This is a compact, but packed issue: it opens with a new dispatch by Associate Editor Stephen Angell on the ongoing saga of approaching division in Indiana Yearly Meeting. This is our third update on the situation, and there has been plenty of action and discussion since our previous effort. And while there is plenty of discussion of some of the issues on the Indiana Yearly Meeting Facebook discussion page, these accounts are the only detailed independent overviews of the situation that we are aware of.
Steve Angell’s report is followed by a very different one from an Earlham colleage, Michael Birkel. Birkel has translated from the Latin a major essay from 1675 by Quaker theologian Robert Barclay, which preceded his major work, The Apology. Latin was the major European language for earned theological disputation in his time, and when braclay set out to refute a major attack by a Dutch theologian on early Quakerism, latin was his tongue of choice.
We’ll call Barclay’s essay “Observations” for short, because like many publications of that day, its actual title is quite long and verbose. In it he lays out in a briefer form the essence of The Apology, which was taking shape at the same time; and this “new” piece sheds light on his magnum opus.
Finally, the review section of this issue is entirely devoted to one work and its author. The reviewer believes he has found a unique and important new resource for naming and challenging the religious forces that are a central pillar of American militarism. And even more striking, it comes from a corner of the theological landscape completely foreign (and unknown) to the religous liberals who should have been all over this issue, but really haven’t been. Check it out, It’s not like anything you ever saw before on peace issues – unless you have seen it, which would put you way ahead of your Editor, but which seems unlikely in this case.
One last point. With this issue, Quaker Theology is on the cusp of our thirteenth year of publication. As those feral theologians, the Grateful Dead used to say, what a long strange trip it’s been. If we’d managed to stay on schedule, this would be issue #25; but life in the 21st century has not been kind to such aspirations of regularity. For our print subscribers, your subscriptions run according to the number of issues rather than calendar years, so you’ll get as many as you signed up for; it just may take a bit longer.
On the other hand, if you or your Meeting or library doesn’t have a print subscription, I invite you to order one. Instructions are at the end of this issue. The Quaker scene is varied and lively, and Quaker Theology brings you reports and perspectives on that aren’t found anywhere else.
– Chuck Fager, Editor