On the train this morning I read Elizabeth Cazden’s “Fellowships, Conferences and Associations: The Limits of the Liberal Quaker Reinvention of Meeting Polity”:http://www.bhfh.org/Bhfh-PubDesc.html#FCA. This 36 page pamphlet is a must-read for all of us Quaker Ranters.
Usually I excerpt a particularly interesting sentence or two from books I recommend. But for this, I’d have to excerpt the whole pamphlet: it’s that good. Cazden really lays out how the “fellowship” model of Quakerism became dominant in the last seventy years and talks about both its limitations and strengths. Here’s the description I wrote for Quakerbooks:
bq. A look at the “confusion and disagreement” about how meetings govern themselves. Cazden reviews classical Quaker models and then looks at the “alternate model that has come to characterize liberal unprogrammed (‘Friends General Conference-type’) meetings in North America.” An important read for anyone trying to understand contemporary Quaker debates over same-sex marriage, the meaning of membership, the role of committees and issues of leadership in the Religious Society of Friends.
Cazden talks about many of the issues we’ve been discussing on this site. She’s one of the few Quaker historians that will discuss the Twentieth Century and she’s one of the few who remain seriously engaged with Friends, having served as clerk of New England Yearly Meeting. You can “order it from Beacon Hills Friends House”:http://www.bhfh.org/Bhfh-PubDesc.html#FCA. I wonder if we could get some sort of online book group going to talk about this?