Category Archives: General Quaker interest

Script of Piers’ talk 6 January

Piers has now let us have his script and it is well worth reading. He apologises for any short-comings in the sound of his talk and which the autoscript struggled with at times.

As I thought when listening to the talk, it is quite poetic and Piers has presented it in more or less blank verse with punctuation but no capitals. (Notice the internal rhymes and rhythm). If you read it to yourself it sounds quite like a ‘rap’ – and maybe ‘a wrap’.  I thought that on Thursday night but struggled to hear it whilst also having an ‘unstable internet connection’.

Some people thought the talk was a bit ‘black and white’ or a bit one-sided but it doesn’t come across like that (to me anyway) when you read it. Perhaps Piers is a little uncritical of China but his point there really is that we are exposed to a one-sided view and propaganda in our own media. (But I imagine Piers’ suggestion that the Dalai Lama is in ‘the pay of the CIA’ is the view of Chinese state propaganda which is (just/almost?) as nefarious as the CIA.)

I have added the script as text (html with a couple of hypertext links) to the original page about Piers talk here and the pdf is here. The audio file can be found in the usual place by scrolling down on the home page.

Please add your comments on the talk below here or on the previous post or wherever is convenient. (Don’t forget to select ‘notify me of comments/replies’ if you want to get a reply or follow the conversation)

6 January, 2022: Piers Maddox, and an event Mon 10 January 2022

Some 60 people enjoyed Piers’ presentation on the ‘Path of rightness in time of civilisational change‘.  This proved to be what I took to be a poetic polemic and challenge to all as to how we live our lives (all, or Quakers, or Nontheists).

Unfortunately I had problems with the sound as did the auto-transcription which struggled a bit and I hope Piers might be able to let us have a script. But the sound recording is now on our Home Page (scroll down a bit there).

There was much discussion afterwards of the self-examination and critical thinking required to meet Piers’ challenge although some felt that his view of China was somewhat rose-tinted even if the current treatment of China in the media is largely war-mongering propaganda.

At the very end, Arin (from London and I think she must be a member of the Quaker Socialist Society) thought that Friends may be interested to attend (on Zoom) the first event of the QSS celebration of the ‘Salter Centenary‘ (details there) on Monday 10th January. Arin advised that if you don’t have the book (about Ada Salter) you can read the wikipedia page (largely written by the same author, Graham Taylor, who will be present at the zoom meeting).

To apply for the zoom link fill in the form on the QSS contact page, and perhaps mention Arin and the NFN as the source of your information.

NFN Quaker meeting and Creative Conversation 6 January 2022

Dear Friends,

Thank you for registering for our Quaker Meeting and Creative Conversation, organized by the NFN, UK.

To open the New Year Piers Maddox will share his presentation, Path of rightness in time of civilizational change, on Thursday 6 January at 7PM UK time by Zoom.
Please arrive early, as the Meeting will start promptly at 7PM.  The Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM.

Email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register if you have not done so before.

Format:
• Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM, please arrive early.
• 7PM: Welcome and Quaker Meeting: approximately 20 minutes for quietly gathering ourselves and connecting.
• Creative Conversation: up to 20 minutes for presentation or raising a question.
• Open Discussion: up to 40 minutes, in the Main Zoom room, for creative exchanges, expressions, and reactions.
• Conclusion: ending with a few moments gathered in silence.
• Duration:1hr:20m – 2hr (For interested Friends, we will leave the Zoom room open after the Meeting closes for casual conversations)

You will automatically receive Zoom links to subsequent Meetings, approximately one week before each Meeting. There is no need to re-register. We ask that you please do not share the Zoom link with interested Friends, but encourage them to email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register. You may unregister/unsubscribe at any time by replying to this email address.

See you soon.

In Friendship,
The QM+CC Working group (Gisela Creed, John Senior, William Purser, and Kiera Faber)
Nontheist Friends Network

NFN Quaker meeting and Creative Conversation 2 December 2021

Dear Friends,

Thank you for registering for our Quaker Meeting and Creative Conversation, organized by the NFN, UK.

Kiera Faber will share her presentation, Drawing Silence in Art, on Thursday 2 December at 7PM UK time by Zoom.
Please arrive early, as the Meeting will start promptly at 7PM.  The Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM.

Email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register if you have not done so before.

Format:
• Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM, please arrive early.
• 7PM: Welcome and Quaker Meeting: approximately 20 minutes for quietly gathering ourselves and connecting.
• Creative Conversation: up to 20 minutes for presentation or raising a question.
• Open Discussion: up to 40 minutes, in the Main Zoom room, for creative exchanges, expressions, and reactions.
• Conclusion: ending with a few moments gathered in silence.
• Duration:1hr:20m – 2hr (For interested Friends, we will leave the Zoom room open after the Meeting closes for casual conversations)

You will automatically receive Zoom links to subsequent Meetings, approximately one week before each Meeting. There is no need to re-register. We ask that you please do not share the Zoom link with interested Friends, but encourage them to email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register. You may unregister/unsubscribe at any time by replying to this email address.

