Source: (2001) Paper presented at the Theology and Culture: Peacemaking in a Globalized World conference. Bienenberg Theological Seminary, Switzerland, 25-29 June.

Noting the perspective of some theological traditions that the Church suffered from inculturation following its establishment in the Constantinian era, Riggs observes that inculturation is inescapable. The question is which cultural patterns are more conducive to God’s purposes for humankind. In this regard, Riggs examines concepts of culture, ethnicity, and gender, with particular attention to the inculturation of seventeenth and eighteenth century Quaker thought – for example, the eighteenth century Quaker John Woolman. This examination includes a consideration of Woolman’s analysis of the connections among culture, custom, well-being, and violence. Riggs then reflects on the potential and the limits of Woolman’s thought and witness as theological resources for contemporary peace activism.