Culture Articles

Telling the Truth About God by Rhiannon Grant

27 August 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding | 1 comment

‘We affirm that something loving, guiding, and worth listening to is active now, here, in our community.’ | Telling the Truth About God book cover

If you think theology is now irrelevant to Quakers, think again. Rhiannon Grant shows us that to ‘theologize’ remains an exciting and, indeed, daring venture, once we acknowledge how it might be misused. Her own efforts to be honest about God fall within a radical tradition. She writes: ‘Any form...

Read more

A Black Theology of Liberation by James Cone

27 August 2020 | by Mark Russ

A Black Theology of Liberation | book cover

Every now and again I encounter a book that gives me such a jolt it demands to be talked about. This book was first published in 1970 but I read it recently and it has stirred me up. James H Cone’s work has been much discussed within the black theological...

Read more

Unique selling point

20 August 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding

'We shan’t last long. Holiness takes her chances.' | Magda Lukas / Unsplash

Fall of dregs-from-the-wine-vat petals: unprogrammed, let’s say, or aleatory blossom. The thought (today’s) is this: unique selling point of religion is (still) holiness. Petals in blood-spill asymmetry make it more arduous for reason to prevail. Stamens sift rich sand in timbre, shock flakes are tumbled pumpkin.

Read more

‘Caroline provided Virginia with a role model of an independent woman.’

13 August 2020 | by Kersti Wagstaff

Portrait of Virginia Woolf | by George Charles Beresford, 1902.

In Simon Webb’s review of Virginia Woolf’s biography of Roger Fry in the Friend last month, he was right to point out that Virginia Woolf was not a Quaker. But she had much closer contact with Quakerism than is often realised – in particular with something quite like Quakerism...

Read more

Apeirogon: A novel by Colum McCann

13 August 2020 | by Harvey Gillman | 1 comment

'An apeirogon is a shape with a countable infinite number of sides. There is no one viewpoint. But this does not mean an anything-goes relativist stance.' | Apeirogon book cover.

This book moved me in a way that few novels have ever done. I could only read a few pages at a time, so powerful was the effect on me. I was often close to tears.

Read more

Humankind: A hopeful history by Rutger Bregman

13 August 2020 | by Reg Naulty | 1 comment

'Our Covid-cursed and globally-warming times need a book like this. It puts faith in humanity on a firm foundation.' | Humankind book cover

This book presents scientific evidence showing that it is reasonable to hold a more realistic and positive view of human nature than is common. Many environmentalists see humans as a destructive plague on the earth. And the news gives a dispiriting picture of human beings. But Rutger Bregman points out...

Read more

Notes from an Apocalypse: A personal journey to the end of the world and back, by Mark O’Connell

06 August 2020 | by Michael Crossland | 1 comment

'The author is clear that the most likely source of apocalypse is the climate crisis.' | Detail of book cover of Notes from an Apocalypse: A personal journey to the end of the world and back, by Mark O’Connell

How will humans respond to a species-threatening event? Mark O’Connell attempts to answer this question in this very timely new book, written before Covid-19.

Read more

The Boy With Two Hearts: A story of hope by Hamed Amiri

06 August 2020 | by Judith Weeks

‘It is a testimony to the goodness of the many people who assisted them on their way.’ | Book cover of The Boy With Two Hearts: A story of hope by Hamed Amiri

This is an inspiring, yet easily read, book about asylum seekers; some Friends may have heard it as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’ a few weeks ago.

Read more

Accompaniment, Community and Nature by Jonathan Herbert

06 August 2020 | by Sharen Green

Accompaniment, Community and Nature: Overcoming isolation, marginalisation and alienation through meaningful connection, by Jonathan Herbert | Book cover detail

Jonathan Herbert started his journey as an accompanier at eight years old, sitting on the vicarage doorstep with rough sleepers. He has since practised accompaniment in urban Liverpool, rural Dorset, the Solomon Islands, Uganda and Palestine. Decades later he has formulated his ideas on the subject, which, he claims, is...

Read more

Roger Fry: A biography, by Virginia Woolf

30 July 2020 | by Simon Webb

'I was surprised to find a lot about Quakerism in the book, though I should not have been: the surname Fry...' | Book cover for Roger Fry: A biography, by Virginia Woolf

After four years studying English Literature at university, Virginia Woolf stuck in my mind as an author I really needed to look at in more detail in later life. It’s only taken me thirty-five years and a global pandemic to get round to reading her biography of Roger Fry,...

Read more