Editor’s Introduction

To be candid, I’m not accustomed to being consulted by Evangelical Friends. I’m not one, and over the past forty years, I’ve often found myself on opposite sides from many vocal or leading evangelicals. Nevertheless, I’ve learned things from Evangelicals, and on good days, I’m content to let them follow their leadings, while I struggle […]

Four-Track Mind: The True Story of the Brothers Doug

Doug Gwyn with Chuck Fager Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns, driven time and again off course… Opening line of Homer’s Odyssey (Fagles translation)    My first attempt at multi-track recording was during the summer of 1999 at Pendle Hill.  My friends, Peter and Annie Blood-Patterson, well known folk […]

From “The Church, the Draft Board, and Me”

by George Amoss Jr. [Full text Online at: https://postmodernquaker.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/the-church-the-draft-board-and-me-2-the-church-part-1-the-call/ ] From Part 1: The Call Until the possibility of conscription for war illuminated the Church’s contradictions, I had been an unquestioning and pious Catholic. During my freshman and senior years of high school, I was a candidate for the priesthood in boarding seminaries, and I […]

Political Thought of John Dickinson and William Penn

Two Books Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle Jane E. Calvert.  Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson.  New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2009.  382 pp.  $98. Andrew R. Murphy.  Liberty, Conscience, and Toleration:  The Political Thought of William Penn.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2016.  301 pp.  $75. The first two decades of […]

Theology & Peace Witness:

A Letter to the Next Director of Quaker House, Fayetteville-Fort Bragg, North Carolina By Chuck Fager Dear Friend, One of these days, we’ll start looking for you in earnest. Not yet, because right now everyone’s busy recovering from the Quaker House 50th anniversary. But one of these years, the Board will face another Director search, […]

Editor’s Introduction, #33

By Chuck Fager Twenty years and 32 issues ago, we asked “What is theology, and why should Friends be interested in it?” Good questions. Here’s a true story that happened since, and offers one answer: Several years ago I visited a “Quaker” school in the South, supposedly to talk about peace. The school was expensive, […]

Moment of Truth: Wilmington Yearly Meeting Divides over a Familiar Set of Issues

By Stephen W. Angell Wilmington Yearly Meeting (WYM), assembled at the Friends Meeting in Maryville, Tennessee, on the last weekend of July, released five meetings (four monthly meetings and one preparatory meeting) that requested to sever connections with the yearly meeting. Wilmington Yearly Meeting includes Friends Churches in the states of Tennessee and Ohio, and […]

The Separation Generation

By Chuck Fager; with material edited and adapted from previous issues of Quaker Theology. I – Background It’s not easy – in fact, impossible – to pick a starting date for what I call the “Separation Generation” in American Quakerism. My personal preference is July 1977, when the first major interbranch conference in decades, gathered in […]

Imminence, Rootedness, and Realism: Eschapocalyptic Action (or not) in the Age of Trump

r. scot miller In this Age of Trump, two urgent questions have emerged for many Friends and Progressive Christians. First, what we ought to do in response to what happened in 2016 and continues to happen. And second, how do we address that wide swath of American Christianity (lumped under the terms “Evangelical: or “Religious […]

ONE: “Truly Radical, Non-violent, Friendly Approaches”(1): Challenges to the American Friends Service Committee

H. Larry Ingle Reprinted from Quaker History, Volume 105, Number 1, Spring 2016. Published by Friends Historical Association Nearly twenty-five years ago, on the occasion of the American Friends Service Committee’s seventy-fifth anniversary, Swarthmore College historian J. William Frost published a scholarly examination of the group’s early history. In his second paragraph, Frost stressed that […]

TWO: From Supporter to Friendly Critic: How AFSC Changed Me

H. Larry Ingle Friends learn from experience, actually from a dialogue with experience; at its best, the dialogue is actually a trialogue with God’s Spirit an essential third participant. That’s what happened to me as I reflect back on my encounters with the American Friends Service Committee.     A fairly recent convinced Friend, in 1976 […]

THREE: The American Friends Service Committee, 1947-49: The Cold War’s Effect

H. Larry Ingle Reprinted from Peace & Change, 23 (Jan. 1998) In a year when it received the recognition of a Nobel Peace Prize, the American Friends Service Committee entered into a period of marked transition. This study of the impact of the cold war on the organization examines the choices it faced on such […]

FOUR: Pickett vs. Chambers: A Case Study of Elite Class Power

H. Larry Ingle Reprinted from: An Early Assessment: U.S. Quakerism in the 20th Century. Papers from the Quaker History Roundtable, 2017. The story I am about to tell is not one that I take great pleasure in relating. For one thing, it deals with a Friend whose life was, in most ways and as far […]

FIVE: “Speak Truth to Power:” A Thirty Years Retrospective (1985)

H. Larry Ingle When the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) published “Speak Truth to Power” in the spring of 1955, it did two important things, one advertent, one inadvertent. The authors intended to, and did, produce the most lucid pacifist tract ever penned in the United States; they probably did not intend to, but nevertheless […]

SIX: An Exchange About Numbers; AFSC and Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association (SAYMA), 2011-2012

From SAYMA’s minutes, 2011: [SAYMA =] Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association June 9-12, 2011[Below: SAYMA’s logo & Map of Meetings] Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina41st Annual Meeting 41-32: AFSC and Quakers Free Polazzo serves as one of our representative to the AFSC Corporation. Free has asked AFSC for a report of the number […]

SEVEN: A Flicker of Hope: A Friendly Letter

Written & published by Chuck Fager Issue Number SevenTenth Month 1981 Dear Friend, On the 30th of Ninth Month [1981], near the Oregon coast, a meeting took place which could be very important for the future of American Quakerism. The two top executives of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Board Chairman Stephen Cary and […]

EIGHT: Another False Dawn: AFSC, 1991-1992

A Friendly Letter, Written & published by Chuck Fager, Issue #127, 12th Month 1991 As the Corporation and Board of the American Friends Service Committee gathered for its annual meeting on 11/15-17, AFSC was on the brink of important change: A new Board clerk has taken hold. A new Executive Secretary, the most pivotal Quaker […]

NINE: Introduction to Quaker Service at the Crossroads – 1988

Chuck Fager Introduction There’s an old Quaker joke: a young woman attends her first business meeting as an adult member, looking to make her mark, and sits next to a weighty older Friend in a grey bonnet who is knitting quietly. An agenda item comes up which requires nominations to a new committee; the young […]

NINE: Introduction to Quaker Service at the Crossroads – 1988

Chuck Fager There’s an old Quaker joke: a young woman attends her first business meeting as an adult member, looking to make her mark, and sits next to a weighty older Friend in a grey bonnet who is knitting quietly. An agenda item comes up which requires nominations to a new committee; the young Friend […]

TEN: Gilbert White & AFSC: A Letter to the Editor, Friends Journal, 2006

H. Larry Ingle & Chuck Fager (Published in the April 2006 issue.) Dear Editor, We were very disappointed in Margaret Bacon’s review of the biography of Gilbert White, Living With Nature’s Extremes. The reviewer dismissed with a throwaway comment the deep concerns Gilbert White developed about the direction and governance of the American Friends Service […]

ELEVEN: Can the AFSC Get Its Quaker Groove Back?

By Chuck Fager Adapted from Quaker Theology, Issue #18, 2010-2011 I: The Background of a Concern What we’ve dubbed “The Great Quaker Turnover” has been rolling through Quakerism over the past year. Practically all the “alphabet soup” Friends groups have been changing their top executives: FUM, QUNO, FCNL, FGC, FWCC, Friends Journal. Several top posts […]

Editor’s Introduction, #30/#31

This double issue is an effort to recover some momentum that’s been lost in the past year. The last issue, #29, appeared almost eighteen months ago. Yet our “mission statement” on the copyright page says our intention is to publish two issues per year. And we’ve kept up that pace fairly closely since beginning in […]

Is There Life after Death in Quaker North Carolina?

Chuck Fager Demolishing a 320-Year-Old Meeting     At 10:58 Eastern time,  Seventh Day (Saturday), Eighth Month (August) 5, 2017, at Quaker Lake Camp near Liberty, NC, Clerk Michael Fulp asked, “Do you approve?”     The assembled Friends, about 120 of them, responded with a surprisingly subdued, “Approve.” And with that, they pressed the button that […]

An Increasingly Familiar Story: Northwest Yearly Meeting Expulsions & Sequelae

Chuck Fager We’ve also been following the growing tensions in Northwest Yearly Meeting, out west (see Issue #24:, Issue #27  ; and Issue #28 ).     In January 2017, these tensions came to a head when the YM leadership announced a purge of several meetings that had adopted LGBT-affirming positions or minutes.  The leadership framed this as a […]

Wilmington YM: Another Yearly Meeting Schism?

By Stephen W. Angell The Fairview Minute This eloquent minute (around which most of the discussion in annual sessions in Wilmington Yearly Meeting was based) was approved on January 15, 2017, in a small rural Friends’ church in New Vienna, Ohio. It was in response to a longstanding disagreement in that yearly meeting over a […]

“Many Friends Do Not Know ‘Where They Are'”: Some Divisions in London Yearly Meeting During the First World War”

Reprinted from Quaker Theology #11, 2005Thomas C. Kennedyauthor of British Quakerism 1860-1920 Late in 2001 in the terrible aftermath of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, Scott Simon, newsman and commentator for National Public Radio who claims membership in the Society of Friends, presented solemn public testimony in which he declared that because of the […]

Milton Mayer, Quaker Hedgehog

A Review and Profile, by H. Larry Ingle Reprinted from Quaker Theology #8, 2003 Oxford-educated political scientist Isaiah Berlin, in his minor classic “The Hedgehog and the Fox” (1953), divided people into two groups, those who understood one big thing like the hedgehog and those, like the fox, who knew many things. The subject of […]

Everyday/Extraordinary Resistance: Two True Stories from the Vietnam Years

Leafleting a Meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marion Anderson By 1970, I had been organizing against the war full-time for five years. First, in Washington where I was an organizer of the televised National Teach-In which was watched by about ten million Americans and then in Michigan as chairman of Michi-gan Clergy and […]

Remembering Tom Fox Introduction to: Tom Fox Was My Friend. Yours, Too.

