There are Beans and there are Beanites

I drafted this, didn't publish, and pretty much was going to send it out to pasture. And then Wess Daniels made a reference to Beanites in his recent post, An Apologetic for a Quaker Theology. So I decided to bring it out of the draft cellar and into the light of the published:

College Park Quarterly Meeting may be the Beaniest of the Beanite meetings, at least historically speaking.

I also found this link to Chuck Fager's essay about the Beans and Beanites. Especially given the lengthy discussion in response to Rich Accetta-Evans' review of Fager's "Without Apology": 73 comments and counting (5th Sixthmonth 2007)!
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Update, 6/6/07: I was a little careless in skimming the comments on Wess's post. It turns out Martin Kelley brought up the Beanites, not Wess! Wess and Martin then had a funny exchange about it in the comments.

ALSO: Be sure to read Heather's thoughtful comment on THIS post...

1 comment:

Heather Madrone said...

Serendipitously, I've been reading David LaShana's Quakers in California (1969). LaShana is from the other branch of Quakerism that grew in California, the evangelical Friend Church strain that carried forward the revivalism that so distressed the Beans.

LaShana tries to be scrupulously fair, and yet he clearly believes that the focus on Scripture and sanctification was the right choice, and the Beans (College Park Association, Pacific Yearly Meeting et al) misguided in their insistence on the primacy of the Light Within.

Reading this book, however, it's abundantly clear that the beliefs that many attribute to New Age liberal Friends were very common among early 19th century British and American Friends, and that many of our basic tenets can be traced to Friends like Elias Hicks. British Friends seemed to be horrified by the effects of the Great Awakening on American Friends.

While the Beans and the early College Park Association were clearly shaped by the revival experience, there's also something very Californian in our make-up. California has always been a confluence of immigrants arriving from different parts of the world. Diversity is part of our California heritage, and College Park's broad mission statement and brief discipline might also be seen to come out of a need to accommodate Quaker immigrants from many different styles of Meetings.

The Beans didn't want division among Friends. It feels to me like this is one of the deepest tenets among Friends in our Quarter. We are inclusive, and strive to bridge our differences rather than defining ourselves narrowly.

in Quakers in California, it's clear that early evangelical Friends were trying to do away with many long-held Quaker beliefs. They judged these beliefs as un-Scriptural and set them aside.

I feel sorrow that this division is still with us today, and that the seed of Protestant exclusivism flourished among Friends.