Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review of Quaker Leader Becky Ankeny's new ebook, ...Accept Gay Marriage

I wish Becky Ankeny had achieved her goal in her new ebook,
A Leisurely Introduction to How a Bible-Believing Christian Can Accept Gay Marriage in the Church.

I support equality in marriage for everyone, both same sexual couples and opposite sexual couples. And not only is marriage a human right, it is very important for ethical truth.

Too often in the past, and especially in contemporary culture and society, millions of humans choose promiscuity, polygamy, prostitution, pornography, loneliness and lack of intimacy, etc.

A chosen intimate, permanent covenant between two individuals in contrast delivers humans from the vagaries of immoral and unjust behavior. Even more importantly, is the deep sharing, communing, companionship, and the far-reaching goals two committed to each other
can achieve.

But it goes beyond that, too. A covenant is a transcendent experience which enhances humans' lives in other ways as well.

And, lastly (or firstly) a covenant is a witness to wonder, goodness, truth, justice--to the ultimate nature of reality.

Becky Ankeny raises so many good points, and puts forward appealing positives in her short booklet. (It is well worth the dollar through Amazon!) She reminds readers of the differences between the "universal" versus the "cultural," the goodness but limited worth of analogies, and that caring is far more important than rules.

And the shocking fact, that she as a conservative Evangelical Quaker has published this pro-gay marriage book at the height/depth of the current debacle going on in North West Yearly Meeting, and that she is a former superintendent of that yearly meeting--ALL of that speaks volumes for her and her effort to give hope to same sexual individuals.

She is working for constructive change, going against the current rejection of gay marriage in NWYM which has been so harmful, divisive, and fragmenting in North West Yearly Meeting.*

Similar divisive arguments are taking place in North Carolina Yearly Meeting (also, breaking up), and several years back in Indiana Yearly Meeting, as well as in other denominations beyond the small circle of Friends.

So I admire Becky Ankeny, standing up and speaking truth to friends, their meetings, yearly meetings, and all others concerned with ethics, equality, compassion, intimacy, and hope.

Brief Bio: "Becky Ankeny is a former general superintendent of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends...a member of Newberg Friends Church. Her parents were Friends missionaries in Burundi, Africa...and she spent much of her first 15 years there. She graduated from George Fox College in 1977 and received an MBA (2009) and PhD in English (1986) from the University of Oregon. Her PhD work was on the fiction of George MacDonald, a Victorian preacher and writer who influenced C.S. Lewis."

"She taught at Westmont College from 1986 to 1988 before returning to her alma mater, George Fox, to work as a professor of English and as an administrator from 1988 to 2011. Becky and her husband, Mark, are the parents of two daughters, Davida and Elizabeth, who with their respective husbands, Richard Brown and Jesse Dillow, all graduated from George Fox University. Becky and Mark rejoice in four grandchildren."

HOWEVER, Becky Ankeny's given explications of the biblical texts are very weak, swallowing a whole herd of camels.

But before I explain why I think she (and the scholars she quotes) have deeply erred in their understanding of the Bible's view of same sexual relations, please consider reading her booklet first. It is a brief version of much longer tomes which I have also read, a good introduction into the whole controversy.

And thank Becky Ankeny for standing up and sharing her own perspective, which she thinks is true.

*For an extensive explanation, details, and view of the controversy in NWYM, read Chuck Fager's
Quaker Theology, Issue #27, and more recent updates.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Here's HOPE: COMBATANTS FOR PEACE in Palestine-Israel

Here's hope for now and in the future in Palestine-Israel!

Former violent foes are reconciling, forgiving, sharing, communing, demonstrating that enemies can change,
can leave behind revenge, nationalism, hatred, self-centered ideologies and religions, and so many other factors creating death and destruction in the Middle East.

Check out Combatants for Peace:

"The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but one of human choice.

On this particularly difficult day, Israelis and Palestinians acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the “other side” and strive to prevent the next wave of violence."

"Nonviolence is the greatest force
at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier
than the mightiest weapon of destruction
devised by the ingenuity of man.
Destruction is not the law of the humans."

“Peace does not happen by itself; It requires commitment, perseverance and continuing efforts. The more we increase the circle of people involved in activities, the more we will increase our ability to influence the reality in which we live.”

“CFP is a volunteer based movement.
Supporting CFP helps us continue all these activities:

"In-house events – group meetings with a Palestinian and an Israeli member of the Movement who present the personal stories and hold open discussions with the participants."

"Learning Peace" – a series of lectures open to the public."

"Field trips – Tours of the Bethlehem and Nablus areas, where participants get a first-hand look at the actual situation in the occupied territories and meet with Palestinian members of the Movement."

"Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony – in memory of victims of the conflict.
Theatre on the Ground – political theater performances promoting non-violent resistance."

"Combatants for peace" (CFP) is a bi-national movement working throughout Palestine and Israel.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, April 7, 2017

Stand Against This: U.S. Is Bombing Again, and Supporting Saudi Arabian Bombing

The U.S. is bombing again. Now we are bombing in 7 different countries,
and supporting oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia which is also bombing civilians in Yemen!

Yet notice we haven't bombed Saudi Arabia!!!!

Plus, we are supporting Muslim jihadists who have killed many civilians, and we are trying to overthrow another government.

Remember we overthrew the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.


So we let Muslim extremists wreck havoc in these countries for years, and more and more civilians suffer!

Millions are wounded and hundreds of thousands die.

Where is our plan?

Where is our commitment to human rights?

When is the U.S. going to learn?

When we overthrew the Nazis we didn't let them continue to rule and to oppress.

Why are we letting Muslims continue to rule and oppress in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.?

