Culture Articles

‘Our own creativity can best come from deliberately-chosen places of quiet and silence.’

FREE 09 July 2020 | by Peter Varney

‘Painting can be a place where the Spirit flows and the painter finds calm.’ | Image courtesy of Peter Varney

Advices & queries 29 tells us that ‘Old age… can… bring serenity.’ But lockdown has taught me that it might be more widely available. The world’s religions frequently suggest we need places of waiting – places where we accept and go with the flow of life. Lao Tzu asks: ‘Do you...

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The Fabricated Christ: Confronting what we know about Jesus and the Gospels, by Paul Laffan

09 July 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding | 2 comments

'He wants to expose sleight of hand and imposture – fantasy and specious reasoning – in the gospels and in biblical commentary.' | Book cover for The Fabricated Christ: Confronting what we know about Jesus and the Gospels

In the beginning was a folktale – a folktale about a holy man, a man of the people, cruelly done to death by the powerbrokers of the day. The man was impish and witty. Some say he was a bit of a devil, while others say he could have saved us,...

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To Thine Own Self Be True: A spiritual journey by Howard Grace

09 July 2020 | by Daniel Clarke Flynn

‘There are two levels, and not just one, with which humanity reaches out to the Ultimate Reality. One is with the mind; the other is with the heart and spirit.' | Book cover for To Thine Own Self Be True: A spiritual journey

This is a small book of thirty-two pages but it is not a quick read – there is much in this gem to reflect on. Howard Grace recounts a journey of four score years from militant atheist, to becoming a believer in ‘shared humanity’ as a Christian, to, finally, a Quaker.

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Busily sculpting my foolish old life

02 July 2020 | by Anne M Jones

'Birdsong, a whole symphony embraces me on my daily bike ride in lovely Peckham Park.' | Corina Rainer / Unsplash.

Busily sculpting my foolish old life, well past sell-by date, Freedoms many: to curse expected trains that were cancelled or late. Adventures worldwide, limitless movement, grateful for all I could shape – Fanned delusional flames of eternal youth.

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The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss

02 July 2020 | by Joseph Jones

‘I’m not sure I always enjoyed this picture of Quaker earnestness, but I can’t deny its plausibility.’ | 'The Dazzle of Day' book cover.

This novel about Quakers travelling in outer space, published over twenty years ago, was reissued recently in a new edition. Its author is not a Friend but, like Walt Whitman, from whose poetry the title is taken, she considers the silence ‘after the dazzle of day is gone’. What happens,...

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Poem: Hope heals*

25 June 2020 | by the children of Dorking Meeting

'Hope is what makes us human' | banner made by the children of Dorking Meeting

Hope is a thing with feathers Hope is trusting and believing Hope is something that someone feels Hope is thinking of sunshine when it’s a cold winter’s day and raining Hope is what makes us human Hope is a light Hope is being determined and happy to do...

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As led

18 June 2020 | by RV Bailey

'This is a Quaker Meeting.' | Helen Cramer / Unsplash.

They are Quakers. So it will not matter That I am late, or that I bring the dog.

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Jesus Today: A Quaker perspective

18 June 2020 | by Peter Jarman

'As a nontheist Wright has, to paraphrase Meister Eckhart, taken leave of God to know God.' | 'Jesus today' book cover

Michael Wright served for forty years as an Anglican priest before becoming a Friend. Before training at a theological college, he attended a Quaker Meeting and was attracted by its form and substance, especially Advices & queries. He is clearly stimulated by the life of Jesus and its relationship to...

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Postnational Memory, Peace and War: Making pasts beyond borders

18 June 2020 | by Ken Smith

'It can be difficult to escape national confines when thinking about peace and war – even for the peace movement.' | 'Postnational Memory, Peace and War: Making pasts beyond borders' book cover

It can be difficult to escape national confines when thinking about peace and war – even for the peace movement. Key reference points often relate to specific conflicts. Conscientious objection, Quaker service, CND, white poppies and peace demos all have roots in UK history.

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Wells of Thought: Gospel reflections on life and faith

18 June 2020 | by Michael Wright

‘Lines to ponder savour, stimulate and amuse.’ | 'Wells of Thought: Gospel reflections on life and faith' book cover

This slim book of reflections on life and faith delighted me. It came to me when I was feeling low in lockdown: I found it a ‘balm in Gilead’.

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