I'm interested in hearing what Quaker books you're reading and really enjoying right now and why?

Three I've recently ploughed through and have loved:
a) Catholic Quakerism - Benson
b) George Fox - Thomas Hodgkin
c) Through Flaming Sword - Arthur Roberts

I'm really impressed with all three of these books for different reasons. The Hodgkin book is particularly well written and insightful, I've never read any of his stuff before. Steve Angell told me about him this summer and suggested I check him out. I'm glad I have.

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I don't have enough commuting time in my life these days to read as much as I'd like.

a) Carole Dale Spencer's "Holiness: the Soul of Quakerism" (slowed down @ p. 73, hopefully will pick back up)
b) Seth B Hinshaw's great "The Spoken Ministry Among Friends" picked up again. Like most good book's it's about more than it's title suggests.
c) Robert's "Through Flaming Sword" has come in the mail and want to give it at least a thorough skim.

After that I have three bookshelves full of great Quaker books and I always need to get into a better Bible habit. Blog reading is great but too much of it keeps me from keeping the eyes on the prize.
Martin Kelley said:
I don't have enough commuting time in my life these days to read as much as I'd like.

a) Carole Dale Spencer's "Holiness: the Soul of Quakerism" (slowed down @ p. 73, hopefully will pick back up)
b) Seth B Hinshaw's great "The Spoken Ministry Among Friends" picked up again. Like most good book's it's about more than it's title suggests.
c) Robert's "Through Flaming Sword" has come in the mail and want to give it at least a thorough skim.

After that I have three bookshelves full of great Quaker books and I always need to get into a better Bible habit. Blog reading is great but too much of it keeps me from keeping the eyes on the prize.

Oh glad you're reading Spencer's book - I read it earlier this quarter, she's really done her homework! I too need to get into a better Bible reading habit, I'm slowly picking it up more. It's funny but Seminary kind of fried me on daily reading, it felt too much like doing homework.
Alan Paxton said:
isn’t it precisely the Cross that has disappeared from modern liberal Quakerism, and the secular liberal world that it embraces? Christ crucified is foolishness to liberal moderns just as it was to the Greeks of Apostle Paul’s day.
Why the gratuitous swipe at Liberal Meetings, some of which may even fit the description, but many of which do not? It seems a long jump from the problems of children too immature to see that rules should have reasons to blaming "liberal" ideas for a failure to see the value of the incarnation. Boundaries do not in themselves produce the "warmth" that seems to have been missing from the characters lives, and inclusiveness does not in itself denigrate Jesus' life and ministry.
In His Love,
Nate Swift
Ah, yes. My point then would have to be that we need to be careful with our phrasing. It does not help communications to lump somewhat disparate groups together under one heading. Yes indeed there are threads and tendencies within "liberal Quakerism" that match your obserrvation. The last entry on the QQ list by Sheffield Quakers is a good read on the topic and a response. Here in the US there is a wider variety by far than you indicate, actually ranging from "fundamentalist" groups to the kind of Meeting in which Christian witness is actively discouraged (much to my dismay). It is also very interesting to me to see that people who come into Quakerism in "pluralist" Meetings may transform from a "Christophobic" perception to a real appreciation of the life and ministry of Jesus when it is not accompanied by all the exclusion and anathema that has been so much a part of traditional Christianity. To answer your question, by far the greatest number of Meetings and of Quakers is "Evangelical," though the local "brand" is more open than most.
I would agree with your assessment on parenting. How and when to make the transformation from rules to understanding is one of them conundrums. Clearly the parents in the novel missed fire somehow.

In His Love,
Nate Swift
I've been rereading Haven Kimmel's novels. Most recently have reread "The Used World." Also a big fan of "The Solace of Leaving Early."
Martin got me on to "Portraiture of Quakerism" by Clarkson. Its a view of Quakers c. 1805 by a sympatico outsider. Fascinating and closely reasoned look at the whys and wherefores of Quaker thought, faith and practice of the time. It gave me a deeper respect and appreciation for this path and has prompted some soul-searching about my own modus vivendi. Also enjoyed Seekers Found by Douglas Gwyn, on the origins of the Quaker movement with lots of context about the religious ferment in England at the time.
I'm in the midst of
>>John Woolman by Edwin H. Cady,
and have been dipping back into
>>Friends for 300 Years by Brinton
(I am really thoughtfully challenged by his reflection on Friends in chapter 10 which starts with this:
"The best type of religion is one in which the mystical, the evangelical, the rational and the social are so related that each exercises a restraint on the others..."
And I would add --exercises an expansive creativity by the Spirit of God on the others.

