It's been a busy week: eighteen featured articles from across the web! Where else can you get this quality and diversity of fresh Quaker writing?

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Johan looks at two sides of the Quaker coin through Testament of Devotion and the new Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship
It's interesting to re-read A Testament of Devotion, with its lyrical exhortations to spiritual fellowship and self-abandonment to God, immediately after finishing Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice, by Donna McDaniel and Vanessa Julye. Each book serves as a reality check on the other. If Kelly is correct about the egalitarian corollary of life in the Blessed Community, then the Quakerdom described by McDaniel and Julye never really met this…

Hystery of Plainly Pagan muses about the Quaker mask she and others wear
Maybe we are all wearing masks. I cannot be the only one who removes it in the deepening silence when I think that no one is watching. Why else would Quakers tremble and weep in meeting as I know they sometimes do? I watch the light pass over their faces and I feel the energy whirl in the heavy places between their words. They must also be "touched." Is that not the point?

Jeanne explains another "rule" about Quakers and social class
If we're even unintentionally turning away a whole class of people because they're not like us, I believe we're acting directly against what God would have us do not just for our meetings ("diversity" and all) but for each lost soul searching for a spiritual home who might find one with us.

LizOpp's wonders if she's one of the few Quakers who seem to like clerking and offers tips
These are not gifts that I came to Quakers with. No: these are gifts that, with God's love and with the piercing and firm eldership of the wider world of Friends for over more than 15 years, I have grown into. Here are a few specific reflections about my experience, both as clerk of the committee as well as being a participant of it.

Eileen Flanagan: Gender and Spiritual Writing
A man who has written about and read spiritual books for decades... mentioned at the end of our hour-long conversation that most of the readers of his site and of spiritual books in general are women, yet most of the writers of such books are men. He was happy to help promote a female spiritual writer, pointing out a passage in my book about paying attention to our bodies and our dreams that he thought was a distinctly woman's voice, though he immediately acknowledged men who have written about those…

Wess: Jesus and the New Family, pt 2
In Jesus' command to "hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters," there is an utterance that breathes into existence a new family, one that is not bound by blood, protection, patriarchalism, or possessions, but one that is completely voluntary, rooted in practices of the kingdom of God like hospitality and generosity, and marked by love for enemies. This is truly a love without measure.

Good Raised Up Liz reflects on book reading at FGC Gathering
I decided not to read anything from the book directly, though I spoke about topics that were in the introduction and where the idea for the Quaker blog reader came from. Then I opened it up for questions, and at times I turned to my fellow bloggers to respond.... In some ways, it felt like an online conversation, with Friends chipping in to speak to pieces I had overlooked, or to expand on something that had caught the attention of someone else.

One Quaker Timothy: Progress and the journey within the individual
While I don't know that "the world" or "history" is headed in a certain direction (how could I possibly know that?) I do know that my spiritual condition--my relationship with Christ and the ramifications of that for me and others--is developing in a predictable direction. That same process, heading in the same direction, is described by Friends (and others) historically and contemporaneously.

Laurie K proclaims a "Grand Re-Opening" of her blog
A sudden burst of creative enthusiam has led me to start up this blog once again! This blog was originally intended to focus on Quaker matters and my emerging joy, questions, and current discussions concerning these matters. I now feel a sort of leading to move back in that direction, and I hope you will join me in these topics.

Practical Mystic Beth: Let Your Light Shine
The Quaker meeting I attend, there is a children's meeting and parents take turns to staff the meeting. It is one of the main reasons I think I started to go back to meeting – was the chance to pass along this tradition to my own son.

"The Journal of Elias Hicks," new from Inner Light Books
For 175 years, the prevailing image of Elias Hicks has been a false one. His opponents in the Religious Society of Friends have successfully misrepresented him as denying Christ and the scriptures. In his last year of life, Hicks reluctantly penned a reply to these charges, recounting in his journal how God had ordered his life. But the published Journal was edited into a bland portrayal of one of the most dynamic figures in Quaker history. Paul Buckley has meticulously compiled a new edition of The Journal…

Under the Overturned Lute: While others pray…
I count. ...Because I know that folks with no experience of silent worship can come to God's presence in it.

Sheffield Gordon: Spiritual journeying to where?
I have now more or less abandoned the metaphor of 'Journey' for talking about my spirituality and experiences. This is because I find that the metaphor is not only no longer useful, but detrimental. It encourages linear thinking and the idea of some sort of progress to some goal - the end of the journey. This in turns leads to an over emphasis on self at the expense of community and belonging. It feels to me that a better metaphor is being rooted in community, and feeling those roots get deeper and…

Shawna writes I'm Coming Out of the Closet
and applying for a clearness committee in Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative).

"Prepare for God's arrival"
'I have perceived God working in our Meeting, these past few years. I was recently reminded of how miserable I was about not having local Friends I could relate to when I went to the World Gathering of Young Friends in 2005. I have been working and praying, and I see change happening.' Post ends with a crucial question.

Raised Anna on The Role of Reclaiming in the Coming of the Blessed Community
Reclaiming is particularly important for Quakers, especially Liberal Friends because as Liberal Friends we have grown very used to throwing things away. We have gotten rid of beliefs, Church structures, theology and traditions. Yet as Christians and as Friends what we should be doing is reclaiming.

mil gracias: Andean Travelogue
Nancy Thomas: 'We're encouraging Andean Friends to remember and write down the stories that give insight into their faith and life, both on the personal and communal levels.'


Michael: "Quaker Fasting: Simplicity in Food"
Benjamin Lloyd opened a group for "Quaker Quest"
Forest Curo: The Scriptures are the Lampshade of God
Madeleine Cadbury Brown: Dipping My Toes in the Pools of Spirituality


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