Chuck Fager Christian Peacemakers Kidnapped in Baghdad John Stephens called me with the news: Tom Fox and three other members of the Christian peacemaker Teams’ group (CPT) in Baghdad had been kidnaped. It was just after Thanksgiving, late November, 2005.     That summer of 2005 John had been an intern at Quaker House in Fayetteville, […]

Resisting Oppression: Friends and the Stuart Restoration, 1660-1689

H. Larry Ingle Someone with more insight than I possess once said that history opens up a foreign land, one that moderns cannot know about without an act of will and then only fitfully. This pregnant observation comes into sharp relief when we Quakers consider, as we must, the reaction of our forbears to the […]

Study War Some More (If You Want to Work for Peace)

Chuck Fager Introduction Why a study on Quaker peace strategy? From some current perspectives, laboring over the stra-tegy and history of Quaker peace work is a curiosity, if not a waste of time. Larger and more influential groups are at work on peace issues, especially in Washington DC; isn’t our main role is to support […]

“No Country for Jewish Liberals,” “The Half Life of a Free Radical”* Two Reviews

Reviewed by Chuck Fager These two autobiographical memoirs should be much more different.  They ended up in a stack of books by my recliner, and I was soon struck by a kind of spiritual resonance and counterpoint between them, across seemingly vast gaps of culture and personality. Neither is by or about a Quaker. But […]

Nixon’s First Cover-Up, The Religious Life of A Quaker President

Nixon’s First Cover-Up, The Religious Life of A Quaker President. By H. Larry Ingle. University of Missouri, 271 pages. Reflections on a “Quaker” President Who Wasn’t Actually a Quaker By Lon Fendall [Note: This essay was originally presented to a panel at the 2015 American Academy of Religion meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.] I want to […]

“Ham Sok Hon: Voice of the People and Pioneer of Religious Pluralism in Twentieth Century Korea; Biography of a Korean Quaker”* A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Reprinted from Quaker Theology #5, Autumn 2001 Early in the morning of Second Month 4, 1989, Kim Sung Soo learned that Ham Sok Hon had died. “When I looked at him in his coffin,” Kim writes, “I felt it was as if a part of myself had died. Faced with his death my […]

Review Essay: Resistance Theology in Niebuhr, Barth, Rauschenbush & Dorrien; Irony & Living a Theological Saga

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Adapted from Quaker Theology #11 – Spring-Summer 2005 Six Books by Gary Dorrien, published by Westminster John Knox, Louisville:     The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining     Progressive Religion, 1805-1900. 2001. 494 pges..     The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism,      Realism & Modernity, 1900-1950. 2003, 666 pages.    […]

Editor’s Introduction, #29

    There’s some good news in American Quakerdom this fall: North Carolina Yearly Meeting (FUM), whose travails we have been following for two years, has decided not to split, and the two-year effort to purge its handful of “liberal” meetings has been given up. Instead, as our report here shows, it will undertake to “reorganize” […]

The Influence of Psychoanalysis and Popular Psychology on Quaker Thought & Practice: An Exploratory Survey

Jacob Stone One Saturday back in the early 1990’s I found myself in a brief workshop sponsored by a Quaker organization; there was a short business meeting, a presentation, some socialization and networking during “dinner on the grounds”. And then…..    …..a program about how I could “heal” myself. I didn’t at that time feel any […]

Narrative Theology: The Land

Ken Bradstock On the Appalachian Plateau in Southwestern Pennsylvania, a farm lies fallow from decades of disuse. The fine old Pennsylvania bank barn has collapsed toward the silo. The roof is lying on the wooden ruins and they, in turn, have buckled and fainted onto the stonework foundation. The pastures and crop fields all across […]

Whittaker Chambers, Alger Hiss, and Quaker Leadership: A Problem for Friends

H. Larry Ingle Lately, I have come to see Whittaker Chambers as one of the most fascinating Quakers in the middle of the 20th century. He was also the member of the American Communist Party for about thirteen years, from 1925 to 1938. He joined the rural Pipe Creek Meeting, a part of the Hicksite […]

Back From The Brink: North Carolina Yearly Meeting Says No To A Split

Chuck Fager I North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM (NCYM) has ended the two-year effort to purge its “liberal meetings.” This seems to be the most definite outcome of its showdown annual session on August 13 and 14, 2016. It was a very close thing. The leadership wanted a purge disguised as a split, and the steamroller […]

“Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey”* A Review

Chuck Fager It’s my fate to spend a fair amount of time on the larger Quaker-oriented Facebook groups.That is often a challenging, and even dispiriting experience, especially when talk turns to “what Friends believe,” and how that is evidenced in actual Quaker history. It’s a chore because the level of ignorance and misinformation about Quakerism […]

“Quiet Heroes: A Century of American Quakers’ Love and Help for the Japanese and Japanese-American”* A Review

Chuck Fager Want a good definition for “the middle of nowhere”? Try heading north on US Highway 395, almost 120 miles past Death Valley in California, and 100-plus from the eastern entrance to Yosemite. This is the Owens Valley. It’s home to bands of Paiute-Shoshone Indians, some hardy fruit farmers, cattle ranchers, and not much […]

Editor’s Introduction, #28

This issue covers a broad range of concerns and issues. An account of disciplined interreligious education and dialogue work opens the volume. It describes an approach that is informed by Quaker spirituality, across gaps of understanding and belief that often seem unbridgeable, but which grace and attention sometimes cross. Three further entries deal with death: […]

Tom Fox: In Memoriam: Introduction

by Chuck Fager I — News of the Kidnaping of Tom Fox John Stephens called me with the news, on November 26, 2005: Tom Fox and three other members of the Christian peacemaker Teams’ group in Baghdad had been kidnaped. In the summer of 2005, John was an intern at Quaker House in Fayetteville, North […]

A Godly Play Story About Tom Fox

Today I want to tell you about a Quaker man named Tom Fox who believed in walking cheerfully over the earth answering to that of God in everyone. Tom was a dad. He had 2 children, a girl and a boy. Tom loved his children and loved being a dad. He loved to cook and he loved making music.
And he loved peace. Tom Fox was a peacemaker. (Read more)

Context/Content/Community: Teaching Interfaith Dialogue as a Quaker

Rebecca Mays Context In 2006, a Quaker-style ‘leading’ came out of a time of gathered worship; I felt I heard a direction to “go and learn how they know of me.” I had been doing a Quaker-Jewish interreligious dialogue with a woman rabbi in the Jewish renewal movement for about a decade at that time […]

Feeling Light Within: Peg Morton Remembered For The Way She Lived and Died

Теd Taylor I Feeling Light WithinPeg Morton rememberedFor the way she lived and died Ted Taylor Eugene, Oregon – Margaret Miner Morton, better known as Peg Morton in the activist and Quaker community, died Dec. 19 at age 85 of natural causes. Before she died, her voice and charisma still filled rooms, and with medical […]

The Death of Peg Morton: A View from Eugene Friends Meeting

Dina Wills I The small, beautiful wood-paneled Meeting Room of the Eugene Friends Meeting (EFM) was packed with at least 150 people, many of them standing around the walls. The hand-made wooden benches were crowded, with chairs anywhere a chair could fit. The door to the Memory garden was open, even though the weather was […]

Reflection on Peg Morton

Ken Bradstock Every living thing on this planet dies. Everything from the tiniest of microbes to the Great Sequoias eventually comes to an end. The question is not “Will we die?” but how that happens. For many of us, the decisions are made for us and the end comes in a blink. For some, there […]

Three Reflections on Same Sex Marriage

Philip Gulley Why I Support Same Gender Marriage Several years ago, I was attending a Quaker conference north of Chicago and began talking with a man from Ohio, who spoke in the plain language of our Quaker ancestors. Lots of thee’s and thou’s. It seemed pretentious, as if he were subtly reminding the rest of […]

Walt Whitman of the New York “Aurora:” Editor, Transcendentalist, Quaker, Perfectionist

Mitchell Santine Gould Or rather, to be quite exact, a desire…had been flitting through my previous life Walt Whitman,“A Backwards Glance O’er Travel’d Roads” Although an origin story has always naturally been part of the biographer’s bread and butter, the field lacks its own term for this, and so we must borrow the notion of […]

North Carolina & Northwest Yearly Meeting Updates: Ambushed, Sandbagged, and Kicked Down The Road

Chuck Fager I Have you seen moments like this in detective films, or in stories? When Sherlock, or whoever the sleuth is, hunches forward and shouts: “Good God, Watson! How could I be such a FOOL??” (Usually, it means things are about to get very interesting.) I had that kind of a moment Saturdayྭmorning, November 7, 2015. […]

Editor’s Introduction, #27

If there’s a keyword for this issue. It’s “Release.” As Stephen Angell points out in his report here, “release” has had an honorable heritage in the Quasker glossary, mainly referring either to the sending of a Friend (or Friends) on some mission on behalf of their home monthly or yearly meeting; or since the introduction […]

Quakers and “Transformation”

An Editorial Commentary You ask me, it’s a sure sign of a needed change coming: Just as I was finishing up this piece, I found a notice that The Center for Spiritual & Social Transformation, part of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California just changed its name (on September 1, 2015) to the […]

George Fox University and West Hills Friends:

Controversy and Conflict in NorthwestYearly Meeting By Stephen W. Angell [Editor’s Note: In Issue #24, we reported on a two-sided struggle that had appeared in Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM). On one side, there emerged a visible support group for LGBT students, staff and alumni at the Newberg. Oregon campus of NWYM’s academic offspring, George Fox […]

Part II: Northwest Yearly Meeting Elders “Release” (i.e., Expel) West Hills Friends Meeting

