This is our regular feature in which we briefly record interesting publications and websites that have come to our attention. Inclusion of an item in this format does not preclude a possible longer review in a later issue. We welcome suggestions for inclusion. This is our regular feature in which we briefly record interesting publications and websites that have come to our attention. Inclusion of an item in this format does not preclude a possible longer review in a later issue. We welcome suggestions for inclusion.

Liz Field (New South Wales Regional Meeting) has been looking into early Quakers

Some time ago, I was browsing in the Tasmanian University Library, when I came across a huge set of facsimile volumes entitled “State Papers”. They covered many decades of English life through correspondence. I picked up the 1668 set and looked for references to Quakers and found the following:

11 November 1668.  Letter Baskerville/Williamson

… George Bishop, a captain in the late rebellion, the ringleader or archbishop of the Quakers, was buried at the Quakers’ burying ground near Redcliffe Church, attended by a more numerous company than I ever saw at a funeral before, most of them of that sect.

15 December. 1668. Letter. Watts/Williamson

.. it is reported that Penn, the Quaker saint has been taken up; he is devilishly cried up amongst that poor sullen faction…

I assume that Williamson was a person who was among the royal courtiers

In 1668  a pamphlet was published entitled:

“A looking glass for George Fox, the Quaker, and other Quakers, wherein they may see themselves to be right devils. In answer to George Fox, his book called ‘something in answer to Lodowick Muggleton’s book which he calls ‘The Quakers’ neck broken; wherein is set forth the ignorance and blindness of the Quakers’ doctrine of Christ within them; and that they cannot, nor doth not know the true meaning of the scriptures; neath have they the gift of interpretation of Scripture” by Lodowicke Muggleton, one of the two last prophets and witnesses into the high and mighty God the man Christ in his glory.  4d. Printed 96 pages

Lodowicke Muggleton

The name Muggleton sounded vaguely familiar as I wrote this, so I looked him up on the net, and sure enough, there he was, and a small Protestant group known as the Muggletonians. It all makes fascinating reading and the following is just a short extract:

Muggleton’s opposition to the Quakers, and to all things Quaker, was uncharacteristically bitter for three reasons. Firstly, he believed them guilty of “spiritual witchcraft” which he saw as a manipulation of that fear from which faith should be free. Secondly, he regarded them as unreconstructed Ranters and the Ranter legacy was a delicate personal issue. Thirdly, they were the seventh, and last, anti-church of the latter days and thus their mere existence was seen as holding up everyone else’s journey to paradise.

By and large, the charges Muggleton brings against the Quakers are the same as those the Quakers lay against Muggleton. As a result, the exchange of letters and pamphlets rarely rises above contradiction, quibbling and name-calling; the latter Muggleton employs with great verve.


Wies Schuiringa (New South Wales Regional Meeting) has been looking into the future

Many of us are wondering what our society will look like when the Covid-19 pandemic settles down. How do we inform each other when the news is saturated by Covid-19? The virus has impacted societies at its core, defenceless against this new virus and functioning in ways that were previously unimaginable or thought impossible. Now that our societal foundations have been rocked, how do we re-build? Many individuals and organisations are reflecting on what a “better” society looks like. Do we just “snap back” or is this the opportunity to rebuild our societies: sustainable, more equitable, kinder, free from nuclear threats and nobody really left behind? Below are references to recent reports by two Australian think tanks that have been written during the pandemic and a link to talks from the “Renewables-led Economic Recovery” symposium. These reports and the symposium actually reflect our Testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and the environment. “What canst thou say?”

“Having now experienced two back-to-back crises of epic proportions, we Australians will share a dramatically reduced tolerance for bullshit. The old ideological battle lines will continue to seem especially useless in the face of long unemployment queues and industries collapsing. The idea that the ‘free market’ should rule over all will seem entirely laughable in the face of huge bailouts, public works programs and ongoing wage subsidies. The idea that government itself is largely a game that’s about winning things for your side and beating down the other side will strike us as utterly obscene. And while permanent paradigm shifts aren’t guaranteed, nor is it written that we must rush back to an old ‘normal’ that fundamentally does not serve us.”

 “The Commission for the Human Future has been set up by concerned citizens of the Earth to:

  • Alert humanity to the nature and scale of the combination of ten catastrophic risks that face our civilization
  • Help to devise integrated global solutions to these risks
  • Identify fresh opportunities that arise from solving the threats
  • Encourage global dialogue about the risks, their solution and opportunities
  • Serve as a knowledge hub for the solution of global catastrophic risks

 Especially, we recognise that solutions to the great risks depend not just on government policy and corporate activity, but also on the actions of billions of individual humans in their daily lives. Much of our present behaviour has to change, if civilization is to survive and prosper.

 The Commission’s goal is to share leading thought and ideas from all over the world about what society as a whole can do to build a safer, better future – and how we can each play our part to limit and overcome these risks. We must empower everyone, young and old, female and male, poor or affluent to help build a safe, sustainable human future. This report summarises the discourse at our first Round Table event, which was held online on March 28, 2020. It is the first of many we intend to share, on the risks we all confront and ways forward for humanity. We welcome your support.”

On 6 March an online symposium was held, organised by the Smart Energy Council and Renew Economy with the title “A Renewables-led Economic Recovery”. About 3500 people listened to 25 speakers as well as several hosts. Ministers for Energy from three states and the ACT, together with the Premier of Queensland clearly stated that all the States and Territories are in unison to de-carbonise our energy sources, to invest in major renewable energy projects, especially hydrogen and to stabilise the electricity grid. The Australian Business Council speaker said similar things. The other talks were from Ross Garnaut to a company director promoting electric vehicle infrastructures. All the presentations are now online, however not in one 6-hour video but in individual segments.

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