Editor’s Introduction, #25

This 25th issue of Quaker Theology marks our 15th anniversary. It ranges widely: not only geographically, from Cambodia to Cuba, from England to southeastern North Carolina, but also across religious and ideological frontiers, taking in Buddhism, Christianity both Quaker (Liberal and Evangelical) and Catholic, plus two distinct varieties of communism.

The topics addressed cover inter-religious dialogue; peace work in both Quaker and interfaith settings; forgiveness and karma. Across history it touches on the treatment of a heroic but nearly-forgotten early Friend; the origins of Quaker  antislavery work; a noisy band of radical nineteenth-century Friends. We think there is plenty of substance in these pages.

It also includes reviews of six books. Since three of the titles were the work of the Editor, the editing (and part of the reviewing) of these was handled by Associate Editor Stephen Angell.

As we go to press, nearing the end of a turbulent summer, numerous current books and articles are marking the centennial of the beginning of the First World War. Many disturbing echoes are heard in these recollections. At the same time, new wars are raging, and old ones seem to be rekindling. The “Throwback” theme in our culture is widespread; our prayer is that it will not come to include a return to the brutal insanities which marked the first decade of this century.

One of the reviews here was submitted by a non-Friend, John Kiriakou. He is a former CIA analyst, who is currently serving a prison sentence for making public some details of the Agency’s torture program which was part of the “War on Terror.” He sits in jail, while all the torture program architects and operators walk free. As the nation seems to tremble on the edge of a new “war on terror”, we are honored to be able to give even this small measuure of recognition to one who resisted that madness, a disorder that seems to be coming to the fore again.

— Chuck Fager

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