What might it mean that one of the best-selling new novels revolves around a Quaker…

What might it mean that one of the best-selling new nov­els revolves around a Quaker plot line? Yes indeed, “The Mar­riage Plot” by “Vir­gin Sui­cides” author Jef­frey Eugenides appar­ently does. I’ve ordered it and will try to write up impres­sions too, Accord­ing to this piece in Com­men­tary, another cur­rent book has a Quaker theme. Curi­ous. #books #eugenides

Embed­ded Link

Jef­frey Eugenides « Com­men­tary Mag­a­zine
I am writ­ing about Jef­frey Eugenides’s mag­i­cal novel The Mar­riage Plot at greater length else­where, but a remark­able coin­ci­dence — an instant of serendip­ity in lit­er­ary his­tory — struck me upon re… 

Ginny Christensen, Educational Consultant

Strategy for GrowthGinny Chris­tensen is the force behind Strat­egy for Growth, LLC, a Wyn­cote, PA con­sult­ing firm that pro­vides strate­gic plan­ning, board devel­op­ment, exec­u­tive coach­ing, and lead­er­ship team devel­op­ment for inde­pen­dent schools and non­prof­its. The site is fairly sim­ple. It’s built in Word­Press and has rudi­men­tary e-commerce with a Pay­pal option for pur­chas­ing books.

Visit: Strat​e​gy​For​Growth​.com

Holiness and Quakerism

Just got Car­ole Dale Spencer’s Holi­ness: The Soul of Quak­erism in the mail. There’s been some blog­ger buzz around it and I’m glad to check it out for myself. I can tell right off the bat that I’m prob­a­bly not going to be con­vinced by her argu­ments. Flip­ping through the index (the place to start any book like this) I see she makes three scant ref­er­ences to tradition-minded “Con­ser­v­a­tive” Friends. That’s not a good sign, but she’s far from the first mod­ern his­to­rian to quar­an­tine this branch to the foot­notes.

I’ll cut her some slack because she’s trav­el­ing an inter­est­ing route. She’s spend­ing a lot of time talk­ing about the Methodist and Holi­ness influ­ences in Friends – John Wes­ley him­self directly is indexed eigh­teen times. If you look at the peo­ple who defined mod­ern 20th Cen­tury lib­eral Quak­erism, folks like Rufus Jones (28 index ref­er­ences), you find that these influ­ences were very strong. They still are, even if they go unac­knowl­edged. And many of the issues Spencer is trac­ing are still with us and con­tinue to be rel­e­vant even as some of us are talk­ing up the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a new renewal/revival move­ment.

Another Quaker bookstore bites the dust

Not really news, but Friends United Meet­ing recently ded­i­cated their new Wel­come Cen­ter in what was once the FUM book­store:

On Sep­tem­ber 15, 2007, FUM ded­i­cated the space once used as the Quaker Hill Book­store as the new FUM Wel­come Cen­ter. The Wel­come Cen­ter con­tains Quaker books and resources for F/friends to stop by and make use of dur­ing busi­ness hours. Tables and chairs to com­fort­ably accom­mo­date 50 peo­ple make this a great space to rent for reunions, church groups, meet­ings, anniversary/birthday par­ties, etc. Reduced prices are avail­able for churches.

Most Quaker pub­lish­ers and book­sellers have closed or been greatly reduced over the last ten years. Great changes have occurred in the Philadelphia-area Pendle Hill book­store and pub­lish­ing oper­a­tion, the AFSC Book­store in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Bar­clay Press in Ore­gon. The ver­i­ta­ble Friends Book­shop in Lon­don farmed out its mail order busi­ness a few years ago and has seen part of its space taken over by a cof­fee­bar: pop­u­lar and cool I’m sure, but does Lon­don really needs another place to buy cof­fee? Rumor has it that Britain’s pub­li­ca­tions com­mit­tee has been laid down. The offi­cial spin is usu­ally that the work con­tin­ues in a dif­fer­ent form but only Bar­clay Press has been reborn as some­thing really cool. One of the few remain­ing book­sellers is my old pals at FGC’s Quaker­Books: still sell­ing good books but I’m wor­ried that so much of Quaker pub­lish­ing is now in one bas­ket and I’d be more con­fi­dent if their web­site showed more signs of activ­ity.

The boards mak­ing these deci­sions to scale back or close are prob­a­bly unaware that they’re part
of a larger trend. They prob­a­bly think they’re respond­ing to unique sit­u­a­tions (the peer group Quak­ers Unit­ing in Pub­li­ca­tions sends inter­nal emails around but hasn’t done much to pub­li­cize this story out­side of its mem­ber­ship). It’s sad to see that so many Quaker decision-making bod­ies have inde­pen­dently decided that pub­lish­ing is not an essen­tial part of their mis­sion.

