Quaker essayist, blogger, and theologian
I’ve been an active Quaker (member of the Religious Society of Friends) for more than thirty-five years. I have written a great deal on Quaker themes as both an essayist and blogger.
Through the Flaming Sword: Exploring Quaker Spirituality, Faith & Practice.
Through the Flaming Sword is a venue for conversation about the faith and practice, the history and future of the Religious Society of Friends, popularly known as Quakers.
The Gathered Meeting (Pendle Hill Pamphlet #444)
A Quaker meeting for worship is “gathered” when some or all of the worshippers have a palpable sense of the Spirit moving in their midst, uniting them in joy. This is Quaker communion. The pamphlet describes the gathered meeting, shares my own transformative experience of the gathered meeting, explores its essential elements and why it’s essential to the Quaker way, and offers suggestions for how to foster more covered meetings in our gatherings.
Read a review by Marty Grundy published November 1, 2017, in Friends Journal.
What Can We Say?: The Essentials of Quaker Faith, Practice, and Experience. An answer to the question, What do Quakers believe? This book is currently under development with Inner Light Books. Visit one of my blog posts, Six Essentials of the Quaker Way, to read a very short “elevator speech” version of the book’s central ideas.
Quakers and Capitalism. After the style of unbelievably long early Quaker pamphlet titles, this book’s subtitle is: Being a Reflective History of Quaker Contributions to Capitalist Culture, Capitalism’s Impact on Quaker Culture, and Quaker Responses to Poverty and Related Social Issues through the Twentieth Century, and Some Proposals for a Living Testimony on Economic Justice. This book is under development, with most of the research from the seventeenth into the twentieth century completed. I still have to fill some holes in the “finished” research, and to write some of the “testimony” material. Barclay Books is interested in publishing Quakers and Capitalism, but we have not yet conferred about its development. A short version of the research to date was published by Friends Association for Higher Education; see the item directly below. The original presentation of some of this material also appears here on my blog.
- “Quakers and Capitalism: A History of Paradoxes”, Quakers, Politics, and Economics, Volume 5 in the Friends Association for Higher Education series Quakers and the Disciplines; 2018.
- A history of Quaker contributions to industrial capitalism, of Quaker fortunes since the 16th century, and commentary on their paradoxes.
- Available on Amazon
- “Quakers and Capitalism”. An article on the same material as the FAHE essay and book-in-progress appeared in the July 2006 issue of Friends Journal a special issue on Friends and Money.
- “Fifty years of Right Sharing: A Brief History of the Right Sharing of World Resources Program”, Quakers, Politics, and Economics, Volume 5 in the Friends Association for Higher Education series Quakers and the Disciplines; 2018.
- Right Sharing of World Resources is “an independent Quaker not-for-profit organization sharing the abundance of God’s love by working for equity through partnerships around the world” since 1967.
- Available on Amazon
- Toward a Quaker Metaphysics—a work in progress.
- This essay explores possible answers to the question: What’s going on in the gathered meeting (and more generally, in other kinds of mystical experience)? I analyze my own mystical experiences, including those of the gathered meeting, using explanatory tools and ideas I’ve picked up from the various spiritual traditions I’ve studied and practiced.
- Toward a Liberal Quaker Christology/Christophany.
- This essay began as a chapter in the Metaphysics essay, but has taken on a life of its own and may be developed and published separately. I’ll know when I’m done. Traditionally, Friends have said of the gathered meeting that we are gathered in Christ. Thus any exploration of the metaphysical dynamics of the gathered meeting must include a “Christology,” an understanding of who and what Christ was and is, and a Christophany, an understanding of how the Christ manifests among us. Citing Matthew 18:20, Friends have turned to this promise: “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” In this essay, I try to connect this ancient testimony of Friends to our contemporary experience of the gathered meeting, which often does not have any sense of Christ’s presence. So I’m reaching for a new Christology and a new Christophany, one that accounts for the mostly non-Christian experience among many Friends meetings today, but which still connects in a meaningful way to our Christian tradition. This effort draws from my personal experience, the experience of contemporary Christian Friends, early Quaker accounts of the gathered meeting, the account of the Pentecost in Acts, which was the first “gathered meeting” in the Christian tradition, the accounts of Jesus’ disciples’ experience of the risen Christ in the gospels, and the accounts of Jesus’ own experience of the Spirit, as recounted in the gospels.
- Learning to Follow. An article on Quaker leadership published by Friends Journal, June 2023.
Becoming a Friend to the Creation: Earthcare Leaven for Friends and Friends’ Meetings. The following essays appear in the book of this title, published by Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, 1994, Lisa Lofland Gould, editor.
“On ‘That of God in all Creation'”. This essay discusses the expansion of a belief common among some Friends that there is “that of God in everyone,” a phrase borrowed from a letter written by our founder George Fox. Some modern Friends understand “that of God” as a “divine spark,” some aspect of the divine inherent in the human. The phrase featured in the title of the essay expands this idea to include, not just humans, but all of creation. The essay explores the pros and cons of such an idea as a guide to Quaker earthcare witness.
“The Pigeon and the Seed”. “The Pigeon and the Seed” is “A Parable of Ecological Ministry” that asks, What could have happened if a 19th century Friend had realized that we should ask God’s permission, as stewards of God’s creation and creatures, before we hunted passenger pigeons into extinction?
“Christian Earth Stewardship”. This essay summarizes research done for an as-yet-unfinished book on Christian earth stewardship theology. The essay and the book distill the work of Christian earth stewardship theologians into ten basic principles and offers some observations about this theology and a critique. It includes an exhaustive list of relevant Bible passages and a short annotated bibliography of books on the Bible and the land of Israel.