By Chuck Fager Background On July 24, 2015, only hours after the annual NWYM sessions had adjourned, NWYM elders communicated to West Hills Friends Meeting (WHF) that they had been expelled, or, in the el­ders’ term, “released,” from the yearly meeting. This action has a long pre-history that we have covered in QT #24. WHF […]

Encounters from Beyond Quakerism, Belief in Extraterrestrials And the Boundaries of Liberal Religion

Isaac May Readers of Friends Journal, the leading periodical of liberal Quakerism, would have been surprised in early 1994 to see a small ad placed in the classifieds section in the back of the magazine. Amidst blurbs for Quaker-related Bed and Breakfasts, a promotion for the environmentalist Friends Committee for Unity with Nature, a job posting […]

Thunder In Carolina, Part Two: North Carolina Yearly Meeting – FUM And “Unity” vs. Uniformity

Chuck Fager I We begin by looking back to August 30, 2014, at the annual session of NCYM-FUM. The Executive Committee has just made its report. Almost immediately intense controversy breaks out. Pastors and others from four meetings, in particular, rose to loudly insist that business, as usual, be set aside. The yearly meeting, they […]

Mary Dyer Musings – A Measure of Light , A Novel by Beth Powning, and Mary’s Joy, a Play by Jeanmarie Simpson

Jeanmarie Simpson Following a 2005 performance of my play, A Single Woman, about the life of first US Congresswoman and lifelong pacifist, Jeannette Rankin, I was approached by a Quaker woman. She was moved by my work and felt compelled to tell me about Mary Dyer, whom she described as a Quaker martyr. She thought I […]

“Holy Nation: The Transatlantic Quaker Ministry in an Age of Revolution”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Can this be just a coincidence?ྭThe full-color cover image on Holy Nation is an Edward Hicks “Peaceable Kingdom” painting. It’s the one featuring William Penn in the background, making a peace trea­ty with the Indians, while to the right the lion, lamb and other animals are gathered placidly along with several children. Here’s […]

“A Sustainable Life: Quaker Faith and Practice in the Renewal of Creation”* A Review

Reviewed by Chel Avery “What sustains sustainability?” Mark Helpsmeet(1) has proposed this question as an alternative title for Doug Gwyn’s deep examination of Quaker life and sustainability. How do Quaker thought and Quak­er practice provide a firm foundation for individuals and communities that are trying to live in harmony with creation and with prophetic attention […]

Editor’s Introduction, #26

This issue is the longest in Quaker Theology’s sixteen-year tenure. It wasn’t intended to be that. But both weighty events and substantive material kept accumulating, and here we are. It has also been one of the most arduous issues to prepare. When the disturbances in North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM erupted in last summer, we knew […]

Thunder In Carolina: North Carolina Yearly Meeting – FUM

Chuck Fager North Carolina Quaker Showdown As this issue went to press, North Carolina Yearly Meeting-FUM (NCYM) was on the brink of a showdown over its future, with a high probability of undergoing a major schism. What’s at stake in the struggle? Many things, but what stands out are four Ms: Mission, morality, marriage, and […]

Quaker Theology is not Explained by Apocalyptic Expectation and Delay

BY HUGH ROC Introduction Douglas Gwyn’s thesis (Gwyn, 1986) that Quaker theology originates in imminent apocalyptic expectation has achieved a degree of influence. In its own right, Gwyn’s work stands as an expression of passionate personal conviction. Gwyn makes an empathetic bridge across the generations to relate his own sense of portentous times in the […]

A Review, “Personality and Place, the Life & Times of Pendle Hill”

Reviewed by Chuck Fager “Sometimes I look around and think, Pendle Hill is God’s little joke on the Society of Friends.” – Janet Shepherd, former Dean NOTE: From one perspective, it’s a conflict of interest for me to review this book. After all, I’m described in it, because I was on staff at Pendle Hill […]

“A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture”*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager There’s more than little déjà vu about A Convergent Model of Renewal. Quakerism, Wess Daniels argues, will be renewed by the coming together of Friends from the fringes of the various branches, particularly younger members and seekers. Or as he puts it: “It could be said that convergent Friends signal the emergence of a […]

Response: Forgiveness and Letting-Go: An Inter-Religious and Internal Dialogue Sallie B. King

Sallie B. King I thank Claire Ly for giving the interview, “Forgiveness: a journey or an obligation?” in which she shares her reflections upon her experience under the Khmer Rouge regime. I also thank Chuck Fager for sending the interview to me and inviting me to respond. Coming from an entirely secure and comfortable background, […]

Love and Peace in Cuba Today From the Perspective of a Quaker

By Julio Antonio Cuesta Martínez(Translated From the Spanish byStephen W. Angell) Introduction By Stephen Angell, Associate Editor I met Julio Cuesta in Gibara, Cuba, in January, 2014, during the Fourth Encounter of the Cuban Quaker Institute for Peace. I was teaching courses there on Quakers and the Bible and Peace; and Quakers and Mysticism and […]

“From Peace to Freedom: Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1657-1761″*

Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle The British literary scholar Brycchan Carey avers in the first sentence of his Introduction to From Peace to Freedom, “almost everyone knows that Quakers were at the forefront of campaigns to abolish slavery and the slave trade.” In the small world of scholarship, especially the historical realm, that assessment may be accurate […]

“Following Jesus: The Heart of Faith and Practice”* A Review

Reviewed by George Amoss Jr. Paul Anderson is Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University). His Following Jesus: The Heart of Faith and Practice is a collection of 36 essays, some of which had appeared in earlier forms in Evangelical Friend, a periodical that Anderson edited for a time. The book reflects the contradiction inherent in […]

“Paper Trail: Writings from the Front Line of Peace Action, Quaker House/Fort Bragg, 2001-2012″* A Review

Reviewed by John Kiriako This is an eminently readable first-person account of a daily fight for peace during what is arguably the most militarily active period of the past two generations. First, the reader should know what the book is NOT. It is not anti-military. (In fact, Fager specifies that the message is “YES to […]

“Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism & Helped Save America, 1822-1940″* A Review

Reviewed by Isaac May In his introduction to Remaking Friends, Chuck Fager informs his readers that his book “attempts to answer a question… How did the liberal branch of Quakerism become what it is in the early 21st century?” (p. 3). He takes on this rather considerable task principally by examining an important historical antecedent of modern […]

“Angels of Progress: A Documentary History of the Progressive Friends: Radical Quakers in a Turbulent America”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Stephen W. Angell Angels of Progress: A Documentary History of the Progressive Friends is part of a two-volume set published by Kimo Press. While they are not formally numbered, what I regard as the first volume, Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism & Helped Save America, reviewed elsewhere in this issue by Isaac May, […]

An Excerpt from Remaking Friends: How Progressive Friends Changed Quakerism & Helped Save America, 1822-1940

By Chuck Fager FIVE: “Oh! No, It Cannot, Cannot Be – My Darling Babe Will Live . . .” As we turn to spiritualism, it is worth recalling that in one sense, there was not much new about these soon-notorious manifestations. “It would be possible,” wrote Rufus Jones in 1921, “to fill an entire book […]

The Fall of Man

Angelina Weld Grimke From the Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, 1859, pp. 45-52. Eagleswood, N.J., April 26, 1857 To the Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends: I remember that, some time ago, one of your number wrote to ask me for something which he heard I had written on the subject of woman. […]

Blessed Unrest: The Radical Act of Gathering

Scott Holmes          I am a Quaker lawyer finding myself in the middle of the legal defense of Quakers arrested for failing to disperse from an unlawful assembly at the North Carolina General Assembly during the “Moral Monday” protests this summer. I have been inspired, moved, and challenged by Moral Monday protesters. I am […]

“Let the holy seed of life reign” Perfection, Pelagianism, and the early Friends

John Connell Introduction “For this was the error of Pelagius, which we indeed reject and abhor, and which the Fathers deservedly withstood, that man by his natural strength, without the help of God’s grace, could attain to that state so as not to sin.” – Robert Barclay One of the theological distinctions that set the […]

Separation Accomplished: New Beginnings for a New Association of Friends and a “Reconfigured” Indiana Yearly Meeting

By Stephen W. Angell The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. – Acts 15:39-41 (NRSV). Has a […]

A Letter re: Kenya Quakers & Homosexuality

by David Zarembka Dear Quaker Theology, I read with interest the various comments on the homosexuality issue in Kenya in the last issue of Quaker Theology [Issue #23]. I have some additional comments that might help clarify the situation. I was at the FWCC [Friends World Committee for Consultation] World Conference in Nakuru [in 2012] […]

“The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies”*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies Too Expensive Advice to Meetings: Don’t buy this book. The full retail price is $175, and Amazon only knocks it down to $128.48; even its paper-free Kindle edition is $99.99. That’s just too much for one book. In these times, it’s likely more than many Meetings […]

Northwest Yearly Meeting and “Shattering” Conflict: Chapter One

Chuck Fager with Jade Souza With the schism in Indiana Yearly Meeting over one meeting’s open welcome to LGBT persons now complete, one could have thought this journal would have a break from coverage of such events. But it was not to be. In July 2013, another American Friends church, this time in an evangelical […]

About the Contributors, #24

Stephen Angell is the Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion, Richmond Indiana, and Associate Editor of Quaker Theology. John Connell currently resides in Camby, Indiana. He is a birthright Friend and a member of White Lick Monthly Meeting-Mooresville Friends Church in neighboring Mooresville Indiana, which is part of Western Yearly Meeting. […]

Editor’s Introduction #23

I     As this issue took shape, much of the world was keeping vigil while Nelson Mandela, the liberator of South Africa, seemed to be finishing the course of his dramatic, 94-year life pilgrimage.     As a statesman, Mandela’s greatest achievement was the ending of apartheid, a seismic change achieved with a minimum of violence. […]

Progressive Friends: The Top Ten Reasons Why They’re The Most Interesting Quakers We Never Heard Of

Chuck Fager (Adapted from a presentation at the Conference of Quaker Historians & Archivists, Sixth Month 2012) I want to say a few things about the 19th century Progressive Friends as a movement.     Ten things, to be exact. Few Quakers today are familiar with this yeasty group. And that’s a shame, because without question, […]

