dear people, i've felt some sort of spiritual kinship with the Quaker way for many years and am now feeling a need to learn more and attend a local meeting of Friends here in Austin, TX. i am not and have never been a Christian but have always had deep spiritual feelings. i have always believed in the equality of all peoples and had passionate feelings for social justice. i marched for all such causes back in the 60s in Chicago and feel as strongly now as i did as a youngster. i have been reading novels and a couple of books involving Quakerism and would love to hear from anyone as to what books i should read first that might help me gain a better understanding. my dress is not often simple, and i have always worn jewelry. could that mean that i do not fit in or maybe would not be welcome? silly questions, perhaps, but i am most surely a novice here! many thanks to anyone who might respond with ideas and/or information! Beth

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Hi Beth,

I saw you posted this and remembered that there was a thread here before where Friends recommended books for a new Friend: http://www.quakerquaker.org/forum/topics/booksadvice-for-a-new-friend. I think there are a lot of good suggestions there. And don't worry about the clothes or the jewelry, Friends wear all sorts of things!

--Ashley
Hi Beth

I like to recommend A Living Faith by Wilmer Cooper and Slence and Witness by Michael Birkel. Both are available through FGC Bookstore: http://www.quakerbooks.org.

Don't worry about clothes and jewelry. I have a thing for earrings and no one has eldered me about it.

Stephanie
thanks so much, Ashley! just what i needed to hear! i shall check out the web site also. again, thanks!

Beth
thanks, Stephanie. i really appreciate your response and will check on the books soon!

Beth
If your jewelry doesn't get between you and God, don't worry. Ditto your unplain dress. Modern Quakers do not look like the Qs of 150 years ago, and few dress that way. (I had an older cousin who did, but he was NOT someone you would like or want to identify with). The most distinctive visual clues I have of other Quakers are the liberal bumper stickers on their cars (which are usually modest and efficient).

I loved Plain and Simple, which was NOT about Quakerism but was a fine fit. It's about a woman from California who is led to live with the Amish. Another book I loved was Living More with Less, by a Mennonite Christian woman.
I love Walter Wink's books. "The powers that be" is a good start, "Jesus and nonviolence" is a superb 100ish-page quick read. The Pendle Hill Pamphlet series are amazing as well, some of them available online.
Madeleine, i so much appreciate your response! your words are very reassuring! i have read Plain and Simple, also A Quaker Summer (by Lisa Samson). both very comforting to me, although i am not of Ms. Samson's same traditional Christian bent. in fact, i have gone on to read 2 more of her novels for the simple reason that they are inspirational and offer an open-minded love of humanity (my personal opinion, anyway). i try not to be biased and to find the "that of God" whenever and wherever possible. i have also read The Friendly Persuasion and Except for Me and Thee twice. Plain Living is still sitting on my nightstand. ?? i read from several inspirational books each morning, including one by Mother Teresa. I shall look for Living More with Less!

i feel i am quite "unsophisticated" in matters of theology and religious tradition, but not in matters of the heart and soul. i am very happy to read what all of you are writing about on this site and very grateful indeed that i found it! so thank you again, Madeleine, and also thanks to Ashley and Stephanie for responding.
Living More with Less is by Doris Jantzen Longacre. She also wrote More-with-Less Cookbook.
Dear Faye, i cannot thank you enough for your missive. it feels absolutely right--i should not read too much but need to stay on the path of finding my own way of practicing it, which is already inside me. you must have a touch of spiritual genius to be so in tune! oh, i know a certain amount of facts about various religions and philosophies and such, but it is only within the past few years that i have actively begun to search my own soul for what feels spiritually right and comfortable for me.

again, thank you!
Beth,

I don't know how I left this one out when I responded earlier. Listening Spirituality: Personal Practices Among Friends and Listening Spirituality:Corporate Spiritual Practice Among Friends, both by Patricia Loring are two of my favorites.

Again, they are available at http://www.quakerbooks.org

Stephanie
thanks, Stephanie. can you give me a brief idea of what the corporate spiritual practices addresses? i find myself working in an oppressive environment in which the majority are ultra-super-mega conservative in their social views. of course i am searching for another spot because i must work. would the book address that sort of issue? i will most certainly look for these books!
thank you, Faye. i shall remember your words.

as for plain language, does one either use it or not, or use it occasionally? i am curious about this.

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