Does this make any sense?


Is it morally right?


Stand up against this slaughter by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, HAMAS, Fatah, and most Muslims in other countries.

Stand for the LIGHT, in this "ocean of darkness."

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Guest Post: Our Biggest Mistake by Neil Carter, former Calvinist Christian


by Neil Carter, former Calvinist Christian leader

"1. We took the Bible seriously. We read the Bible.
This was a big mistake.

2. We prayed for the things the Bible told us to pray for.

3. We shared our faith with others. Boy was that a mistake.

4. We believed God was a person who wants to be known through an intimate, personal relationship.
What this miscalculation did for me was it set up an expectation that I should be able to sense, perceive, hear, and know this Person through direct, immediate contact, spirit to spirit.

5. We believed them when they said the Bible doesn’t contradict itself.

Related: “The Absurdity of Inerrancy.”

6. We landed in leadership positions and got to see how the sausage was made, so to speak.

7. We loved people the way our faith told us to, but soon found ourselves “on the outside,” kicked off the reservation for doing so.

Related: “Five Times When Jesus Sounded Like a Humanist“

It’s one of the great ironies of the Christian faith that if you really try to live the way Jesus taught us to live, you may very well find yourself put “outside the camp” just like he was, hung metaphorically on a cross of your own just as he said you’d be.*

Some of the honorable mentions I could have included:
We studied apologetics and defended our faith against its natural enemies until we realized we were on the losing side.
We tried to be “New Testament” in the way we did church and then discovered that doesn’t work.
We attended creation science conventions. That should pretty much do it.
We were told to follow the evidence wherever it led, and it led us right out the front door."

By Neil Carter, former Calvinist leader


Neil, you make so many powerful points. And most of them are very similar to my own experiences of how my very serious efforts to be Christ-like is what led me to choose to leave the Christian religion.

While, I completely disagree with your choice to embrace atheism, I understand how that seemed like a strong possibility after your rejecting Calvinistic Christianity.

Instead, I chose the Enlightenment and the Society of Friends, Quakers.

There are a few other differences between us:
#1 You wrote, "We hear that we weren’t authentic enough, or we weren’t fully surrendered to the will of God, or we had some unconfessed sin in our lives, or whatever."

You and many former Christians get tagged with those accusations, but I don't remember hearing them much.

Rather, it was claimed that I was NEVER a Christian to begin with, not when
I was a Baptist youth minister, not when I was an elder, etc.

I wonder if you have been accused of "never having been a Christian," too?

#2 Then you wrote, "I felt God. I heard God. I knew God, in personal experience.

There’s just one problem. If you take this relationship too seriously, if you come to it with too much expectation that reality will match what you were told to expect, you will one day fall hard upon the cold ground of self-honesty whereupon you realize you have been conjuring this relationship through your own imagination your entire life."

That didn't happen to me.

I never could feel God, never heard God, never felt I knew God:-( On the contrary, I spent a whole lifetime wondering why I wasn't experiencing what our leaders, theologians, and most other Christians claimed was happening for them.

I still wonder why I felt like an outsider who doesn't experience what everyone else is talking about.

Sometimes at revival meetings, when the call came to come forward and be saved, I wanted to get up and go forward and experience this wonderful relationship,
BUT reminded myself, that I was already saved!

The very troubling question was then why didn't I feel all of the stuff the evangelist had just preached?

So I lived by faith, but my doubts were severe, sometime much worse than other times. I once even gave my testimony at our church in central California, admitting that I didn't "feel" God. The text I chose was the one from Isaiah, where the prophet says that God will give us "beauty for ashes,"
that what I had experienced all of my life (I was 38) was God had given me "ashes instead of beauty.":-(

I thought I might get a lot of counseling, and probably negative feedback from the other members, but it didn't happen. I don't know why. Maybe some of them also were talking the talk, but didn't really experience the Christian God either.

#3 I didn't have to deal with Calvinism, like you did, since I never believed in that god. In fact when I first encountered Calvinism, it was a new leader who claimed Divine Command Theory--that whatever "God" commands becomes moral.

The leader told everyone, and me specifically, especially that God was commanding me to go and kill people! Then he proceeded to "prove" this with the Old Testament.

That horrific experience was the death-knell, however it took me years because I thought I could disprove him and his claim. I still thought that there was a 'true christianity' different from Luther, Calvin, and Augustine.

But the more I studied church history, etc. the more I realized Christianity was on his side.

So I finally left.

Lastly, you wrote, "It’s one of the great ironies of the Christian faith that if you really try to live the way Jesus taught us to live, you may very well find yourself put “outside the camp."

That is your strongest, most convincing point!

Most of the other things you mentioned happened to me, also.

But this was a clincher. The more I worked and worked to be like Jesus, the less and less I fit in the churches my wife and I were members of.

In fact, most of the church members in their beliefs and actions were extremely NOT like Jesus.

Yet I met individuals who weren't part of "born again" creedal Christianity who did think and often act according to Jesus' ethic.

For a long time this confused me to no end! Why were "born again" Christians (like Trumpers now) so self-and-nation centered, so intolerant, so unjust, so for war, even nuclear war!??

Yet, people I knew personally who weren't "born again" worked for human rights, opposed war, were compassionate, emphasized honesty, etc.
And many of these "born again" Christians claimed that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't a Christian, etc.
I don't agree with Neil's conclusion that atheism is true.

On the contrary, I am more intellectually convinced of theism now than sometimes when I was "born again" Christian.

But his article is honest, heart-searching, and lucid.

In the LIGHT, seeking for the GOOD, and the Truth,

Daniel Wilcox