See you soon.

In Friendship,
The QM+CC Working group (Gisela Creed, John Senior, William Purser, and Kiera Faber)
Nontheist Friends Network

Interesting story in ‘The Conversation’

If you don’t know ‘The Conversation’, I’d highly recommend it and subscribing to their email notices.

It originated in Australia and there are now versions for many different countries (including Spain in Spanish – see the list under United Kingdom in dropdown menu at top of the article below) – and the articles are different in different versions but all by established university or similar academics and supported by universities worldwide.

This article in the UK version about atheist scientists is from academics at Rice and Georgia State universities.

https://theconversation.com/many-scientists-are-atheists-but-that-doesnt-mean-they-are-anti-religious-167677

NFN Quaker meeting and Creative Conversation 4 November 2021

Dear Friends,
Thank you for registering for our Quaker Meeting and Creative Conversation, organized by the NFN, UK.

tom kunesh will share his presentation, When non-theism isn’t enough: a marxian moral imperative, on Thursday 4 November at 7PM UK time by Zoom.
Please arrive early, as the Meeting will start promptly at 7PM.  The Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM.

If you have not already registered, email clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk to do so.

Format:
• Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM, please arrive early.
• 7PM: Welcome and Quaker Meeting: approximately 20 minutes for quietly gathering ourselves and connecting.
• Creative Conversation: up to 20 minutes for presentation or raising a question.
• Open Discussion: up to 40 minutes, in the Main Zoom room, for creative exchanges, expressions, and reactions.
• Conclusion: ending with a few moments gathered in silence.
• Optional Friendly chat: up to 20 minutes for socializing in small group breakout rooms
• Duration:1hr:45m – 2hr (For interested Friends, we will leave the Zoom room open after the Meeting closes for casual conversations)

You will automatically receive Zoom links to subsequent Meetings, approximately one week before each Meeting. There is no need to re-register. We ask that you please do not share the Zoom link with interested Friends, but encourage them to email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register. You may unregister/unsubscribe at any time by replying to this email address.

See you soon.

In Friendship,
The QM+CC Working group (Gisela Creed, John Senior, William Purser, and Kiera Faber)
Nontheist Friends Network

NFN Quaker meeting and Creative Conversation 7 October 2021

Dear Friends,

Thank you for registering for our Quaker Meeting and Creative Conversation, organized by the NFN, UK.
Howard Grace will share his presentation, The heart of our shared humanity, on Thursday 7 October at 7PM UK time by Zoom.
Please arrive early, as the Meeting will start promptly at 7PM.  The Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM.

If you have not already registered, email clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk to do so.

Format:
• Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM, please arrive early.
• 7PM: Welcome and Quaker Meeting: approximately 20 minutes for quietly gathering ourselves and connecting.
• Creative Conversation: up to 20 minutes for presentation or raising a question.
• Open Discussion: up to 40 minutes, in the Main Zoom room, for creative exchanges, expressions, and reactions.
• Conclusion: ending with a few moments gathered in silence.
• Optional Friendly chat: up to 20 minutes for socializing for interested Friends in small group breakout rooms
• Duration:1hr:45m – 2hr

You will automatically receive Zoom links to subsequent Meetings, approximately one week before each Meeting. There is no need to re-register. We ask that you please do not share the Zoom link with interested Friends, but encourage them to email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register. You may unregister/unsubscribe at any time by replying to this email address.
See you soon. 
In Friendship,
The QM+CC Working group (Gisela Creed, John Senior, William Purser, and Kiera Faber)
Nontheist Friends Network

NFN Quaker meeting and Creative Conversation 2 September 2021

Dear Friends,

Thank you for registering for our Quaker Meeting and Creative Conversation, organized by the NFN, UK.

Martin Barker will share his presentation, Does prayer work? Evidence from science and the human experience, on Thursday 2 September at 7PM UK time by Zoom.
Please arrive early, as the Meeting will start promptly at 7PM.  The Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM.
If you are interested in attending and have not registered, please
email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register.
Format:
• Zoom Room opens at 6:45PM, please arrive early.
• 7PM: Welcome and Quaker Meeting: approximately 20 minutes for quietly gathering ourselves and connecting.
• Creative Conversation: up to 20 minutes for presentation or raising a question.
•Discussion:
20 minutes for small break-out room creative exchanges, expressions, and reactions.
20 minutes for open discussion in main room about ‘new discoveries or surprises’ that occurred in small break-out rooms.
• Conclusion: ending with a few moments gathered in silence.
• Duration:1hr:20m-1hr:45m
You will automatically receive Zoom links to subsequent Meetings, approximately one week before each Meeting. There is no need to re-register. We ask that you please do not share the Zoom link with interested Friends, but encourage them to email the Clerk (clerk@nontheist-quakers.org.uk) to register. You may unregister/unsubscribe at any time by replying to this email address.See you soon.

