they saw their life for how it really was, 3) they were offered a choice of anew life, 4) they took that new path, 5) they found an urge to gather into community, 6) they felt the end to bring others into their...

  • Thanks William. As we will see next week, the fire and plague of 1666, as well as the destruction of the British Navy by the Dutch, di affect how Quakers presented themselves. Even with all those cataclysmic events which could be likened to the forecasts of the book of revelation, the world did not change dramatically and Quakers mentioned their idea of an ...

  • @PaulKamill Thanks Paul. I believe Fox was travelling by foot. It took perhaps two weeks from Pendle Hill to Sedbergh. He was 28 and it was a long hot summer.

  • Thanks Ben, thanks Neil. I think Fox travelled strategically, going to people he knew might shelter him, who then in turn might recommend him his next lodging. That is partly why he came north in the first place after his time in Derby jail: he was looking to find allies.

  • Welcome to week 2!
    Please do keep spreading the word, it would be great to increase the size of our learning community!

  • Thanks Kathleen. By 'church' I meant a community of believers. In terms of their certainty that only they are right, they are similar at this stage to lots of other groups then and now. In terms of their practice and source of authority, they are very different. I hope that helps.

  • Thanks Michael. Yes, the course is moving away from Fox as a person to more about the ideas of his and other early Quakers. Alas, even the text here is his own personal recollection/ spiritual autobiography and there are no collaborating documents that we know of for this part of his journey.

  • @ClaireWinstanley We don't know, Claire, unfortunately. Fox attributes everything to direct inspiration from God.

  • Thanks June. Quakers claimed a direct experience of God, as we shall see in the next steps. They claimed they could hear God's voice and guidance.

  • Thanks Barbara. Yes Fox interprets his experience from within his own context but he also claims he hears a voice (god's?) telling him that Christ Jesus can speak to his condition, so he is saying he is hearing a very specific message.

  • Yes, Tim, I think that's right: all human society is levelled, but they would still look to God for guidance and leadership, so we may also call it a theocratic model.

  • Thanks Mary Ann. I may be using God as a shorthand although Fox does talk a lot about God. He also uses Christ Jesus rather than Jesus Christ at times perhaps suggesting that Jesus was an incarnation of the Christ. Many early Quakers met they were experiencing the second coming of Christ inwardly and were less focused on the first coming, ie Jesus.

    Fox is...

  • Thanks, Paul, we will do more about Fox's travels next week.

  • as we shall hear, Barbara, Fox thought that everyone would have a similar opportunity.

  • No, Mary Ellen, not explicitly. Some read it that way however.

  • It is now working but only kicks in on the afternoon of Day 2.

  • sounds good, John!

  • Thanks, John. You had a nice day for it! Yes, early Quakers were very clear they were right but also clear that everyone could become a Quaker. Their dogmatism is very different from the Quakers in Britain today.

  • Thanks Hugh. We are using 'inwardness' here as a shorthand to try and convey their ideas. To set up a whole church as it were on the idea of inward encounter was unusual, in spite of the long history of mystical encounter generally. Few others so critiqued the 'outward', a topic we will look at next week.

  • @TrishThomas after 1611, there is a Bible in English in every church and English language versions are circulating.

  • Modern Quakers, Adrienne, would very much agree with you about respecting different approaches. Quakers stopped seeing themselves as 'the true church' by about the 1820s.

  • Early Quakers were wary of too much book-learning, Mary Ann

  • I read it as meaning God, Lisa

  • @FionaMcIntosh Thanks so much for sharing the links

  • Quakerism certainly grew out of that experience and context, Irene

  • @MaryEllenKerans No, it isn't on the FL platform. You can find out more about Woodbrooke courses here

  • You are very welcome, Jessica. Do bear in mind that the Quakers we will meet on this course are very different in tone and style and belief from those you may meet today!