Number 10…

(This is a part of my “Top Ten things that drive me crazy about Quakers” list.)

10. That oatmeal guy

Yes, that cherub-faced grandfather figure on the Quaker Oatmeal container is ubiquitous, but please-I’m tired of hearing people use the Quaker Oats guy as a hook. No more discussions about Quakers that begin with oatmeal! Or Quaker State oil. Or Quaker whisky. Let’s find ways to talk about who we are without reference to cutesy things.

Oops. By starting my list with this, I just drove myself crazy.

13 thoughts on “Number 10…

  1. I love oatmeal, and Quaker is my brand of choice. But that oatmeal guy is why everyone thinks we’re Amish!

    In high school, when I announced GFU as my college choice, several people asked if we had electricity. Geez. 🙂


  2. Yes! Liz, thank you. I’d like to do away with the Amish connection too. That’s probably #11. 🙂

    Robin, I’m so tempted to answer your question with “This I know experientially!” But not only would it be untrue, it could get me fired. I’d love it if you wrote your list and blogged it, too.


  3. Aw, the Quaker Oats guy is like the Gerber baby! How could you not love that face!? He’s wholesome, trustworthy, healthy, dependable, honest to a fault, pure, and generous – just like *all* Quakers.

    If you think Quaker whisky is “cutsey” then I believe you when you say you don’t know it experientially. I’ve never seen whisky, motor oil and cutsey connected before.

    I suppose this means that you don’t want to hear about the Quaker spice tins I found in an antique store or talk about how adding a dash of Quaker spice to your grandmother’s favorite cake recipe is just like adding a pinch of the Holy Spirit to your life, making everything turn out exactly right in the end. Am I right?


  4. 🙂 Ok, ok, I’m guilty of not being completely clear in my point. It’s not that I have something against the Quaker oats guy, or think whisky and motor oil themselves are cutesy; I’m against the cutesy-ness of using those images as a hook to talk about what it means to be a Quaker.

    As to your final paragraph…I have a whole ‘nother rant about things that drive me crazy about cutesy spiritual lessons from day to day life that make life with God one nice happy sitcom that gets resolved in 22 minute blocks. Don’t get me started! 😉


  5. You were clear – I’m just popping off.

    I get questions like LizW about being “like the Amish” too and once in a while someone will make a comment about us not wearing grey any more. One woman found out I’m Quaker, looked at my double earrings and said she didn’t know that was allowed!


  6. Hi Gregg,
    I thought about making my own Top-10 list about why I’m a Quaker but I thought you were doing such a good job that I’d simply be copying too much. I could do a Top-10 about what bugs me about Quakers but I might get fired–wait I’ve already been fired, why not? (Smile)

    Here in the Philly metro area we have more than our share of Quaker-named-this and Quaker-named-that. Sometimes it’s a location name that lends itself to appropriation (the Quaker Bridge and Plymouth Meeting Malls come immediately to mind), sometimes it’s just some “Quaker State XYZ” formulation. UPenn often calls itself “the Quakers” (including its sports teams) even though it was never a Quaker school. Of course we also have the people who are Quaker because fifteen generations ago someone was on the boat with Billy Penn (when they called the bookstore I used to work at and started on the genealogy I was tempted to interrupt with “yeah yeah, do you want fries and a coke with that”; alas I never succumbed to this temptation).

    Looking forward to your whole list!
    Your Friend, Martin, quakerranter


  7. I like the Amish. Who cares if people compare us to Amish. We all have the inner light inside of us… oh wait, that is on Gregg’s number 9… better change the phrase “inner light” to something else :p

    No really, it bothers me when Quakers are bothered by being asked if they are like the Amish, as if that is some kind of insult. There are still plain dressing Quakers, and it is a large part of our history, so what’s the big deal?

    Whatever you do, don’t wear red to meeting. My mom wanted to know if I was allowed to wear red to meeting a few weeks ago, so whatever you do… don’t!



  8. 🙂 Laurie, one of my favorite Quaker companions wears red shoes to church all the time. She’s about 80 years old and they look great with her lovely silver hair. She’s a great Friend in the best sense. Serious about it but not too.

    Why yes, Gregg, I do have double earrings. It was that other pastor’s wife and I did it together. I didn’t ask if it was allowed, I decided to just do it and apologize afterward. The worst that could happen is that I won’t ever be able to serve on Elders again. Luckily, the Catholics let me keep my job despite it.

    I don’t mind being compared to the Amish. I’d rather that than, “Wasn’t Richard Nixon a Quaker?”


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