Quakerism 101: A Very Basic Introduction with Suggested Readings

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Earlier this week there was a conversation on Twitter that pointed out two realities that we are seeing a lot within Western (and often more “liberal-Liberal”) Quakerism: a) that Quakerism is viewed primarily in the secular West as non-religious; and b) that even within Quaker meetings there is so little religious education that many do not get anything to help in framing the Quaker tradition differently Quakerism in any way other than a morally-based, secular practice.

As someone said on Twitter today, they always thought of it less as a religion and more of a flavor. This is not an uncommon view among many Quakers. I have witnessed the latter problem within Programmed and Evangelical Quaker meetings as well: the lack of Religious education – as it pertains to understanding and framing the Quaker tradition (history, theology and practice) both as it was understood and how it is made manifest within Quaker meetings today, worldwide.

Therefore, I wanted to offer a short reading list with some basic background to the Quaker tradition here in hopes of helping those who are getting started out and want to know more about the history, beliefs, and practice of the Religious Society of Friends. I hope that this list can be of use in folks’ quest to make their understanding and practice of Quakerism more rich, more full, and more critical. I believe that there is a push to make us lose our robust religious language in favor of a very safe religious language that will not challenge the imperial powers, that will not challenge the ego of self, that will not lay us open before Love or call truth to power. We have much to learn from and grow into. I hope what is offered can help give you but a taste.

Continue reading Quakerism 101: A Very Basic Introduction with Suggested Readings

Boycotting Amazon (And Borders and B&N)

[[Warning Containing Rant]] I’m joining Dan in his Amazon crusade (see here and here), which basically means, I’m not selling books on there (I pulled all my for sale books down today from their site), and I’m not buy books from there (unless maybe there’s the one long lost used Quaker book I absolutely need and cannot find in any library or anywhere else). ((In actuality I have literally under 10 (new) books from Amazon out of my entire library)) I’m not one to be too dogmatic but I do think it’s about time to put my foot down on this. A while back Dan challenged me on my usage of Amazon affiliate links on my blog, a practice I never really felt great about but had my (somewhat justified) reasons for doing so. I make a decent amount of money on my blog every month from book sales and text-link-ads to help defray the cost of my school book budget, so while I pretty much never buy new books from Amazon, I felt that making a little cash off a sale wasn’t a bad deal. But then he showed me that you can do the affiliate links elsewhere (Powell’s) and so I decide to stop link to Amazon books. ((At this point I don’t think I am going to go back through all of my old posts and remove my amazon affiliate links just because that would take a ridiculous amount of time. But all new links will be affiliate links to Powell’s or non-affiliate links elsewhere.))

So that’s part one. Part two is really the point of my boycott. Continue reading Boycotting Amazon (And Borders and B&N)

Interview With Tom Sine and Jarrod McKenna On The New Conspirators

Tom Sine’s recent book, The New Conspirator’s, has been gaining a lot of attention since it was released last month. This week he’s staying with my friend and emerging peace church activist Jarrod McKenna. Tom and his wife are staying in Australia with McKenna at the Peace Tree community, and traveling around Perth doing some speaking engagements. Today, both Jarrod and Tom were interviewed on a local Perth radio station about the book, and some of the connections between Tom’s book and what Jarrod and the Peace Tree community aredoing. You can check out the radio interview over at Rodney Olson’s website

I’m pretty excited about what the Peace Tree is doing, and what Tom is trying to encourage through his four streams of church renewal. The four streams are missional, mosaic, emergent and new monastic. As you all know these have been around for awhile, and so it is not Tom who is guilty of my comments below, as much as all of us (I am as much an insider in this conversation as the rest of us). Yet, I have also had some cautions (or maybe criticisms) of these as categories when it comes to identifying with them as the categories that define our movements.

Continue reading Interview With Tom Sine and Jarrod McKenna On The New Conspirators