The Battle for Battle Creek: Sectarian Competition in the Yankee West

Brian C. Wilson Battle Creek, Michigan, is famous as the 19th-century headquarters of Seventh-Day Adventism and its prophet, Ellen White, as well as for the Adventist-­inspired Battle Creek Sanitarium, superintended for years by the dynamic John Harvey Kellogg. Battle Creek also became nationally known for hosting a variety of alternative religions other than Seventh-Day Adventism. […]

“Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917-1950″*

Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle Friends often are at their best when they have visible opponents who are deeply entrenched, respectable, and powerful but support some odious practice – think slaveholders. But the reality is that partially through dramatic Quaker pre-Civil War and wartime pressure, President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery 150 years ago this year. […]

“The Early Quakers and the Kingdom of God: Peace, Testimony and Revolution”*

Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle This hefty work serves to introduce Australian Friend Gerard Guiton to the Quaker scholarly world concerned with the origins of the Religious Society of Friends. It is heralded with sparkling back cover endorsements by three distinguished Friends of a programmed orientation, recorded ministers all, Douglas Gwyn, Englishman John Punshon, and […]

Studying Music and Violence

Heidi Hart The souls of all my dears have flown to the stars. Thank God there’s no one left for me to lose – so I am free to cry. This air was made for the echoing of songs. –Anna Akhmatova, Russian poet, 1944 Random cannonfire punctures the sound-space in Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory. Wagner’s Ring […]

“An Excerpt from Howard and Anna Brinton: Re-inventors of Quakerism In the Twentieth Century, An Interpretive Biography”*

By Anthony Manousos Growing Up in “Brinton Country” To tell the story of the Brintons or of the Beans and the Coxes, Anna’s family, is to tell the story of Quakerism as it developed in America. Anna and Howard both took pride in the fact that they could trace their ancestry to the early days […]

Questions for Howard: Being a Kind of Review of the New Biography of Howard & Anna Brinton

By Chuck Fager “The time has come–indeed, it is long overdue–for a critical assessment of Howard’s major works: Friends for Three Hundred Years (1952) and Guide to Quaker Practice (1943), which continue to be best sellers among liberal Friends.” –Anthony Manousos in Howard and Anna Brinton:                                 […]

The Still Small Voice in the Wilderness: The Treatment of Silence in Two Abolitionist Quaker Narratives—Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway and Linda Spalding’s The Purchase

Reviewed by Selena Middleton The past year has seen the beginning of what could be a renaissance of Quakerism in the mainstream collective consciousness, from Martin McDonagh’s film Seven Psychopaths in which Christopher Walken plays a serene, yet foul-mouthed Quaker, to two books in which readers are presented with alternatives to the already familiar historical […]

“A Peace of Africa, Reflections on Life In The Great Lakes Region”

Reviewed by Chuck Fager In the US, the career track for “development work” is pretty well laid out: it starts with a degree from a “quality” college. Season that with a bit of “on the ground” foreign experience (the Peace Corps will do). From there, snag a slot at a NGO (nongovernmental organization), hang on […]

“350 Years of the Society of Friends in North America: 1661-2011″*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Want to see all US Quaker history in a single page? With attitude? Here it is. Well, one very large page: thirty by forty inches. It’s actually a chart, meant to hang on your wall, not nestle among the pamphlets on a bookshelf. Friend Kaiser sells these charts for $13 postpaid; […]

Introduction to Issue #21

This is a packed issue, full of high-content, substantive thought and reporting. First, there are two updates by Associate Editor Stephen Angell on the continuing conflict in Indiana Yearly Meeting. They continue our detailed coverage of this significant episode, a record not available elsewhere. Yet a preoccupation with current foibles can easily become a kind […]

The Proposed Split of Indiana Yearly Meeting: What Its Monthly Meetings Say

By Stephen W. Angell Editor’s Introduction September 11th. Is there a more ominous date on the contemporary American calendar? Now, 9-11 has become a landmark date for Indiana Yearly Meeting (IYM), in a manner eerily reminiscent of its traumatic meaning for society at large. On September 11, 2012, IYM Meetings were notified that the long […]

William Bartram: The Moral Philosophy of a Quaker Botanist

Sarah Werner William Bartram (1739-1823) was one of the first scientists to explore the southern colonies of the United States in the 18th century. He is best known for his widely popular account of his journey, Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the […]

Beyond Liberalism: Rufus Jones and Thomas Kelly in the History of Liberal Religion

Guy Aiken It was Monday, December 19, 1938, a little over a month since the Day of Broken Glass, and three American Quakers were holding impromptu worship in Berlin. They were in the headquarters of the Gestapo, and two Gestapo officers had just left the room to discuss with their superior the Quakers’ proposal to […]

“American Religion, Contemporary Trends”*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Most Quaker groups I know of worry about growing. Whether they call it “outreach” or evangelism, whether they preach about it endlessly or only whisper furtively in the hallways, the desire, the need for more members and attenders hangs over Friends like an ever-present specter.  This concern (obsession?) is as prevalent […]

“Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet”*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager In early August 2012, a large Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California was hit by an explosion and fire, disrupting production of as much as 240,000 barrels a day. About two weeks later, at the huge Amuay refinery in Venezuela, an explosion and fire killed more than forty people and shut […]

Editor’s Introduction: Divorce in Indiana – Quaker Style

Divorce is not as traumatic an experience as it once was. In fact, today most spouses resolve to part peaceably. No-fault laws and mediators can smooth the way to property and custody agreements. The results are still wrenching, but civilized, and much better for the children. Not only couples, but countries have managed this: in […]

The Impending Split in Indiana Yearly Meeting

By Stephen W. Angell As we reported in Issues #18 (Fall-Winter 2010-2011) and #19 (Spring-Summer 2011), Indiana Yearly Meeting, after anguished discussion in an all-day Representative Council Meeting on October 1, 2011, agreed on a year-long process of “Deliberative/Collaborative Reconfiguration.” The roots of this momentous decision lay in a minute, approved in June of 2008, […]

Christianity and War, and Other Essays Against the Warfare State.

Laurence M. Vance.Vance Publications, Pensacola, Florida. 418 pages. Reviewed by Chuck Fager In the spring of 2011, a young soldier came to see me, at the Quaker peace project where I work. He wanted to talk about filing a Conscientious Objector (CO) claim. Once a very enthusiastic recruit, he had been in the elite Special […]

An Excerpt from “Christianity and War:” Are You a Christian Warmonger?

Originally posted April 7, 2005 by Laurence M. Vance Reprinted by permission It is appalling that many defenders of the war in Iraq are Christians; it is even worse when they appeal to Scripture to excuse or justify a senseless war that has now resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 Americans and the wounding […]

The Retention of Young People by the Quakers and the Amish

Damon D. Hickey Note: An earlier version of this paper was delivered to the North Carolina Friends Historical Society in Greensboro on November 10, 2007. It is still very much a work in progress. It lays out several questions about the retention of young people by the Quakers (Friends) and the Amish, presents the methodological […]

Editor’s Introduction, #19

Does it mean that Quaker Theology has “arrived” when it becomes part of the opening prayer at Indiana Yearly Meeting? Well, that’s what happened, according to more than one credible witness: our cover “teaser” reference in Issue #18 to “Indiana Trainwrecks” was mentioned in an appeal there for divine guidance and protection. We earnestly hope […]

Lopping Off a Limb?

Indiana Yearly Meeting’s Troubled Relationship With West Richmond Monthly Meeting By Stephen W. Angell “There is a common misperception that West Richmond is a limb that is being lopped off. That is not the spirit of the recommendation of the Indiana Yearly Meeting task force. We’re  trying to help out the meetings that don’t fit.” […]

“The Evolutionary Potential of Quakerism” Revisited From Kenneth Boulding to John Bellers

Keith Helmuth Based on presentations made for the Quaker Studies Programme, Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends 2009 Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. – Vaclav Havel Part One Quaker Memes and the Human […]

Collected Essays of Maurice Creasey, A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager The Swarthmore Lecture is the prestige gig for Britain Yearly Meeting. It’s been given every year for more than a century, since 1908. Every year, that is, except 1948, when it was abruptly cancelled. It seems a Swiss Friend named Edmond Privat had been tapped, and it was learned that he […]

The Darkness of Mother Teresa, Two Reviews*

by George Amoss Jr. “Eternity,” wrote William Blake, “is in love with the productions of time.” A Roman Catholic – especially one who was formed in the pre-conciliar Church of the early twentieth century, as was Mother Teresa – would surely agree with that, but she would not stop there.  The Catholic sees time sub […]

About The Contributors

George Amoss Jr. a member of Homewood Meeting in Baltimore, attends Little Falls Friends Meeting in Fallston, Maryland. A social worker and psychotherapist, he has served as editor of Universalist Friends, the journal of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship, and he established the Quaker Electronic Archive Web site at http://www.quakerarchive.org. Stephen W. Angell is Leatherock Professor […]

Two Current Conflicts in Midwestern Friends Meetings

Stephen W. Angell Part I: Freight Train Bearing Down? West Richmond Friends Meeting and Indiana Yearly Meeting West Richmond Friends Meeting in Richmond, Indiana, might seem to be an odd ground zero for the newest intra-Quaker conflict, but that is where the Meeting has found itself in the past two years, after approving a “welcoming […]

Postscript: Allen Jay on the Spirit of Separation

Joshua Brown, pastor of West Richmond Meeting, is also the editor of a new edition of the Autobiography of Allen Jay (1831-1910). Jay, an Indiana Friend, was a successful revivalist during the late nineteenth century, as the Gurneyite branch of Quakerism moved toward the pastoral system. Jay’s success as a revivalist came despite his cleft […]

The Quest for an Authentic French Quakerism: A Conversation with Jeanne-Henriette Louis

                   Chuck Fager [Note: This conversation was conducted at the Friends International Center in Paris, in Twelfth Month (December) 2010.] Chuck Fager[CF]:  Jeanne-Henriette [JH], I’m interested in your academic career, but I want to know a little bit about you. You say you are from Bordeaux, where did you grow up? Why did you become […]

Can The AFSC Get Its Quaker Groove Back?

