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 military. In one review, David Gosling, a new Quaker who was until recently a Captain in the US Army and a veteran of combat duty in Iraq, considers the work of another former soldier, Stan Goff. Goff served in elite units in numerous combat zones, but ultimately turned against the entire US military enterprise. In the works examined here, Goff takes a distinctly Marxist view of what he has come to consider a species of imperialism.

The other review considers the career of another elite soldier, General Jerry Boykin, who sees current US struggles in a distinctly different, explicitly religious and apocalyptic framework.

In a more meditative vein, Robert Pierson explores the fascination one American monk, Thomas Merton, had for a very different kind of monastic order, the Shakers. And for the practical-minded, Douglas Gwyn introduces a pair of new introductions to Quakerism, both by the same author.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that Quaker Theology has now gone audio – at least in part. In issue #14, there was a review of David Boulton’s book, The Trouble with God: Building the Republic of Heaven, by Editor Chuck Fager. This encounter was followed up by a conversation between David and Chuck at the 2008 Gathering of Friends General Conference in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Billed somewhat tongue-in-cheek as a “Theist-Non-Theist Quaker Conversational Smackdown,” the pair considered two theses posed by the editor:

First, “Are Quakers a ‘Chosen People,’?” with Fager arguing that we are.

And second, “Is David Boulton Really a Closet Theist?” again with Fager asserting the affirmative.

The spirit was friendly, the talk was lively, the room was packed, and the conversation lasted for more than an hour.

The main reason we mention this is that now Thou, Dear Reader, can join in and hear the entire event online, at the site of Friends World Media, at this URL: http://www.speakingtruth.org/post/view/568 .

The rapid evolution of modern media is hard to keep up with. Yet now you can not only read and (we hope) enjoy our labors, you can also hear some of them.

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