Quaker Religious Thought


Nim Njuguna


"Theology is exciting. It is about God’s word, God’s world and God’s people. It is vitally important for the church to nurture young Christians into thinking, speaking and writing about God and the world, and it is even more important that the Church listen to their voices. Theology Slam encourages us to do just that: listen to God, listen to the world, and listen to the voices emerging within the Church, so we can join into God’s work in the world today.” —Archbishop Justin Welby – Archbishop of Canterbury 1 As Quakers, we believe there is that of God in everyone and thinking theologically is an essential and inclusive activity of faith seeking understanding. We embrace the mystery that is God who transcends our comprehension and yet within whom we essentially exist. We believe we are summoned by the quickened Spirit through our testimonies to work for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. I am a Quaker. I am part of a worldwide Quaker community, and I inhabit that knowledge daily. It helps me live the way I want to. The knowledge and reality of that community membership informs my life and gives me the strength I need to live faithfully, to speak truth to power, to witness in the world.2 Theology is exciting if it allows itself to be open to dialogue unbound from preconceived notions of what theology is because of what it has always been. Theology is envisaged here as a reflective way of seeking to think consistently and faithfully about God’s activity in contemporary society. Theology is not to be confused with faith, but it is reflection on the product of that faith evidenced in God’s activity in people’s lives. It involves looking at both the world in which we find ourselves and the theology from which we seek guidance. This kind of theology reaches beyond the usual classical traditional settled boundaries; the majority of Quakers have always tried to adapt traditional approaches to contemporary needs, hence the affirmation of continuing revelation. Otherwise, theology becomes no more than an exercise in dissecting past doctrinal statements in abstract fashion without actively engaging with the human dimension of people lives, their moral choices and the hope and comfort they impact the world with. A living theology is a divine presence unfolding and spreading wide from below rather that an incursion from above. It is a theology that goes beyond current circumstances of lived experience to exploring the big picture of God’s activity in the world transforming lives continually and not just a onetime experience.



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