Anyone know of where I can get full length biographies of Elias Hicks and of Joel Bean?
I've checked Quaker Books but they only refer to a short summary book on Hicks not
how to get a copy of the full biography.
Current favourites of mine are:

a) Truth of the Heart: an Anthology of George Fox by Rex Ambler
contains a translation into modern English, a glossary and a concluding essay 'Making sense of Fox'.

b) An Introduction to Quakerism by Pink Dandelion; a history of the theology of friends with an overview of present day practice across the globe.

c) Listening Spirituality: Vol. 1 Personal Spiritual Practices Among Friends by Patricia Loring

Quakers in fiction
"No Shame, No Fear" by Ann Turnbull and the slightly weaker follow-up "Forged in the Fire"
Both highly recommended page-turners.
I'm making a book list from this, so thanks for sharing. Hopefully most of these will be easy to find; there doesn't seem to be a very large Quaker presence in Australia. I've found my nearest meeting house, but I want to do more reading and research etc before I go bothering them.
I am reading Arthur Roberts' book at the moment and find it very helpful. The first half summary of the Journal narrative would be of value to anyone new to Fox. The second half which deals with Holiness and a number of other religious/theological themes contains valuable material and is of more interesting to me. If I have a gripe it would be Roberts' uncritical approach to the man Fox. He is far too 'understanding' of Fox's position on slavery (which Fox failed to condemn as such). In relation to the 'Nayler incident' he is critical of Nayler but fails to mention Fox's questionable conduct throughout (e.g. Fox was only prepared to forgive Nayler once he had bowed down before him and kissed his hands and feet). I guess some would argue that Robert's take on Fox reflects the 'respectable' version promoted by Friends after his death following a process involving both censorship and the alteration of Fox's works and epistles. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to read this work in its updated form. I understand that Robert's has been particularly influenced recently by Spencer's work on Holiness, which I would agree with others makes a significant and important new contribution to Quaker studies.
I would add to the list Irene Lape's Leadings:A Catholic's Journey Through Quakerism.

Although Irene Lape has "moved on" from Quakerism and critiques some Quaker positions, her narrative of what Quakerism gave her is first rate, and shows a far deeper appreciation of our tradition than many official apologias by people who are still Friends. Also, I think it would serve us well to understand why in the end our Society didn't fill the spiritual need that she felt.

I enthusiastically second the choice of Lewis Benson's Catholic Quakerism. It stand up very well, in my opinion.

I'm also reading Arthur Roberts' book (Through Flaming Sword) and so far am not as impressed as other commenters. Perhaps I haven't given it a good enough chance yet. I noticed that he speaks of Fox "winning souls for Christ". That might be one way of describing Fox's impact on seekers, but it doesn't sound quite right to me. I need to read more carefully to see how Friend Roberts is using the phrase. At first blush, it seems to me that the convincements Fox catalyzed were something a little different than what modern evangelicals would mean by "winning souls for Christ".

There seems to be some buzz in my Meeting about the new book about John Woolman. I thnk it's called "The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman" and is by Thomas P. Slaughter. I haven't read it yet, but those I know who have find it to be wonderful.
Cat Chapin-Bishop said: I would _love_ to find a good biography of Nayler, but this really didn't feel like I could rely on it, alas. (And if anyone knows of one, I'd be grateful!)

Hi Cat! Clearly some aspects of Fox are very unloveable but then he was a prophet and prophets are usually a bit gritty and upset things. In terms of a Nayler biography, I would recommend The Sorrows of the Quaker Jesus: James Nayler and the Puritan Crackdown on the Free Spirit, by Leo Damrosch. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1996 and James Nayler, 1618-1660: The Quaker Indicted by Parliament by William G. Bittle (the latter mainly for the detailed treatment of the trial by Parliament).

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