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

My early songwriting tended to be more jokey and satirical than more recent efforts. But from the beginning in 1977 to the present, I have worked with irony and paradox, humorous or not, to explore my experience of grace and my understanding of God as someone who subverts and overturns my human categories for the better. I was drawn by the irony and paradoxes in Jesus’ parables of the kingdom.

Theology & Peace Witness by Chuck Fager

A Letter to the Next Director of Quaker House, Fayetteville-Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Here’s the job description in a nutshell: as the Director of Quaker House (QH), besides managing a small non-profit, the essence of the work a call to continue a protracted, hand-to-hand combat with the Spirit of War, operating behind the lines of one of its main strongholds, far from most Quaker bastions, and largely on your own.

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

“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” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

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 is a 1989 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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, […]

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:                                 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

“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. […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

“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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]