Tag Archives: books

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/.

Quak​er​song​.org

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.