In Friendship,
The QM+CC Working group (Gisela Creed, John Senior, William Purser, and Kiera Faber)
Nontheist Friends Network

Dinah Livingstone – On Dover Beach

Dinah delivered our third and final talk of the NFN 2021 Conference on 21st July and ’rounded off’ the series very fittingly.

(The many links below generally open in a new window or tab).

Our three speakers spoke quite independently, guided only to deliver their talks based on their idea of spirituality – ‘That’s the spirit! – dimensions of spirituality.’

Nonetheless, the notion (one of George Fox’s ‘windy notions’?) of Spirituality resulted in three talks which, very different as expected, hung together to satisfy and inspire different members of our ‘Quaker Kaleidoscope’.

Dinah is the editor of the Sea of Faith’s magazine ‘Sofia‘ in which role she succeeded the previous editor, NFN’s ‘own’ David Boulton (one of the key founders of the Nontheist Friends Network) in 2004 and changed its name to ‘Sofia‘.  Gill Pennington mentioned David’s ‘The Faith of a Quaker Humanist‘ (1997) which I understand is still the most often downloaded booklet from the Quaker Universalist Group’s website. We can see and perhaps ‘feel’ the threads linking Humanism, the Sea of Faith Network and the Nontheist Friends Network.

The Sea of Faith Network takes its name from Matthew Arnold’s poem ‘Dover Beach’, one stanza of which reads:

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

You can find the full poem (4 stanzas, 37 lines I think) here:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43588/dover-beach

Was it surprising to many of us that Dinah’s talk from a ‘sea of faith perspective’ was so biblical? Both Andrew Copson and Gill Pennington had mentioned biblical stories but Dinah wove an account of what I might call the ‘sea of faith version of religion, humanism and nontheism’ drawn substantially from the bible as if it might be considered the source of these ideas. This is consistent with Dinah’s re-naming of the SoF Journal to ‘Sofia’ – a serendipitous extension of the acronym SoF. (An alternative spelling for ‘Holy Wisdom‘ being Sophia). The wisdom literature of the bible provides this potential biblical basis for Don Cupitt‘s ideas and Dinah’s talk. (SEA OF FAITH NETWORK started in 1984 as a response to Don Cupitt’s book and TV series of the same name.)

At the very top of the Sea of Faith website homepage it states:

“The Network…
Explores the implications of accepting religion as a human creation;
Promotes the validity of creative, human-centred religion;
Affirms the continuing importance of religious thought
and practice as expressions of awe and wonder and
celebrations of spiritual and social values.”

Only slightly less prominently on our NFN website (You have to look under ‘About’ and then ‘Aims of the network’ here: https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/about/aims-of-the-network/), we state:

“The Network’s aim is to provide a forum and supportive framework for Friends who regard religion as a human creation. We want to ensure that our Religious Society of Friends is an inclusive rather than an exclusive Society. We seek to explore theological and spiritual diversity and their practical implications, in respectful acceptance of different views, experiences and journeys.” (clause 2. of our constitution added the words ‘and attenders’ at our last AGM).

It’s almost as if the Sea of Faith is the Christian branch of the nontheist humanists and the nontheist Friends network is the Quaker branch of the Sea of Faith. (and I’d always thought of us as the nontheist branch of the Quaker Universalist Group). Perhaps we should convene next on Dover Beach?

Joking apart, we can surely feel those threads referred to above linking Humanism, Christian origins, Quaker Universalism, Sea of Faith and the NFN.

Dinah drew from the bible, and Christ’s teaching, its essential humanism or human facing concerns. This is perhaps not so surprising given that ‘Humanism’ has arisen, in the last two centuries, from within the Western Christian tradition. As one wit reported in a recent Quaker meeting ‘God created man in his own image – and man returned the compliment’ (or was it the other way round?). I had better at least mention at this point the Goddess to contrast with God the Father.

This ‘pre-conference reading’ bibliography prepared for the 2020 conference provides links to David Boulton’s and other NFN books: https://nontheist-quakers.org.uk/2020/03/01/a-2020-nfn-conference-bibliography/

(Some of the links above are repeated):
https://sofn.org.uk/pages/dinah_livingstone.html
https://www.sofn.org.uk/links/don-cupitt.html
https://sofn.org.uk/sofia/index.html – Sofia magazine
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43588/dover-beach
https://www.sofn.org.uk/links/index.html – useful links
https://www.sofn.org.uk/links/spirituality.html – SoF links for Spirituality