Quaker Universalist Conversations



Benjamin Lay, Quaker abolitionist

On reading Marcus Rediker’s The Fearless Benjamin Lay

I was asked by a Catholic friend if I knew Benjamin Lay, the Quaker abolitionist. I did not. She gave me an article in the September 2017 issue of the Smithsonian magazine, “The Cave Dwelling Vegan Who Took on Quaker Slavery and Won,” by Marcus Rediker.

I of course know of John Woolman, almost revered by many Friends including myself, but why had I never heard of Benjamin Lay? Indeed, Lay’s portrait, painted by William Williams in 1790, is in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

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The empty day

Reflections on the day before Easter

Some years ago I discovered that, for me, the most important day in the Christian calendar is one not even traditionally noted, that strange, empty day between Good Friday and Easter. I go out into the wilderness by myself and sit, watching and waiting. I have never physically seen or heard Jesus. In the material realm, all I have of him is the stories I have been told. Yet when I sit alone on the empty day, he is no less with me than on any other day.

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