Chuck Fager I: The Background of a Concern What we’ve dubbed “The Great Quaker Turnover” has been rolling through Quakerism over the past year. Practically all the “alphabet soup” Friends groups have been changing their top executives: FUM, QUNO, FCNL, FGC, FWCC, Friends Journal. Several top posts in Britain Yearly Meeting have turned over as […]

“A History of Southland College: The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas,”* A Review

Reviewed by Stephen Angell Thomas C. Kennedy is probably the most significant historian of Quakerism writing today that most American Quakers have never heard of. He has recently retired from the history faculty of the University of Arkansas. Most of his research has involved British pacifists. His British Quakerism, 1860-1920: The Transformation of a Religious […]

“To Change the World, The Irony, Tragedy, & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World”* A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Quakers don’t like to remember Prohibition, and the Temperance movement which birthed it. From liberals to evangelicals, I can’t recall a serious discussion – and but one incident of reminiscing – about it in four decades among Friends. Yet for several generations, outlawing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was […]

Excerpt from “To Change The World”*

 Imagine, in this regard, a genuine “third great awakening” occurring in America, where half of the population is converted to a deep Christian faith. Unless this awakening extended to envelop the cultural gatekeepers, it would have little effect on the character of the symbols that are produced and prevail in public and private culture. And, […]

Howard Brinton and the World Council of Churches: The Theological Impact of Ecumenism on Friends

by Anthony Manousos The ecumenical movement that culminated in the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948 was a wake up call to Howard Brinton and other Friends, obliging them to take more seriously the theological issues of their day. Up to this point, most of Brinton’s writings about theology focused on Quaker […]

Enacting Truth: The Dynamics of Quaker Practice

Douglas Gwyn Editor’s Note: Could a return to the traditional discipline of preparing collective answers to specific queries cure the present ills of the Religious Society of Friends? Douglas Gwyn explores that question here. He sets it within a framework of four ways of seeking and enacting Truth and their interaction in Quaker practice: for […]

An Argument for Comprehensive Religious Education of FGC Young Friends

Joyce Ketterer I am a life-long Quaker and a product of ten years of formal Quaker education as well as nine years of Young Friends experience in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. In high school, I was not only an avid attendee of Young Friends but also a strong Quaker leader, the co-founder, and co-clerk of an […]

“To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today”* A Review

Reviewed by Stephen W. Angell Margery Post Abbott has been a very productive and useful writer in the area of Quaker spirituality over recent years. I have particularly enjoyed the book that she co-edited with Peggy Senger Parsons, Walk Worthy of Your Calling: Quakers and the Traveling Ministry (Friends United Press, 2004), which presents first-hand […]

“Hostage In Iraq” & “118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Chuck Fager This is a bad news-good news review. Bad news first: In US army jargon, the “Tooth-to-Tail-Ratio” describes the fact that for every armed soldier on the Baghdad streets or in Afghan mountains, there is a “tail” of eight to ten others, stretching back to the states, and typically including civilians. I […]

“Climate Wars” & “The Green Zone”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Intellectually speaking, discovering the work of Gwynne Dyer was the best thing that’s happened to me in the past several years. Dyer is a Canadian military analyst and columnist. He’s worked with the navies of Great Britain, Canada and the US, gained a doctorate in Military and Middle Eastern History from […]

“Spirit Rising, Young Quaker Voices”* A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager “If we have done our job well,” the editors of Spirit Rising declare, “ . . .some pieces [in this book] may surprise, confuse, alarm or even offend you.” Well, that didn’t happen. And partly that’s because I couldn’t keep from seeing this project in a larger historical context. Spirit Rising […]

“Study War Some More (If You Want to Work for Peace),”* A Review

Reviewed by Doug Gwyn This small book of sixty pages offers a good mix of biblical reflection, lessons from Quaker history, and distillations from Chuck Fager’s years of work for peace.  It’s a call to Friends for a more rigorous and long-term strategy of peace witness.  As the title suggests, if Friends are serious about […]

About The Contributors

Stephen W. Angell, is Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion. Chuck Fager, Editor of Quaker Theology, is Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Doug Gwyn is the author of Apocalypse of the Word; Seekers Found; and other books. He is now researching a comprehensive history of Pendle Hill, as […]

Update & Preview Philip Gulley, Western Yearly Meeting, And An Excerpt from His Forthcoming Book

Six years ago, in Quaker Theology, Issue #9, we reported on the effort to revoke the ministerial credentials of Friend Philip Gulley, the pastor of Fairfield Friends Meeting near Indianapolis, Indiana. Fairfield is part of Western Yearly Meeting, which encompasses the western half of the state. The charge was heresy, specifically that Gulley had espoused […]

The Quaker Enterprise of Metaphor

By Jnana Hodson In early Quaker usage, metaphor engages far more than its definition as a figure of speech would presuppose. The central overlapping images – principally Light and Seed, linked to a concept of Truth – advance a complex logic grounded in an outpouring of spiritual experiences by many individuals. Given the constraints established […]

Narrative Theology: from Psychological Warfare to Peace; My journey to/into Quakerism and nonviolence

Jeanne-Henriette Louis My Ph.D. dissertation on the concepts of psychological warfare in the United States during the Second World War originated in the need to investigate the period corresponding to the first years of my life (I was born in 1938) but also to an extremely painful part of world history. I was teaching North […]

Howard Thurman and Quakers

By Stephen W. Angell In 1955, the inaugural year of the Friends Journal, a special issue was published on the theme of the Wider Quaker Fellowship. One of the essays in that issue was excerpted from Deep River, a forthcoming book by Howard Thurman (1899-1981), eminent Christian African American mystical and social gospel theologian, preacher, […]

Response to Thomas Hamm: Holiness 2.5 Cheers

Carole Dale Spencer First of all, I want to dismiss any notions that my book was in any way an attack on Hamm’s Transformation of American Quakerism. While we disagree on a few issues, his work was an important catalyst for the beginning of my exploration of holiness and Quakers almost twenty years ago. I […]

Thomas Hamm Response to “Holiness, The Soul of Quakerism”*

Holiness: 2.5 CheersThomas Hamm, Earlham College Thomas Hamm Those of us in the little world of Quaker historians have long known that this book was coming. I got an inkling in 1990, when the Conference of Quaker Historians and Archivists was held at George Fox College and Carole Spencer presented a paper on women and […]

“Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism”*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager It was the British historian John Punshon who told a large Quaker body in 2008 that: . . . one way of studying the Quaker past is to use it as a means of self-justification. At times, interpretations of our history have been produced that have been used in the doctrinal […]

“Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship, Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice”* A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Winston Churchill was once told, regarding another politician, that “Mr. X is a very modest man.” “Yes,” Churchill replied, “but then, Mr. X has much to be modest about.” Several times during eight years in North Carolina, I have been introduced as a Quaker to black persons of substance, mostly ministers. […]

Editor’s Introduction, #15

This issue covers a wide spectrum. From reflections on John Wooolman’s visionary experiences, it ranges across an effort to reframe early Friends’ spiritual experiences in modern psychological terms, all the way to an exploration of the parallels between Quaker silence and Pentecostal speaking in tongues. And there’s more. Two of our reviews deal with matters […]

The Psychology of Salvation: Recovering, Reframing, and Reclaiming the Early Quaker Experience

As it continues to lose its historic identity as a distinctive Christian movement, contemporary Quakerism becomes increasingly diffuse, a condition leading to diminished vitality, commitment, depth, community, and influence. Throughout the range from Christocentrism to nontheism, Friends express various views of what Quakerism is about, what its essential principles and practices are.

The Spiritual Similarities of Quaker Silence and Pentecostal Glossolalia in Worship

By Ho Yan Au The means for worship and liturgy vary among Christian denominations. Traditional churches such as the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican/Episcopal Church promote a sensible sacredness and solemnity through symbolic rituals with materials such as incense, bells, candles, etc. Protestant churches simplify the whole process by abandoning the use of materials and […]

“Hideous Dream,” “Full Spectrum Disorder: the Military in the New American Century” & “Hold On to Your Humanity: An Open Letter to GI’s in Iraq”* Reviewed

Reviewed by David Gosling In preparing this collective review of three written pieces by Stan Goff, a one-time Army Master Sergeant turned Socialist; I found myself simultaneously repulsed and intrigued, pushed and pulled, by his suggestions, opinions, insights, findings, memories, and rants. Of the three works, one is a straightforward memoir of Goff’s experiences in […]

“An Introduction to Quakerism” & “The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Doug Gwyn Over the past several years “Ben” Pink Dandelion has been party to a great deal of fresh Quaker research. His own sociological analysis of Friends in Britain has reframed our understanding of current liberal Quakerism on both sides of the Atlantic. It has also inspired a number of similar, sociological approaches. […]

“Seeking Paradise: The Spirit of the Shaker”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Robert Pierson “The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair,” wrote Thomas Merton, “is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.” (p.85) Seeking Paradise reflects the Trappist monk’s enduring fascination with this “peculiar grace.” The editor, Paul Pearson, calls […]

“The Dark Side” and “Never Surrender”* Reviewed

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Since I live and work next door to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I looked forward to these two books. From very different angles, they shine sharp spotlights on Fort Bragg and its important role in our current war. Beyond that, they illuminate much of our common landscape in the United States […]

About The Contributors, #15

George Amoss Jr., a member of Homewood Meeting in Baltimore, attends Little Falls Friends Meeting in Fallston, Maryland. A social worker and psychotherapist, he has served as editor of Universalist Friends, the journal of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship, and he established the Quaker Electronic Archive Web site at http://www.quakerarchive.org. His earlier essay for Quaker Theology, […]

