Saturday, March 5, 2016

And ya'll think you had church problems...  

This looks like it is outside the Alms Quaker Meeting House in Philadelphia.
Back in the day, church splits for the Quakers were over to fight or not to fight,
to own slaves or help free slaves...
I don't know about your relatives, but mine had trouble not only with the tax collectors, but with the tithe collectors.  Just skimming through ancestry notes of the Crew family in the 1700's, I found those who were fined for not paying Quaker church fees (tithes): 79 lbs. of tobacco here; a horse there; feather bed and other furniture, etc. seized everywhere!  (Makes you almost wish you were the mouse in the corner when this was happening.) 
As the popular Revolutionary War proceeded, it was difficult to not bear arms, or support the war. If you did not support the war, you were considered a Tory, a supporter of the British.  It was hard to stay neutral as suspicions arose even among the Quakers themselves.  As any who supported the war were being expelled, a 1776 Quaker Meeting House in Philadelphia was established for those who supported the war: the Free Quaker Church.

The Alms House Quaker Meeting House which stands today in downtown Philadelpia.
Our little four year old granddaughter Addie likes to watch the movie, "Cousins and Boots."  Somehow, what's stuck in her head is that is the name for the actual "Puss and Boots" movie.  Cousins play a big part in her life with well over twenty to choose from.  But kissing cousins?

As the numbers of the Quakers shrank, it became more and more difficult for the young people to find proper mates among their faithful.  Yet, they got in trouble for marrying cousins.   Many of these young people were written out of the Quaker faith for not marrying "in unity."  This happened to several of my ancestors.

If they weren't expelled for marrying out of unity, they were for supporting the revolution.  Such was Captain John Harper who married out of unity and smuggled ammunition for Gen. George Washington aboard his ships among other things.  He had grown up squirming in the pew in a Quaker meeting house in Philadelphia but was expelled later for marrying a non-Quaker. 

Nowadays the Quakers have welcomed just about anybody of any faith into their fellowship. The guide in one of the early Quaker Houses in Philadelphia was a little surprised that they would have written anyone out of her beloved church.  I, myself, almost had to leave because of the heavy smell of her cigarette smoke.  Now that's how to make 'em roll in their graves as good Quakers should...wait, many of them grew tobacco!  Well, maybe the smell of it didn't bother them as much as it does me.  Who knows?

The Free Quaker Meeting House in Philadelphia
established in 1776 for those who supported the Revolutionary War
and were expelled from the other Quaker Meeting Houses.

Jesus would have sat down to dinner with the tithe collectors as well as the tax collectors, I'm sure.  He was a little more welcoming than a lot of churches we've known who'd rather split than sit.
When's the last time you had dinner with a sinner?
Oh, you just had your relatives over?  Yeah, probably one of those counts.
Yes, we've loved our share of sinners to the grace of God around our table,
(but we've entertained a bunch of crazies as well, I'll tell ya, but that's a blog for another day.)
"Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.  Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them.'"
(Luke 15:1-2)

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