Thomas Howard on Male Vanity
I awoke this morning, that is to say, 45 minutes ago, from a dream. Scarcely a Bunyanesque dream, let us hurry to assure everyone. I was at the Hicksite Quaker Meeting at Friends’ School in Moorestown, New Jersey, where I had grown up and gone to school. The time was the present, and I had been gone for 50 years (I left home for boarding school in 1950).
The meeting had been updated, however—like these churches that use movie screens instead of hymnals. There was a brisk conviviality in the ethos not traditional at Quaker Meetings. People nattered away the whole time, even when someone stood up to speak. George Fox, readers will remember, had had the idea that the paradigm for church order, and for the order of public gatherings, was best found by leaving everyone free, upon being “moved by the Spirit,” to stand up and share something. It is to be noted here that “share” was not a seventeenth-century word.
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Thomas Howard taught for many years at St. John's Seminary College, the Roman Catholic seminary of the archdiocese of Boston. Among his many works are the books Christ the Tiger, Evangelical Is Not Enough, Lead Kindly Light, On Being Catholic, and The Secret of New York Revealed, and a videotape series of 13 lectures on "The Treasures of Catholicism" (all from Ignatius Press).
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