Editor’s Introduction #14

We don’t do “theme” issues here at Quaker Theology, but readers could be forgiven for thinking that this Issue #14 had a theme of Scriptural study and interpretation. The first piece, by our newly-appointed Associate Editor Stephen W. Angell (Welcome, Steve!), considers how differing approaches to reading and understanding the Bible play out in several […]

Opening the Scriptures, Then and Now

By Stephen W. Angell From East Africa to the Midwestern United States, the first decade of the twenty-first century has proven to be a momentous time for the Religious Society of Friends. In Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, to which I belong, Friends have been discussing whether our minute on environmental sustainability should include the concept […]

A Quaker Perspective on the Qur’an and the Bible

By Anthony Manousos George Bernard Shaw once observed that England and America are two countries separated by a common language. It could also be said that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are three religions separated by a common religious heritage. The three great monotheistic faiths all claim Abraham as their common spiritual ancestor. They ascribe to […]

We Are the Missing Link Reflections on Walter Wink’s “The Human Being”

Douglas Gwyn The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man, Walter Wink. Augsburg Fortress, 368 pages, $26.00. When I began my seminary education at Union in New York in 1971, I took a New Testament survey course with Walter Wink. I vividly recall that he began his first lecture by […]

“Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality”* A Review

Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle In the last two or more decades the word “spirituality,” as a substitute for religion, and even “spirit” has taken on a slightly “new age” connotation, with its vague usage making deep inroads among Friends. I haven’t heard anyone propose that the Religious Society of Friends change its name to […]

Four Publications on Torture

A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror. Alfred McCoy. Holt, 320 pages. Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights. Trevor Paglen and A. C. Thompson. Melville House Publishing 208 pages. $23.00 Teaching About Torture, a Curriculum. Peggy Brick. 19 pages. The Quaker Initiative to […]

Editor’s Introduction #13

This issue includes both new pieces and some followups. On the new side, Mennonite pastor Pearl Hoover offers a preliminary examination of Friend Tom Fox’s evolving spirituality, a process of growth and reflection that led him to the Christian peacemaker teams, Baghdad, kidnapping, and martyrdom. We hope that Tom’s life and witness will be studied […]

The Sermon on the Mount in the Life and Death of Tom Fox

Pearl Hoover [Editor’s Note: This essay is adapted from a presentation at a memorial session for Tom Fox at Baltimore yearly meeting, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, August 4, 2006.] This paper encompasses the life of Tom Fox, from his earliest decision to give his life towards peacemaking to the fruit of his decision as expressed by […]

“Putting the Bible into Perspective: Hicksites and the Theological Treatment of the Bible in Progressive Reform”

Jody Cross-Hansen This article is part of one chapter of my doctoral dissertation–a work-in-progress in which I am examining the Nancy Hewitt hypothesis that perhaps the Hicksite schism was a positive event because it led to liberal reform among women. The jury is still very much out on this hypothesis. At least in the area […]

The Baptisms of John and Jesus: An Exegesis of John 1:19-34

Lloyd Lee Wilson Introduction to the Problem A distinctive of early Friends which they frequently defended in debates with other English Christians in the 17th century was their rejection of water baptism as a necessary part of the Christian life. Not only was it unnecessary, these Friends argued, it was actually spiritually harmful, as a […]

Melting Icebergs Don’t Scream: A Response to Keith Helmuth’s: “The Angel of History, the Storm of Progress, And the Order of the Soul”

By Chuck Fager In Quaker Theology #12, we published an essay by Keith Helmuth, which offered a theological interpretation of our environmental plight, its associated crises and very uncertain outlook. Your editor praised the piece highly, as offering a superior quality of analysis and articulation of this very difficult situation. We stand by that praise; […]

“Godless For God’s Sake: Nontheism In Contemporary Quakerism”* — A Review

What have we come to in Friends religious thought, when the most exciting book of Quaker theology I’ve read in years is produced by a bunch of Quaker non-theists–twenty-seven in all?

Apocalypse – Later*

A Postscript by Chuck Fager As noted in our review of this novel in QT #12, the author had used the novel form to spread a prophecy that the real town of Farmington, Maine would be transformed into the New Jerusalem, free of death, sin, and illness, on June 6, 2006, at dawn. The transformation […]

About The Contributors

Jody Cross-Hansen is a doctoral candidate in U.S. History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, specializing in American religious history. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Religion department at Hofstra University where she has been teaching for twenty years. She is also an ordained minister in the New […]

Editor’s Introduction #12

We admit it – we’re proud of this issue. It centers on two of the most substantive and challenging essays we have published in a long time. To lead off, we have heard many mediocre efforts to relate environmental concerns and theology; but Keith Helmuth’s presentation to Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting & Association in Sixth […]

The Angel of History, the Storm of Progress, And the Order of the Soul

Keith Helmuth He who fights the future has a dangerous enemy. The future is not; it borrows its strength from the man himself, and when it has tricked him out of this, then it appears outside of him as the enemy he must meet. attributed to Soren Kierkegaard Anyone who has felt a baby being […]

Historical and Theological Origins of Assemblies of God Pacifism

Paul Alexander Introduction The General Council of the Assemblies of God changed their official position regarding war from absolute pacifism to freedom of conscience in a mere fifty years.(1) They stated their early adamant stance in the following resolution during World War One: Therefore, we, as a body of Christians, while purposing to fulfill all […]

“America’s Providential History, Including Biblical Principles of Education, Government, Politics, Economics, and Family Life,”* A Review

Reviewed by H. Larry Ingle At a superficial level, America’s Providential History seems to be a textbook: a large format paperback, it looks like a text; it has the feel of one; and it has wide enough margins for the interested student to make copious notes on its pages. Moreover, the authors claim, in the […]

Editors’ Introduction #11

In this issue, we note some important landmarks, as well as taking some new looks at perennial theological issues. The first landmark is the centennial of the founding of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) in 1904. NCYM (C) may be the most viable of the remaining groups expressing the Conservative or Wilburite stream of American […]

A Conservative Yearly Meeting is Born

Lloyd Lee WilsonAdapted from Remarks at Representative Body, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), 10/30/2004 Several years ago, Wil Cooper gave a plenary address to our yearly meeting sessions. After his prepared remarks, a member of the audience (not a Friend) rose to ask a question. Friends, this man observed, in his experience talked about themselves […]

The Core Quaker Theology: Is There Such a Thing?

Chuck FagerAdapted from a presentation atAmawalk Meeting, New York, 8th Mo 14, 2004 When I hear or read of questions about such things as “normative Quakerism,” or “authentic Quakerism” or “traditional Quakerism,” it usually means one of two things: either a person or group feels very much confused and at sea, and is honestly looking […]

“Many Friends do not know ‘where they are’: Some Divisions in London Yearly Meeting During the First World War”

Thomas Kennedyauthor of British Quakerism 1860-1920 Late in 2001 in the terrible aftermath of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, Scott Simon, newsman and commentator for National Public Radio who claims membership in the Society of Friends, presented solemn public testimony in which he declared that because of the deaths of so […]

In Search of Religious Radicalism

By Charley Earp 1. The Radicalization of a Preacher’s Kid A Long Strange Trip At the very core of my being, I have undergone an earth-shaking religious transition in the past few years. Less than nine years ago, I was a passionately committed Bible-believing Christian. Not that I was a conventional evangelical by any stretch […]

“The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness” and “Grace Notes” Reviewed*

Reviewed by Ellen McCambley The Spiral Staircase is the latest book written by scholar and author Karen Armstrong, who presents it as a “sequel” to her earlier book, “Through the Narrow Gate,” which documents her early years in a Catholic convent. Karen is the author of several other books on religious affairs, including A History […]

Review Essay

Review Essay: Taking Up Niebuhr’s Irony: Living a Theological Saga Six Books by Gary Dorrien Published by Westminster John Knox, Louisville: The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion, 1805-1900. 2001, 494 pages. The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism & Modernity, 1900-1950. 2003, 666 pages. The Word As True Myth: Interpreting Modern […]

“The Creation of Quaker Theory: Insider Perspectives,”* A Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager The title of this book resonates with irony at several levels. On the surface, as the “insiders” who contributed to it are mainly academics, or serious scholars; the pages exude a guild mentality. Moreover, its contributors, at the one actual forum where three preliminary papers were delivered by three contributors from […]

Editors’ Introduction, #10

By Chuck Fager & Ann Riggs The theological history of American liberal Quakerism has not been examined in any comprehensive way; it has been terra incognita to those both within and without its fold. But in recent years several researchers, including your Editor, have been at work making forays into this unknown territory and bringing […]

Lucretia Mott, Liberal Quaker Theologian

Chuck Fager Let me begin by posing a question: If Lucretia Mott had ever been arrested for being a liberal Quaker theologian, would there have been enough evidence to convict? Of course, she would have loudly protested that she was no such thing, that in fact she roundly despised theology, and steered clear of it. […]

Messiahs of Every Age: A Theological Basis of Nineteenth-Century Social Reform

Priscilla Elaine Eppinger At the age of 87 Lucretia Mott attended the 1880 Philadelphia Quaker Yearly Meeting. The representative committee reported that although the issue of temperance had been before them, the “way did not open for them to take action upon it.” After a lively discussion it was noted that a bill proposing the […]

Questions for the Movement: Property Damage as a Tactic in Nonviolent Actions

Dean J. Johnson[Note: A quote below includes strong profanity] The paper that follows explores questions of nonviolence and property damage as they pertain to nonviolent actions aimed at radical social change. In times of great duress, which are not always ripe for revolutionary turn-abouts, the use of property damage must be given several considerations. How […]

The Journeyman – The Making of a Muslim Quaker

Brent Miller-White How does a person start out as a liberal Protestant Christian, follow doubts about Christian orthodoxy into Quakerism, move from there to becoming a Muslim – and through Islam find a way back to understanding and valuing Jesus? That’s my story, a journeyman’s story, which is laid out below. My understanding of a […]

