Culture Articles

Poem: Rare Bird, a glosa for RS Thomas

03 December 2020 | by Philip Gross

'Watching you is like watching the sea.' |

Grey waters, vast           as an area of prayer that one enters. Daily           over a period of years I have let the eye rest on them. Was I waiting for something?                     ...

Read more

Respect, compiled by the anti-bullying team at Ilkley Grammar School

03 December 2020 | by Margaret Nunnerley

‘In this short book is an approach to a complex subject that is based on our testimonies.’ | Book cover of Respect, compiled by the anti-bullying team at Ilkley Grammar School

During dark days we all need to hear positive messages. This short book describes an anti-bullying team at a Yorkshire comprehensive school made up of students and three staff. They describe themselves as ‘passionate about our role… because…  bullying can have a hugely devastating impact on young people’s...

Read more

Iris Murdoch: A guide to the novels, by Peter Whitfield

03 December 2020 | by Author: Peter Whitfield. Jonathan Wooding

Book cover of Iris Murdoch: A guide to the novels, by Peter Whitfield |

The difference between a religious and a non-religious person is not a question of what one believes, where one belongs, or how well one behaves, but whether one prays. Here’s Iris Murdoch talking about Immanuel Kant: ‘Surely, prayer (or something like it) is as essential as duty; and is...

Read more

A History of the Bible: The book and its faiths, by John Barton

26 November 2020 | by Michael Wright

‘Why did Trinitarian language become so central to the rule’s structure, when the New Testament hardly knows it?' | Book cover of A History of the Bible: The book and its faiths, by John Barton

Two religions, Judaism and Christianity, draw their basic convictions from the Bible, yet each draws very different key ideas from the material they cherish.

Read more

Conversations with a Blank Canvas by Isa Levy

12 November 2020 | by Joanna Godfrey Wood

'Isa conveys her passion and deep commitment to finding the authentic connection with ‘that of God’ – or you could say, the ‘blank canvas’ – within.' | Book cover of Conversations with a Blank Canvas by Isa Levy

Who is Isa L Levy? Difficult to define. Her brave memoir, Conversations with a Blank Canvas, explores the decades of her life from actor to artist, to arts psychotherapist, with many more labels in between. In 1998 she walked through the doors of her first Quaker Meeting after a chance encounter...

Read more

InnSæi, directed by Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir

12 November 2020 | by Angela Greenwood

'InnSæi is the Icelandic word for intuition. It means ‘the sea within.’ | Detail of DVD cover of InnSæi, directed by Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir.

I was recently prompted to watch Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir’s and Kristín Ólafsdóttir’s film and was immediately engaged and inspired. InnSæi is the Icelandic word for intuition. It means ‘the sea within’, like the borderless nature of our inner world, or it can mean ‘to see within’,...

Read more

When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present by Nick Bryant

05 November 2020 | by Reg Naulty

'Many people can remember that there used to be a redistribution of income, funded by taxation. What happened to that?' | Book cover of When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present by Nick Bryant

The governance of a society has big implications for the lives of the people living in it. Hence Plato’s Republic, which was meant to ensure that rulers knew what goodness is, and how to give it expression in a state they governed. Ideally, they would create a society in...

Read more

A Long Walk, A Gradual Ascent: The story of the Bolivian Friends Church in its context of conflict

05 November 2020 | by Johan Maurer

'How did Quakers attain such prominence in a relatively small South American country?' | Book cover of A Long Walk, A Gradual Ascent: The story of the Bolivian Friends Church in its context of conflict by Nancy Thomas

Quick quiz: which four countries of the world have the highest numbers of Quakers? Answer: Kenya is in number one position, followed by the USA and Burundi. In fourth place by total number, and in third place by proportion of total population, is Bolivia. How did Quakers attain such prominence...

Read more

The heart and the hour

05 November 2020 | by Angela Arnold

'At the start, it’s no more than a fist' | by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash.

At the start, it’s no more than a fist, doing that opening, shutting, pumping business.

Read more

What lies ahead

29 October 2020 | by Anne M Jones

'Permitted, but risky is a bus ride. I take my familiar 172.' | by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash.

Mashed into the last summer sunshine cold wind, a paper-cut barb Hints at winter ahead. Though told that warmth would banish this virus it hovers still, a vulture that threatens our fresh horizons Corralls us back into our cups Of joys, miseries and memories.

Read more