Hi, I'm a very new and slightly overwhelmed Quaker! I would greatly appreciate anyone sharing good books for a newbie. I have read "Plain Living a Quaker Path To Simplicity" by Catherine Whitmore and am now reading "Encounter With Silence" by John Punshon. I would like to read more on Quaker lifestyle and simplicity. I'm far from educated, so I need something easy to follow. Thank you Friends for your time. Blessings and peace, Tina

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Replies to This Discussion

Welcome, Tina.

There's a wide variety of books on Quakerism. I happen to like the book Silence and Witness by Michael Birkel. It's written for a non-Quaker, general audience so you don't need a great deal of background.

If you want a longer list or something more specific, let me know. You can contact me on my page at QuakerQuaker.

Stephanie Stuckwisch

Hi Tina

If you want to read about Quaker decision making, I'd recommend:  Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decision Making In The Religious Society Of Friends by Michael Sheeran 

Love light and peace

debra

Hi!

 

I also started with Encounter With Silence and Silence and Witness.  Two more that I read early on:

 

The Quiet Rebels by Margaret Hope Bacon

Quakers in America by Thomas D. Hamm

 

Hope that helps!

 

James

Tina,

There are all kinds of good books and you are likely to be inundated with lists of people's favorites.  I think the one you are reading, Encounter with Silence, is really a great one on Quaker spirituality.  Another recent book that is written for newcomers is Letters to a Fellow Seeker by Steve Chase.  (Full disclosure -- I work for the organization that published this book, so you may need to take my recommendation with a grain of salt, but I really do think it's good.)  It is personal, friendly, easy to read, focuses on the present rather than the past, and is only 98 pages long!  All of these books are available at the QuakerBooks online bookstore.  Peace to you, Chel

Thank you Friends so much for your help. James, I thought that was pretty cool that with all the books out there, we started with the same two. I'm excited to check out the two books you mentioned!

Friends, please continue to leave your favorites. Also, I was wondering if there were any books that explain how to speak like the Quakers? I'm not sure if I worded that correctly, please forgive me if I didn't.

Blessings and peace, Tina

Tina - I hear a thirsting and yearning for the life-changing experience that Quaker testimonies represent. I also, on coming to Quakerism years ago wanted to immerse myself in what appeared to me to be a holy path to God. I did not find that years ago, but have now. I strongly recommend a booklet by Isabel Penraeth called "Amity for the Troubled Spirit". It is only available for download on her website QuakerJane.com. Here is the link to the page where thee can find the pdf:

http://www.quakerjane.com/spirit.friends/spiritual_mentor-.html

She also has lots of information on the plain speech that thee asked about, lots on the history of plain dress, and many resources for seeking Friends. But I especially was reached, or should I say smitten, but the booklet "Amity", which literally changed my life. I have recommended this to several others who have been similarly affected.

I encourage thee to seek beyond the testimonies of plainness, simplicity etc. to the Source of those testimonies, and do not be discouraged, as I was years ago.All these books are interesting and helpful but in reality the Light of Christ is the only teacher thee needs to direct thee.

Blessings and love,
Barb

I am also interested in a deeper understanding of the Quaker faith.  These suggestions are very helpful! Thank you, all.

Hello Tina,

You've been given some wonderful suggestions.  I just finished reading Michael Birkel's __Slience and Witness__ and just loved it.  It's an easy read, covers a lot of history as well as Friend's traditions and practices, but most importantly represents the heart or spark of the experience of what it means to be a Quaker.  

If you're interested in Friends from an historical/practice point of view, you might like Howard Brinton's __Friends for 350 Years__, which in an earlier edition 40 years ago introduced me to Quakerism.  A more recent book a bit more slanted to Quaker Theology is Pink Dandelion's __Introduction to Quakerism__.  

Lastly, it is good to go back to the source and read around in the writings of the early and later Friends.  A good place to start is with the Quaker Reader by Jessamyn West. 

Have fun--it's a lovely and rich tradition and underneath the various forms the Quaker  spark is alive and well in the Light.

Kindly,

John

Hi Tina,

All of the books already mentioned are excellent.  If you want a fictional story that immerses you in a fun way into the history of Quakers, I recommend The Peaceable Kingdom by Jan de Hartog. It will also immerse you into the plain speech.  It was a best seller novel decades ago.  I've known of people who became a Quaker after reading it.  Most meeting libraries have copies.  I don't think it is in print any more, so new copies on Amazon are very expensive (over $100).  Used ones are much much cheaper. 

If your meeting does not have a library with most of the books mentioned in these replies, I suggest going to the nearest meeting to you that has a library.  I know that my meeting allows Friends to check out books for long periods of time (months and months, even years).  So I think most meetings are like that with their libraries.  You could call (or email) ahead explaining your need, and inquire if you could check out books even if you don't live nearby.  If they are agreeable, then it would likely be worth it to drive a bit.  No sense in you having to buy these books, when the meeting library is very happy to loan them to you.

I happen to know that QuakerBooks of FGC (www.quakerbooks.org) has a second hand copy of the Peaceable Kingdom for sale, and I'm sure their price is reasonable.  You can call their 800 number if you don't find it on their webpage.

I should add that book is very controversial among Friends.  I loved it when it came out, and it probably had a part in my path to becoming a Quaker, but never forget for a minute that it is fiction.  I think it does a great job of capturing the spirit of modern Quakerism and telling a story about 17th century people *as if* they were modern, liberal Quakers.  But its depiction not only of events, but of what early Quakers were really like is story, not information.

Howard, Thank you very much for the great information! This sounds like a very interesting read on the Quakers and I'm going to look into tracking it down. I agree, taking a little road trip is worth it to save that kind of money! Blessings and peace, Tina

Howard Brod said:

Hi Tina,

All of the books already mentioned are excellent.  If you want a fictional story that immerses you in a fun way into the history of Quakers, I recommend The Peaceable Kingdom by Jan de Hartog. It will also immerse you into the plain speech.  It was a best seller novel decades ago.  I've known of people who became a Quaker after reading it.  Most meeting libraries have copies.  I don't think it is in print any more, so new copies on Amazon are very expensive (over $100).  Used ones are much much cheaper. 

If your meeting does not have a library with most of the books mentioned in these replies, I suggest going to the nearest meeting to you that has a library.  I know that my meeting allows Friends to check out books for long periods of time (months and months, even years).  So I think most meetings are like that with their libraries.  You could call (or email) ahead explaining your need, and inquire if you could check out books even if you don't live nearby.  If they are agreeable, then it would likely be worth it to drive a bit.  No sense in you having to buy these books, when the meeting library is very happy to loan them to you.

Chel, Oh, thank you! how wonderful, I will head over their right now. And yes, I will make sure to always keep in mind I'm reading fiction. Blessings and peace, Tina

Chel Avery said:

I happen to know that QuakerBooks of FGC (www.quakerbooks.org) has a second hand copy of the Peaceable Kingdom for sale, and I'm sure their price is reasonable.  You can call their 800 number if you don't find it on their webpage.

I should add that book is very controversial among Friends.  I loved it when it came out, and it probably had a part in my path to becoming a Quaker, but never forget for a minute that it is fiction.  I think it does a great job of capturing the spirit of modern Quakerism and telling a story about 17th century people *as if* they were modern, liberal Quakers.  But its depiction not only of events, but of what early Quakers were really like is story, not information.

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