“Towards Tragedy/Reclaiming Hope,”* a Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Is tragedy dead? If so, is this a “tragic” loss for our culture? And does the scope of the presumably disastrous effects of its presumed demise include the Religious Society of Friends? If so, is there any prospect for regaining the tragic sense, and thus regaining hope? These questions are the […]

“The Passion of the Christ,” a Movie Review

By Gulielma Fager In Mel Gibson’s February, 2004 interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC, he responded to the rampant pre-release criticism of his movie, The Passion of the Christ, by saying, “Critics who have a problem with me don’t really have a problem with me in this film. They have a problem with the four […]

About the Contributors, #10

Priscilla Elaine Eppinger is Assistant Professor of Religion at Graceland University, Lamoni Iowa. Her fields of interest include Ecological Theology, Ministries of the Church, and Christian Feminist Theologies. Her doctoral dissertation was Lucretia Mott: Theology is Reform’s Foundation. Chuck Fager is Editor of Quaker Theology and Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His […]

Editors’ Introduction #9

By Chuck Fager & Ann Riggs We are pleased to offer here a wide-ranging selection of the thought and work active among Friends. The issue begins with Stephen Angell’s scholarly examination of George Fox’s efforts at basic religious education, and then jumps to a very personal “oral history” account by Richard Lee of his family’s […]

The Catechisms of George Fox

Why they were written in the first place, what was contained in them, what use was made of them, And what we can learn from them today By Stephen W. Angell Catechisms are out of fashion in the twenty-first century, perhaps because of a perceived rigidity or undue conformity that seems to many to be […]

Friendly Healing in Frampton and the Forest

By Richard Lee Frampton on Severn was around before William the Conqueror and his Normans conquered England. It is an old village on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean. Still, no one knows for sure just how old Frampton is. It was in Frampton where my Ol’ Gran taught me the Old Ways […]

Nimrod and the Tower of Babel: Genesis 10-11 in Seventeenth-Century Quaker Writings

By Esther Greenleaf Murer This paper grows out of the Quaker Bible Index, an attempt at a comprehensive Scripture index to make readily available Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Quaker writings. The first version, which appeared in 1993 and is available on CD-ROM, included about 10,000 Scripture references to works by Fox, Barclay, Penn, Woolman and others. […]

The Church: Called, Gathered, and Faithful

a response to The Nature and Purpose of the Church: A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement (World Council of ChurchesFaith and Order Paper No. 181, Nov. 1998) by Friends United Meeting Ecumenical Task Group February, 2002 Friends United Meeting commits itself to energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy […]

“If Grace Be True: Why God Will Save Every Person*” and “A Treatise on Atonement*” Reviewed

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Dissident Quaker Meetings in Indiana Almost two hundred years ago, Hosea Ballou foretold what would befall two Quaker pastors in Indiana, Philip Gulley and his good friend James Mulholland, in 2002: To profess universal salvation,” Ballou wrote, “will subject some to excommunication from regular churches; others to the pain of being […]

“Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power In a Violent World” a Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager I First a bit of autobiography: Jean Bethke Elshtain and I were both undergraduates at Colorado State University, and late in my time there, we became acquainted. I recall with a smile a party where she, a known intellectual, amazed me by dancing wildly to the Beatles, at a time when […]

Reviews: “A Stone Bridge North,” by Kate Maloy & “Driving By Moonlight” by Kristin Henderson*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Living out a faith is the substance of narrative theology, and memoir is one of the best forms through which we can glimpse this theology taking shape, with all the accompanying struggle and exaltation. Two recent memoirs by Quaker women name and present this process superbly, and, as might be expected, […]

Editor’s Introduction, #8

By Chuck Fager Much of Quaker theology is inextricably interwoven with our history. This is a truism fitting most if not all religions; yet it is especially true of the Religious Society of Friends, because of our relative paucity of formal theologizing. Hence it felt natural, at last autumn’s conference on the Legacy of George […]

Quaker History & Theology: Three Interviews

By Chuck Fager Editor’s Introduction: In Tenth Month 2002, some very interesting people gathered at Swarthmore College for a Conference on George Fox’s Legacy. Numerous papers were delivered, many of which will be published presently in Quaker History, the journal of the Friends Historical Association. Both in the papers and in personal conversation, many intriguing […]

A Quaker in a Material World: A Materialist Perspective

Osborn Cresson I am a Quaker and a materialist. That is, the only reality I know is the physical world of cause and effect, and yet Quakers and their practices are fundamental to my life. People are surprised by this combination of the secular and the Quaker. They ask, can materialism lead to a moral […]

Milton Mayer, Quaker Hedgehog

A Review and Profile, by H. Larry Ingle State Authority Over the Individual Oxford-educated political scientist Isaiah Berlin, in his minor classic “The Hedgehog and the Fox” (1953), divided people into two groups, those who understood one big thing like the hedgehog and those, like the fox, who knew many things. The subject of this […]

Editor’s Introduction, # 7

By Chuck Fager This issue of Quaker Theology is one of the most exciting that it has been my privilege to work on. In it the work of serious religious thought is tackled from several strikingly different but revealing directions. We begin with with an appeal by two distinguished scholars, Duke Divinity School’s Stanley Hauerwas (a disenchanted […]

Abolishing War? An Appeal to Christian Leaders and Theologians

By Stanley Hauerwas and Enda McDonagh As Christians called to serve the Church in differing Christian traditions we appeal to our Christian sisters and brothers to join a campaign to abolish war as a legitimate means of resolving political conflict between states and within them. Although our appeal is addressed to the Christian community, we […]

Real Presence and First-Day Pitch-Ins: Why Quakers Are, and Must Be, a Eucharistic People

By Patrick J. Nugent “Wait upon God for the Living Bread, that never fades away.” George Fox “I myself am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger: whoever trusts in me will never thirst.” (John 6:51) I. A Eucharistic Theology for Quakers? In a recent paper, Scott Holland, a minister and […]

The Making of “The Tree Of Life”

By Bruce “Pacho” Lane Quakerism and Mexican Indian Religious Beliefs This is a story about learning to put Quaker faith into practice in a way George Fox never anticipated, while making a film about a Mexican Indian religious belief and ritual. I’m a “birth-right” Friend. My father, Ralph Lane, was convinced while in college at […]

Friends for 350 Years Howard H. Brinton. Historical update and notes by Margaret Hope Bacon.

Reviewed by Chuck Fager There is really no honest way to say this but straight out: Except for its handsome new cover design, this reissue of Howard Brinton’s Friends for 300 Years is an utter embarrassment. For the sake of Pendle Hill’s reputation, and out of respect for Brinton’s decades of service to that institution, it ought […]

Quakers and The Lamb’s War: A Hermeneutic for Confronting Evil, Non-Violent Resistance

By Gene Hillman A paper presented at the International Historic Peace Church Consultation Bienenberg Theological Seminary, Switzerland, June 25-28, 2001 As they war not against men’s persons, so their weapons are not carnal nor hurtful to any of the creation; for the Lamb comes not to destroy men’s lives nor the work of God, and […]

Editor’s Introduction (Issue #6)

By Chuck Fager “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.” It’s a familiar, and central, quote from the Journal of George Fox. But most attention to the sentence has been focused on Jesus, the “speaker,” especially the familiar debates about how “Christian” Quakerism, was, is, or should be. In this issue, Robert Griswold […]

“Condition” in Quaker Theology and George Fox

By Robert Griswold Save us from what our own hands might do; lift the veilbut do not tear it.Save us from the ego; its knife has reached our bones.Who but You will break these chains?Let us turn from ourselves to YouWho are nearer to us than ourselves.Even this prayer is Your gift to us.How else […]

Friends’ Theological Heritage: From Seventeenth-Century Quietists to A Guide to True Peace Though Silent Worship

By Dianne Guenin-Lelle Quaker Theology and Silent Worship The purpose of this paper is to re-establish an historical link between Quaker theology and practice of silent worship and the Quietist movement of seventeenth-century Europe, especially France, Italy and Spain. The most evident connection between Quakers and seventeenth-century Quietists is the nineteenth century text A Guide to […]

Herrymon Maurer and the Tao of Quakerism

by Anthony Manousos “When I first read Herrymon’s version of the Tao The Ching, I was bowled over,” recalls Steve Penningroth, a biochemist from Princeton University. “What struck me was the commentary. Without it I was lost. Herrymon’s commentary helped me because I had the sense that he was on to something and that he grasped […]

A Great Deep: The Peace Testimony and Historical Realism

By Chuck Fager Walking in the Way of Peace: Quaker Pacifism in the Seventeenth Century. Meredith Baldwin Weddle. Oxford University Pres, 2001 British Quakerism 1860-1920: the Transformation of a Religious Community. Thomas C. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 2001. Re-examing Quaker Peace Testimony In our current circumstances, few tasks are more urgent for Friends than to […]

Quaker Peace Witness After 9/11 – A Resource List

By Chuck Fager Quaker Thoughts on September 11 Terrorism The shocks of 9/11, the September 11 attacks, on and their aftermath have abruptly put the Peace Testimony at or near the top of the priority lists of many Friends and meetings. As this soul-searching continues, here is an admittedly haphazard and highly personal list of […]

War in the Social Order: the Great War and the Liberalization of American Quakerism

Howell John Harris (NOTE: This essay was first published in David Adams and Cornelius van Minnen, eds., Religious and Secular Reform Movements in American History [Edinburgh, 1999], pp. 179-204.  It is reprinted here by permission.) Introduction When, or if, historians think of the American branches of the Religious Society of Friends, of Quakers, we probably […]

Crossroads of Western Quakerism in Africa

Robert Juma Wafula For One to Understand the History of a Place, One Must Know the People Involved The history of the foundation of the Quaker movement in East Africa is straightforward and easy to understand. At least it seems so, basing oneself on face value research. But in reality, with its combination of a […]

Stillness: Surrounding, Sustaining, Strengthening

Ann K. Riggs July 2, 2001 Friends General Conference GatheringBlacksburg, Virginia Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 Introduction — Stillness Materials giving information about the 2001 Gathering and its theme included a memorable quotation from Thomas Kelly and a reflection on the value of stillness: “We hope you will join us […]

