For Friendly Summer Reading: Two New Books —
Quaker Stories & Friendly FAQs
So you know I’ve been interested in Quakers and Quakerism for decades.
I began exploring this interest by writing stories about Friends in 1977.
Beginning in 1989, I was asked to read my Quaker and other stories to campers and adults at Friends Music Camp, at the Olney Friends School in Ohio, where Friend Peg Champney was the founding Director. I’ve been invited back to read more of these stories every summer since.
Now I’ve collected nineteen of these stories in a new book, “Posies for Peg.”
These stories are suitable for readers from middle school to adult. They’re drawn from events, real and imagined, from the 1700s to today.
They take readers on vivid, often suspenseful journeys to a bakery in wartime Yorkshire, a romantic island off Old New England, a federal prison in Pennsylvania, CIA headquarters in Virginia, a city bus in San Francisco; and many more.
They tell of love, war, slavery and freedom, devotion and division, even of a man with an extra hand.
Many characters who cross these pages are also imaginary, yet some familiar names appear also: John Woolman, Lucretia Mott, Elias Hicks – as well as Beethoven, Sherlock Holmes, and Pirates – the Pittsburgh Pirates.
What are Beethoven, Sherlock and Pirates doing in a book of Quaker stories?
There’s only one way to find out, Friend.
Sit down, relax, and turn the page . . . .
The book is available at CreateSpace or on Amazon.
My granddaughter came to me awhile back, to say that some schoolmates had been asking her about what Quakers believe, and how our beliefs differ from other Christian churches — but she didn’t know how to answer them. One of these churches, which I call the New covenant Temple, was strongly evangelical.
Her uncertainty was no surprise: even though she grew up among Quakers, she hadn’t been taught about Quakerism. And I couldn’t find any compact, accessible guide to the topics that kept coming up for her.
So I set out to produce one.
I wanted to offer concise answers to some of these typical questions. So far I’ve gathered almost fifty such FAQs.
These make up a new book — really an over-sized pamphlet– called, Some Quaker FAQs. I think of it as the beginning of an “un-systematic theology” for Friends. One with many illustrations.
It’s now available on CreateSpace, and Kindle, and will be on Amazon shortly.
Here’s a sample:
Q. What About The Bible?
Here’s what New Covenant Temple’s website says is their “official” view of it:
The Bible: We believe the Bible was written by authors through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and is the inspired word of God. It is the TRUTH without error and our complete source for Christian living. II Timothy 3:16,17 .
(The part at the end, “II Timothy 3:16,17” refers to a particular short passage, or verse, in one part of the Bible.)
So you’ll likely be getting a lot of questions that include the phrase, “But the Bible says . . . .”
If something is in the Bible, does that automatically make it true, or right?
It will be better if you can answer such questions based on your own study of the Bible. But it’s also a fair answer for a Progressive Quaker to say, “So what if the Bible does say such and such? For our kind of Quakers, we learn from the Bible, but the Bible is not the whole ‘TRUTH’ without any errors. It’s not the ‘complete source’ for our religion. It is not a substitute for God or the Inner Light or the Spirit for us.”
(Be advised, such an answer might shock some people. You might get a reply like, “But if you don’t believe in the Bible as all true, you’re going to burn in hell.” We’ll talk a little further on about this “burning in hell” idea. But don’t let it scare you.)
On the other hand, some folks at these churches might even agree with you about the Bible, because they think it’s more important what you think or believe about Jesus than what you think about the Bible.
Q. What About Jesus?
[Ha! Check out the book for this one . . . .]