More classic Quaker books available online

Geeky read­ers out there might want to know that Google Books is now mak­ing many of its out-of-print col­lec­tion avail­able as down­load­able and print­able PDFs. They list 42,500 entries under “Soci­ety of Friends”:http://books.google.com/books?q=%22society+of+friends%22&btnG=Search+Books&as_brr=1 I’m unsure whether this is books with that phrase or pages inside books with that phrase, but either way that’s a lot of read­ing. A quick breeze turns up some good titles. Thanks to “Tech Crunch”:http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/08/30/google-allows-downloads-of-out-of-copyright-books/ for the Google news. Older online book projects worth a men­tion: “Project Gutenberg”:http://www.gutenberg.org the “Chris­tian Clas­sics Ethe­rial Library”:http://www.ccel.org/ and the Earl­ham School of Religion’s use­ful but clunky “Dig­i­tal Quaker Collection”:http://esr.earlham.edu/dqc/.


Quakersong.orgWeb­site for Peter Blood & Annie Pat­ter­son, musi­cians most well known for their insanely-popular song­book Rise Up Singing. They sell books and tapes on the site (e-commerce han­dled ably and sim­ply by Pay­pal) and they also have lots of high-quality con­tent includ­ing a lot of hard-to-find Pete Seeger CDs. Mov­able Type is used as a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS).

Tech­nolo­gies: Mov­able Type, Pay­pal. Visit Site.

Random updates

Just a quick note to every­one that I haven’t posted more lately. It’s a busy time of the year. I’ve had my hands full keep­ing up with arti­cles and links to the “Chris­tian Peacemakers”:/quaker/cpt.
I’ve also been doing some free­lance sites. One is launched: “Quakersong.org”:www.quakersong.org, the new online home of Annie Pat­ter­son and Peter Blood of _Rise Up Singing_ fame. It’s just the start to what should soon be an inter­est­ing site.
Geek-wise I’ve been inter­ested in the Web 2.0 stuff (see “this Best Of list of sites”:http://web2.wsj2.com/the_best_web_20_software_of_2005.htm, link cour­tesy “C Wess Daniels”:http://gatheringinlight.blogspot.com/). I’ve talked about some of this “back in June”:http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/i_dont_have_anything_to_say_either.php but it’s get­ting more excit­ing. In the Fall I was asked to sub­mit a pro­posal for redo­ing the web­site of a Quaker con­fer­ence cen­ter near Philadel­phia and it was all Web 2.0-centric – maybe too much so as I didn’t get the job! I’ll post an edited ver­sion of the pro­posal soon for the geeks out there. Some of the new tech stuff will under­gird a fab­u­lous new “Quakerfinder.org”:www.quakerfinder.org fea­ture that will allow iso­lated Friends to con­nect to form new wor­ship groups (to launch soon) and even more is behind the dreams of a new “Quakerbooks.org”:www.quakerbooks.org site.
In the mean­time, I encour­age every­one to order “On Liv­ing with a Con­cern for Gospel Ministry”:http://www.quakerbooks.org/get/1 – 888305-38-x, the new book by New Eng­land Yearly Meeting’s Brian Dray­ton (it arrived from the print­ers yes­ter­day). It’s being billed as a mod­ern day ver­sion of “A Descrip­tion of the Qual­i­fi­ca­tions” and if it lives up the hype it should be an impor­tant book for the stir­rings of deep­en­ing faith­ful­ness we’ve been see­ing among Quak­ers lately. While you’re wait­ing for the book to arrive in your mail­box, check out Brook­lyn Rich’s “Test­ing Leadings”:http://brooklynquaker.blogspot.com/2005/12/testing-leadings-part-1.html post.

Quaker Ranter Reader

A recent email cor­re­spon­dence con­firmed that all of our won­der­ful web­sites aren’t always reach­ing the peo­ple who should be hear­ing this mes­sage. Self pub­lish­ing a book is almost as easy as start­ing a blog so why not put together a book­let of a website’s essays? You can order the first edi­tion of the “Quaker Ranter Reader”:http://www.cafepress.com/Quakerranter.18423631 for $12.00 through Cafe­press (a few dol­lars of each sale comes back to me to sup­port the web­site). The Reader is also avail­able from “Quaker­books of FGC”:http://www.Quakerbooks.org/get/11 – 99-01749 – 3.

Con­tinue read­ing