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To Be Broken and Tender
In To Be Broken and Tender, Friend and Quaker historian Margery Abbott weaves together a brave and beautiful personal narrative with Quaker history and theological reflection in response to questions and struggles about belief, language, social issues and other deeply-felt concerns that unsettle and divide our Meetings and the wider Religious Society of Friends. A study guide assists readers in their own discernment around challenging issues such as care for the environment, our personal relationships to God and Christianity, and what role Friends have in making the world right.
Christianity and the Inner Life
Friends in the unprogrammed, liberal tradition respond in a wide variety of ways to the language and teachings of Christianity. In her explorations of the writings of early Friends, Marge Abbott has discovered her own approach to Christian perspectives, one that speaks specifically to her experiences of the Divine Light. She finds inspiration and fellowship with early and modern Friends for whom Christ is central, without excluding the wisdom and inspiration of other religious traditions. Engagement with evangelical Friends and social justice work have expanded her sense of compassion. Her example is an invitation to spiritual receptivity: a stance that emphasizes “yes” and connection, rather than separations among those who hold different beliefs.
Although relatively few in number-there are only a few hundred thousand members worldwide-the Religious Society of Friends has had an unusually strong impact. Originating in Great Britain in the 17th century, the denomination has since expanded to many other parts of the world while its spiritual influence has reached even further. Concepts such as the “inward light” and “friendly persuasion” are familiar well beyond their own circles and others have often heeded the Quakers’ call for cooperation and peaceful resolution of problems as the wisest counsel.
Yet, while widely known and admired, they are too often known only superficially. The A to Z Guide of the Friends (Quakers) clears up these superficialities by digging much deeper into the Society’s past as well as present. In the guide’s dictionary section, numerous cross-referenced entries describe the origins and history, the situation in many different countries, the basic concepts and practices, and the views on important contemporary issues. Others present the leading figures, from the founders, such as George Fox and Francis Howgill, on. The chronology shows the progression over time while the bibliography points the way to further reading. The book’s four editors were aided by an Advisory Committee, while the contributions stem from over a hundred authors.
“Walk Worthy is a wonderful resource to help us nurture and receive public or traveling ministry in many forms. The engaging personal stories of God’s call and empowerment, gathered from Friends around the world, don’t just jump-start your thinking but also grab your heart. With its attention to historic practice as well, surely this practical and inspiring book will help strengthen the life of ministry among us.” Howard Macy, Professor of Religion and Biblical Studies George Fox University
“This book is seminal for Friends from every tradition. The book is a resource for Quakerism classes, personal reflection, worship-sharing, and sermon illustrations. The twenty essays written by Public Friends from around the world are worth the read. The bonus is the way in which Marge and Peggy weave these experiences together to offer insights for the continuing ministry of traveling Friends.” Ann Davidson, United Society of Friends Women International
“Few words elicit a greater variety of reactions among Friends than the term ministry. Even so, reclaiming the concept of universal ministry will be central to any Friends vision that promotes a vibrant faith community. This collection of essays invites us down that path as it peels back the double veils of mystery and resistance, revealing how Gods call can come in simple or extraordinary ways.” Jay Marshall, Dean Earlham School of Religion
“Walk Worthy of Your Calling leads us to Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and North and South America. Through the narratives of those who had the courage to listen to God and obey the call to travel in the ministry, we have glimpses of the health and vitality of the Religious Society of Friends today.” Margaret Fraser, Executive Secretary Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas
This pamphlet grew from the author’s search for ways to interpret and respond to the joyful, but none-the-less life shattering, mystical experiences that have changed her life. It considers how Friends today recognize and respond to the guidance of the Inward Light of Christ and describes varying Quaker views on mysticism and the mystical, touching upon the need to continually test leadings in the silence of Quaker worship and in the arms of Quaker community. In the mid-1990s, the author interviewed Friends in the United States and Britain about many aspects of their faith, including their understanding of mysticism. Her writing draws on her own experience and the experience of those whom she interviewed.
The modern reputation of Friends in the United States and Europe is grounded in the relief work they have conducted in the presence and aftermath of war. Friends (also known as Quakers) have coordinated the feeding and evacuation of children from war zones around the world. They have helped displaced persons without regard to politics. They have engaged in the relief of suffering in places as far-flung as Ireland, France, Germany, Ethiopia, Egypt, China, and India. Their work was acknowledged with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Service Council of Great Britain. More often, however, Quakers live, worship, and work quietly, without seeking public attention for themselves. Now, the Friends are a truly worldwide body and are recognized by their Christ-centered message of integrity and simplicity, as well as their nonviolent stance and affirmation of the belief that all people—women as well as men—may be called to the ministry.
The expanded second edition of the Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers) relates the history of the Friends through a chronology, an introductory essay, an extensive bibliography, and over 700 cross-referenced dictionary entries on concepts, significant figures, places, activities, and periods. This book is an excellent access point for scholars and students, who will find the overviews and sources for further research provided by this book to be enormously helpful.
“Marge Abbott’s unique collection of Quaker authors is an important commentary on religious experience and expression among members of the Religious Society of Friends. The widely diverse voices in this book demonstrate the driving force within Quaker spirituality — the call to holiness and obedience that unites all those who call themselves Friends.” Carole Spencer, George Fox University
“This anthology of thirty-one Quaker women and men from over three centuries illuminates the common thread in Quaker heritage. Friends from various traditions speak of their encounters with Christ as the Inward Teacher, their interpretation of faith into action, and their reliance on Divine guidance. Her selections reveal wide acquaintance with Friends writings, both ancient and modern, and her introduction and editorial comments are both graceful and helpful.” Margaret Hope Bacon, Quaker Historian & Author
Tells of author’s journey of discovering Evangelical Friends. In the process she comes to terms with a fuller understanding of Quakerism as experienced by others and experiences Gods presence opening her to unexpected depths in her own faith.
A Theological Perspective on Quaker Lobbying
“Throughout our history, Friends have carried “concerns” that lead us to act. Sometime these concerns are for the Religious Society of Friends and its health and vitality. All Friends carry concerns for injustice that counters the world we seek. These concerns may grow into leadings for people to take on direct service of the ministry of feeding the poor, visiting those in prison, reducing violence or creating a sustainable environment. For others, the concern leads them to lobby public officials for changes in governmental policies that perpetuate all forms of injustice—from the violation of human rights, to war, to degradation of our earth, to the unbalanced priorities of our federal budget.”
“In this pamphlet, Marge Abbott looks not only to Quaker history for the genesis of Quakers’ call to lobbying for peace and justice but to the biblical call in the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and other teachings. Her careful consideration of the spiritual and theological roots of Friends’ witness that is both prophetic and pragmatic offers an explanation not only of how FCNL operates but how Friends through many generations have carried their concerns into the world.” Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation
What happens when… a coveted landscape becomes a battleground for two legitimate and compelling visions of the American West? In examining the origins and implementations of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Planning a New West reveals a vast experiment in mediating between the Old and New Wests.