“A Catechism and Confession of Faith,”* by Robert Barclay, A Review

Reviewed by Thomas D. Paxson, Jr. Many who come to the Religious Society of Friends are not introduced in any systematic way to the scriptural passages which most spoke to the experience of early Friends, which strengthened them in their faith and helped them keep to the Light. Nor is this surprising, since few texts […]

Ham Sok Hon: “Voice of the People and Pioneer of Religious Pluralism in Twentieth Century Korea;” Biography of a Korean Quaker.*

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Early in the morning of Second Month 4, 1989, Kim Sung Soo learned that Ham Sok Hon had died. “When I looked at him in his coffin,” Kim writes, “I felt it was as if a part of myself had died. Faced with his death my mind began to wander through […]

“Mim and the Klan: A Hoosier Quaker Farm Family’s Story,”* a Review

Reviewed by Chuck Fager Shameful History of Quaker Involvement with the Klan Besides producing an interesting story for young readers, Cynthia Stanley Russell has also done something very important for adults in this debut novel: she has written as a Quaker about the reality of Quaker involvement in the Ku Klux Klan. This is the […]

Editor’s Introduction #4

By Anne K Riggs, Associate Editor In this issue of Quaker Theology we highlight concerns of peace and violence, ecclesiology and theological method, or ways of thinking and talking about theological subjects – about God, about ourselves in relation to God and to one another in a worshiping community, and as people who worship and who live […]

A Report on the North American Launch of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence

By Ann K. Riggs. April 23 to 25, 2001, I was one of those representing Friends at the launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence of the World Council of Churches (2001-2010). We met at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tennessee, a retreat and education center associated with the United Methodist Church. The lovely setting, with […]

Friends’ Ecclesiology and The Quaker-Wide Web

By Chuck Fager Ecclesiology, the nature of the church, is a bubbling issue among American Friends today, at least of the unprogrammed variety. Almost anywhere you care to look, Yearly Meetings are struggling with their structures, worrying about staff or no staff, laying down or propping up committees, taking corporate sabbaticals, and so forth. This […]

What Can The Bible Teach Us About Peacemaking?

(Originally presented at the Quaker Peace Roundtable 2001) By Ron Mock I. Introduction I have been asked to bring to the 2001 Quaker Peace Roundtable a reflection on what the Bible teaches about peacemaking. I accepted the task with some reservations. For one thing, among the peace churches (at least) the subject has gotten a little […]

The Bible & Peacemaking — A Response

By Chuck Fager Are there other ways of looking at the Bible and what it may have to teach us about Peacemaking? In particular, are there other ways to take the Bible seriously, on this topic? Ron Mock invites his readers to develop alternative approaches, and here I’ll attempt to sketch one. Following Ron’s example, […]

A review of “Anabaptist Theology in Face of Postmodernity: A Proposal for the Third Millennium”*

Reviewed by Thomas Finger1 Western systematic, or constructive, theology has developed largely within “mainline” communions– most notably, Reformed, Lutheran and Catholic. Since about 1970, however, a broadly postmodern atmosphere has encouraged explicit theologizing among more particular, often marginalized, groups: blacks, women, Hispanics and many others. And since about 1980, these have been joined by “believers’ […]

“Refiner’s Fire: A Religious Engagement with Violence”* a Review

Reviewed by Jeffrey Gros An African American Womanist Perspective on Violence The African American “Womanist” perspective, developed in this volume, is an important explication from within a culture that has been the recipient of violence. It provides both a critique of society’s violent culture and of those whose advocacy of nonviolence emerges from a dominant […]

A Reflection: This Is a Start

Core Beliefs of Quakers By Dana Kester-McCabe Recently I attended a weekend gathering to study Quaker theology. It was an introduction to the terms and the traditions used in exploring this topic. The event was hosted by Chuck Fager and Ann Riggs. It was intended to inspire more people to explore and discuss what the […]

Editor’s Introduction #3 — Notes on Contributors

By Chuck Fager. We didn’t plan it that way, but this issue is about learning Quaker theology from history, mostly recent history. And some of the best recent historical insights into Quaker theology that I’ve seen have come from outside, from our sister denomination the Unitarian-Universalists. Specifically, through the work of John C. Morgan, a Unitarian minister […]

Excerpts from The Devotional Heart: Pietism and the Renewal of American Unitarian Universalism, by John C. Morgan. Boston: Skinner House Books, 1995.

Copyright © by John C. Morgan.   Reprinted by permission. INTRODUCTION The issue facing Unitarian Universalists entering a new century is that we often lack spiritual focus and depth, at a time when increasing numbers of newcomers to our congregations are demanding both. The decades of “Enlightenment” Unitarianism are ending. We can no longer see […]

Caroline Emelia Stephen (1834-1909) and Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): A Quaker Influence on Modern English Literature

By Alison M. Lewis, Ph.D. Caroline Emelia Stephen has enjoyed a long-standing reputation among Friends as a Quaker theologian. Quaker Strongholds (1891) is considered a “Quaker classic;” one hundred years after its first publication, Friends General Conference book catalog calls it “one of the clearest visions of our faith.” Stephen was also the author of Light Arising: Thoughts […]

Beyond the Age of Amnesia: Charting the Course of 20th Century Liberal Quaker Theology

Here’s some good news: there are signs that American Friends, at least in the largest unprogrammed branch, are beginning to awaken from a long sleep of unawareness of their recent history. I call this period the Age of Amnesia, an unarticulated sense that Quakerism was effectively invented just a few weeks before thee and me […]

Growing Up Plain, Conservative Quakerism

by Wilmer Cooper. Friends United Press/Pendle Hill, 195 pages Reviewed by Chuck Fager Not far from where I live in central Pennsylvania, there is a lovely valley populated heavily by Amish and plain Mennonites. Every Wednesday morning, in the valley’s main town, there is a farmer’s market which serves up a generous slice of true […]

Rufus Jones and the Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry: How a Quaker Helped to Shape Modern Ecumenical Christianity

by Stephen W. Angell. It would be a mistake for historians of twentieth-century religious thought to write about Quaker theology in isolation from other religious ideas, both Christian and non-Christian, which in many ways envelop it. Quaker contributions to the religious world have become a small but inextricable part of a much larger picture, and […]

Editor’s Introduction #2

By Chuck Fager. In good Quaker fashion, we begin with queries: What is theology, and why should Friends be interested in it? Early Friends were often loudly skeptical about theology, which George Fox referred to scornfully as “windy notions.” Their critique had at least five major points: Intellectualizing about religion takes people away from experiencing […]

Reflecting Theologically from the Gathered Meeting: The Nature and Origin of Quaker Theology

By R. Melvin Keiser. To speak of the nature and origin of Quaker theology is to raise the question of how systematic we should be in our theological pursuits as Quakers. As a Quaker theologian and postcritical philosopher I am drawn to systematic theology because I am interested in how intellectual principles structure our thought […]

George Fox Among Christian Mystics

By George H. Tavard. In this paper I will take the words, mystic, and mysticism in the sense they have in the Catholic spiritual tradition. Over the centuries there have been innumerable believers, lay or ordained, who have been given access to the presence of God in them in ways that are unsuspected or at […]

First Thoughts on Sixteenth Century Spanish Mysticism and the First Quakers: Communion with The Light in Early Modernism

By Alvin Joaquín Figueroa. This article is a preliminary draft of a more ambitious project. It is a skeleton and a brainstorming process of some ideas I have been examining for a while. I would like to study the relationship, and points of convergence and divergence, between the religious discourses of Spain’s most important mystic […]

A Review: Among Friends, A Consultation with Friends about the Condition of Quakers in the U.S. Today. An Earlham School of Religion Report. 294 pp., paperback, 1999.

Reviewed by Chuck Fager. There are many true and important statements in this report. One of the truest and most important, however, is regrettably buried on page 244. Let’s begin there, because its content is foundational: “This profile provides information about the Friends who were selected to participate….They cannot be presumed to represent the Religious Society […]

An Exchange: Quaker Theology Without God?

By Edward James. A Response to: “The Making of a Quaker Atheist,” by George Amoss, Jr., in Quaker Theology #1. (Amoss’s comments follow.) Mother Angelica of the Eternal Word TV Network likes to describe those Catholic churches which have abandoned or modified their sacred traditions to be more in tune with the modern world as “electric churches”: […]

Editor’s Introduction, #1

In good Quaker fashion, we begin with queries: What is theology, and why should Friends be interested in it? Early Friends were often loudly skeptical about theology, which George Fox referred to scornfully as “windy notions.” Their critique had at least five major points: Intellectualizing about religion takes people away from experiencing God and the […]

Some Quaker Reflections on the Kosovo War

By Chuck Fager I. A Letter from Lincoln Reflecting on the Kosovo war as a Quaker, a recent joke came to mind: Question: What did one paradigm say to the other paradigm? Answer: Shift happens. What sorts of shifts does Kosovo confront us with? There are at least five that I have noticed and want […]

The Making of a Quaker Atheist

Copyright © George Amoss, Jr., 1999All rights reserved. How did I come to be a Quaker and an atheist? I was raised as neither; my early life was filled with faith in God and a fascination with the Catholic priesthood and “the religious life”–life under vows in an order of friars or monks. It was […]

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) as a Religious Community

Ann K. Riggs At the Fourth World Conference in Faith and Order in Montreal, 1963, the Commission presented the influential text, “Scripture, Tradition and Traditions.”2 This text developed an understanding of Christian Scripture as the creation of “a tradition which goes back to our Lord.” All Christians are “indebted to that tradition inasmuch as we have […]

Puritanism, Spiritualism, and Quakerism:

AN HISTORIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY Melvin B. Endy, Jr. The problems posed by the attempt to define Puritanism have driven some scholars to substituting description for definition and others to the use of the term as an umbrella for the religious experience shared by groups as disparate as mildly dissatisfied Anglicans, on the one band, and the […]