Culture Articles

A Disabled Apostle: Impairment and disability in the letters of Paul, by Isaac Soon

25 April 2024 | by Simon Webb

'Paul, he asserts, believed that he was sharing his body with an angel of Satan.' | Book cover of A Disabled Apostle: Impairment and disability in the letters of Paul, by Isaac Soon

When he wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul felt compelled to tell his correspondents about what he called the ‘thorn’ in his ‘flesh’, a mysterious ailment that has long puzzled readers. Isaac Soon’s book is the first to be devoted to this enigmatic complaint, and to other...

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Alison Lapper: Lost in Parys

18 April 2024 | by Rowena Loverance

‘Spending time with Alison’s grief is a harrowing experience.’ | Image: Nothing left to give, by Alison Lapper

There was depressing news recently for the creative arts in the UK, as the government cut funding for performing and creative arts courses at English universities. All the more reason, then, to celebrate a new initiative to encourage young people’s engagement with the arts, focusing on how art can...

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Confession

18 April 2024 | by Harvey Gillman | 1 comment

'Let us hold each other in the light and the earth on which we stand.' | by Lucas Myers on Unsplash

I come to a place of light in an ocean of darkness. They said: Stand still in the light, submit to its power. When temptation came and troubles appeared I was to sink to the bright seed. Troubles would be hushed and darkness fly away.

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Bayard Rustin: A legacy of protest and politics, ed by Michael G Long

11 April 2024 | by Simon Webb

‘His contribution went far beyond organising the sandwiches.’ | Book cover of Bayard Rustin: A legacy of protest and politics, ed by Michael G Long

Everybody knows something about the 1963 March On Washington, when Martin Luther King delivered his powerful ‘I have a dream’ speech. Fewer people know that it was organised by a black Quaker, Bayard Rustin. This new book of essays on Rustin reveals how, over five decades of activism, Bayard did even...

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Negotiating With the Devil: Inside the world of armed conflict mediation, by Pierre Hazan

11 April 2024 | by Eamonn Gearon

'Can compromises for peace justify sacrifices in justice, or do they risk inciting further violence?' | Book cover of Negotiating With the Devil: Inside the world of armed conflict mediation, by Pierre Hazan

Winston Churchill is not the first person to come to mind when one thinks of a mediator. But something he said came to mind while reading this book.

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Vantage point

11 April 2024 | by Jennie Osborne & Steve Day

'If I need a better poem then I take pen in hand, write what I need to write. Maybe, just maybe, I will have baked one brick.' |

    If I need a better life, I build one,           dig its foundations below the soles       of my feet, plough the potholes with the heels of my shoes and, into the arms of a good       neighbour, entrust my...

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Jesus As Witnessed By the Disciple He Loved: A commentary on the gospel of John, by Alan Asay

04 April 2024 | by Joanna Godfrey Wood | 1 comment

‘This book will serve as an invaluable guide for all those wanting to get to grips with the various meanings and interpretations of the gospel of John.' | Book cover (and detail) of Jesus As Witnessed By the Disciple He Loved

The gospel of John has often been called the ‘Quaker gospel’, mainly, perhaps, because of its many references to light, which chime with much Quaker theological conversation today. Early Quakers were greatly inspired by this gospel, and it gives each new generation of Friends much food for thought. Alan Asay,...

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Worship

04 April 2024 | by Voirrey Faragher

'He died just round the bay where the estuary meets the sea.' | by Simon Godfrey on Unsplash

We lost a Friend this week. He died just round the bay where the estuary meets the sea. A sweet day for us today surfing, sunshine and Meeting – it’s all worship, isn’t it?

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Spell God

28 March 2024 | by Dana Smith | 1 comment

'Cease fire. A phonic sounding like the mass of Christ in Bethlehem’s rubble' | by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I write it in the dirt today in the bottom of the grave where New Year’s worms ease in the writhe or relent of human hate.

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The Dictionary People, by Sarah Ogilvie

28 March 2024 | by Lucy Pollard

'It is not a coincidence that many of the contributors, including the three Quakers, were women.' | Book cover (and detail) of The Dictionary People, by Sarah Ogilvie

Friends love wordless silence, of course, but some of us love words too, written or spoken. This book is the latest in a line of fascinating works about the history of the Oxford English Dictionary.

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