Quaker Universalist Conversations

Three books for “white” people

Reviews from Friends Journal, Sept 2018

The Books section of the September 2018 Friends Journal includes reviews of three exemplary works to help “white” readers go deeper into self-awareness about the hidden dynamics of racism. This post offers an excerpt from each review. We strongly encourage you to read the linked reviews and to seek out the books themselves.

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Ignore the news cycle. Cooperation is hardwired.

At the moment we are all afraid. All of us. On whatever part of the spectrum of belief we stand, there is nothing else in the pubic conversation right now except fear. Some of us express that fear as anger or resentment—or hope—but fear is the taste of this age.

And it’s all based, to put it bluntly, on what “sells newspapers”—on what distracts us, out-weighing what is real in our personal lives with what we are supposed to feel afraid of.

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Terror Talk

Terrorists at the Table: Why Negotiating is the Only Way to Peace, by Jonathan Powell – A Review

Terrorism is universal in all cultures, in all traditions, in all times. Terrorism is only a means not an end, in human behavior. When other means are not perceived as effective, terrorism is a final option. The only way to stop terrorist is talking.

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The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheist’s Point of View, by Tim Crane

A Friends Journal review by Brian Drayton

“This book … differs from some recent atheist writings on religion in two ways. First, it is not about the truth of religious belief but about its meaning: what it means to believe in religious ideas, what it means for believers, and what it should mean for nonbelievers too.… Second, it differs from much recent atheism in the picture of religion it draws.” – Author Tim Crane

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Reintroducing The Quaker Universalist Reader Number 1

The 1986 collection republished in eBook format

Reader #1 is a collection of essays, addresses, and lectures about Quaker universalist themes originally published by the British Quaker Universalist Group (QUG) as a series of pamphlets. In 1986, Quaker Universalist Fellowship (QUF) republished the first six essays with permission, adding “Is Coexistence Possible: Christianity & Universalism in the Religious Society of Friends,” a talk given in America by Daniel Seeger during the Friends General Conference Gathering of 1984.

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A Mirror on Current Quakerism

The Cambridge Companion to Quakerism, ed. by Angell & Dandelion – A Review

Angell and Dandelion have shepherded a wide and global diversity of new specialist authors. They organize the volume around an overview of Quaker history 1650-2015, and they summarize Quaker relationship to literature, social justice, environmental sustainability, peace, education, and practical life simplicity.

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“Talking About God at Buchenwald”

On reading & sharing Richard Beck’s blog post

“After touring the grounds of Buchenwald and going through the crematorium, where we viewed the ovens used to burn the corpses, I walked the group over to a shady spot, the zoo built for the entertainment of the SS officers. And there I tried to talk about God.” —Richard Beck

We humans put a human face on God. Then we blame and barter with that God, having projected onto God the capacity for human action, human courage and compassion, human intervention. We ask, “Why does God allow this?”

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Rescuing Romans 13:1-7

How do we answer authoritarian use of these words?

Amid the wide global turmoil stirred by America’s current flexing of authoritarian nationalism, a deeper spiritual turmoil has been brought to light by the current administration’s use of the apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

There is a willful blindness at work in this government and its supporters, a steadfast unwillingness to acknowledge—or care—that the families fleeing to the United States from Central America are refugees seeking asylum from violence in their homelands.

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