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Some Resources for a Quaker Study Group

Published: July 4, 2019

This post is in response to Vona Van Cleef’s request for Quaker Studies resources. Over the past few years, Durango Friends have enjoyed good energy around our Quaker Studies sessions (people show up, are curious and willing to wrestle intellectually and spiritually with some challenging material). We devote one “second hour” per month to Quaker Studies. We generally start our “second hour programming” in October and continue through May.

Last year we read two books: Silence and Witness: The Quaker Tradition by Michael Birkel and Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey by Marcelle Martin.  

Birkel’s book belongs to a series on Christian spirituality, so it’s kind of a primer - but also one with great spiritual and scholarly depth. Martin’s book is organized by themes relating to Quaker spirituality (longing, seeking, turning within, openings, leadings, the refiners fire). She then illustrates these themes by allowing Friends both past and present to speak from their experience. She also invites the reader to reflect on her own experience. The book is a very helpful way to look at the Quaker tradition as a particular conversation with deep roots. Both books provide questions for reflection or discussion.

This year, we read Apocalypse of the Word: The Life and Message of George Fox by Doug Gwyn. This is a serious book. I personally found it to be an incredibly helpful book for understanding the historical context of Early Friends and the unique, particular and prophetic message of George Fox. In many ways it is an answer and corrective to Hugh Barbour’s classic, The Quakers in Puritan England.

M&O have not yet decided upon a book for next year but I’m really excited about A Language for the Inward Landscape by Brian Drayton and William Taber. The book is a very successful attempt to help contemporary Friends access the experiential language of earlier Friends. This access helps us to better understand the wisdom, spiritual depth and power of Friends from earlier times (not just Early Friends but throughout our 350 year history). I’m happy to chat with anybody who would like more information. Travis Etling, Co-Clerk Durango Friends Meeting.  [email protected]


from Travis Etling, Durango Friends Meeting (5/24/2019)