Editor’s Introduction by Chuck Fager

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 […]

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.

Beyond the Age of Amnesia

Charting the Course of 20th Century Liberal Quaker Theology. I call this recent period of progressive Quaker history the Age of Amnesia, an unarticulated sense that Quakerism was effectively invented just a few weeks before thee and me started attending meeting.

Friends’ Ecclesiology and The Quaker-Wide Web

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 is a very interesting process, and for any individual body, it’s not possible to predict how or when it will reach some conclusion or at least stability.

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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“One Yellow Door: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Faith and Infidelity”* A Review

Reflections by Alice Carlton This memoir tells the heart-wrenching story of a marriage brought through dark days over a decade from 1984 to 1996 due to the husband’s illness with Lewy Body Dementia. What an awful disease. It took him, an Anglican priest, in and out of lucidity with unpredictable fluctuations. It is often confused […]

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. […]

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 […]

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

The Society of Friends cast themselves as a “holy nation” during this period, drawing on the Jewish tradition of Zion to articulate their relationship with God and to govern their interactions with outsiders. This parallel explained their suffering and gave meaning to their persecution. Friends drew inspiration from the ancient Hebrews who remained faithful and […]

Links to NCYM-FUM letters online

Protesting Letters Poplar Ridge Letter: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Poplar-Ridge-Friends-NCYMFUM.pdf Pine Hill: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Pine-Hill-Friends-NCYM-08-3024.pdf Deep Creek: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Deep-Creek-Friends.pdf Hopewell: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Hopewell-Friends-NCYM-082014.pdf Forbush: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Forbush-Friends-082014.pdf Plainfeld: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Plainfeld-Letter-ALL.pdf Bethesda: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Bethesda-Letter.pdf Responses Fancy Gap Withdrawal Letter: https://afriendlyletter.com/files/Fancy-Gap-Quit-Letter.pdf Spring Meeting “Stay Put” Letter: https://afriendlyletter.com/fles/Spring-Letter-Stay.pdf

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 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 […]

Forgiveness over Khmer Rouge: a journey or an obligation? A Beginning of Dialogue

Editor’s Introduction: Forgiveness is a frequent topic of discussion among Friends these days. For American Quakers, most of whom live in relatively comfortable circumstances, the issue is typically posed in personal terms: as a means of coping with lingering grievances, failed relationships, family trauma; in broader social contexts, it might involve experiences of group injustices […]

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 […]

Varieties of Interpretation of Francis Howgill’s Works: Apocalypse, Light and Convincement in Tension

Frederick Martin Francis Howgill was one of the “First Publishers of Truth,” the early Quaker traveling ministers, and a leader of the early Quaker movement in the 1650’s and 1660’s. Not as widely known today, in the beginning of the movement he was an effective preacher, a widely-loved elder, and a prolific author. He is […]

“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 […]

“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, […]

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. […]

“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 […]

“Quakers & Homosexuality Press Statement,” from Friends Church Kenya

Friends Church Kenya-vs-Homosexuals-Text-and-Responses-Quaker-Theology-Number-23In This Section: “Quakers & Homosexuality Press Statement,” from Friends Church Kenya Background & Context: Homosexuality, Law, Religion & Violence In Africa Today, by The Editors Responses to the FCK Statement:Pablo StanfieldCindy PerryRich LiversidgeDoug BennettMary HeathmanGeoffrey Kaiser Epistle to the 2012 World Conference of Friends, held in Kenya, from Friends for Lesbian, Gay, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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; […]

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 […]

“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 […]

My Theology of Peacemaking

By David Zarembka Revenge or Reconciliation? Do you believe that reconciliation is possible between enemies? Is revenge and retaliation a basic human trait that makes true reconciliation remarkably unlikely? Western literature considers the discussion of “revenge” as a serious issue. Homer and the Greek classics are filled with stories of revenge. When driving from Washington, […]

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 […]

Selected Excerpts from, To Be Broken and Tender: A Quaker Theology for Today

“Waiting and Attending” One day in prayer I saw a mound of clay being worked by two hands, one the hand of a child, the other the hand of an adult. Then I saw the infinite faces of Jesus. Some faces were familiar— one, the face in the children’s book of my youth, another the […]

“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 […]

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 […]

Silence in Heaven: The Revelation to John Woolman

We might call theology a conversation between present and past. Theology seeks to address contemporary concerns but does so as part of a historical community. So we look to our communal elders of ages past and to their gathered wisdom as a resource for our own theological work.

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 Interview with David Gosling, Winter 2008

Q. Can you tell us first a bit about your military service and your deployment to Iraq? A. I am an Infantry Captain in the U.S. Army and have been stationed with the 10th Mountain Division of the XVIII Airborne Corps for the past three years. Before that, I spent approximately eight months at Ft. […]

“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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

From Reason to Truth to Mystery: An Odyssey to Orthodoxy

By John W. Oliver Some days ago an off-the-cuff reference to myself as a former Evangelical Friend caused a slight stir. Chuck Fager said, “You must do an article.” Jerry Frost (retiring Director of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College) said, “We must talk.” This is to respond to these kind invitations. At first […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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’ […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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”: […]

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 […]