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 shifts the focus to what may well be a more important term of Fox’s, the “condition” to which Christ Jesus was to speak. His treatment of the concept is provocative and groundbreaking, and we hope it may evoke some interesting responses as well.
Dianne Guenin-Lelle looks at another historically important text, the book, A Guide to True Peace. This diminutive, oft-reprinted tome is a striking example of what has been called the “Quaker-Catholic Connection.” Guenin-Lelle illuminates the Catholic side of its origins, as well as the Continental version of what we call “Quietism,” and its connection to Quaker spirituality.
Anthony Manousos brings light also, but to a Friend who was not previously widely known. His vivid and affecting account of the life and work of Herrymon Maurer introduces us to a Friend who deserves closer scrutiny and discussion among Friends, particularly those with interest in Eastern religions.
My own contribution here is meant to support Friends’ current effort to revive and renew our Peace Testimony in the face of war. To this end, it examines two books published within the past year, which offer very careful and revealing looks at the course of dilemmas of Quaker pacifism in two important earlier situations: colonial Rhode Island in 1675, and Great Britain in the Boer War and First World War.
While history does not repeat itself, we can still learn much from past Quaker struggles over peace and war that can be useful as we work on peace witness for our time. And the two books examined in this review can be of enormous help in this very important process.