Reviews Articles

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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Are We Done Fighting? Building understanding in a world of hate and division

28 May 2020 | by Eric Schiller

Close-up of the book cover. | New Society Publishers.

In a world that was supposed to become more unified by technology and communications, the opposite seems to be happening. Divisions are deepening between nations and even within nations. The conflicts are often class-based, racially-based, generationally-based or even gender-based. We need a guidebook and Matthew Legge has written one.

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Grasping Shadows: The dark side of literature, painting, photography and film

28 May 2020 | by Judith Roads | 1 comment

Close-up of the book cover. | OUP USA.

I treasure this book. It has become a way for me to go deeper into art, metaphor and religious thinking. Much of it relates to my Quaker life.

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‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Ecumenical Quest’ by Keith Clements

21 May 2020 | by Richard Seebohm

Close-up of the book cover. | World Council of Churches.

For many years Dietrich Bonhoeffer was general secretary of the Conference of European Churches. Cross-referencing this book with Bonhoeffer’s own Letters and Papers from Prison offers illuminating takes on theology. It even makes me more comfortable about the divide between theist and nontheist Friends.

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‘MBS: The rise to power of Mohammed bin Salman’, by Ben Hubbard

21 May 2020 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the book cover. | William Collins.

The paradox of Saudi Arabia is that it is a close ally of the United States, and that it has a conservative version of Islam. In the attack on the twin towers in New York on 9/11, fifteen out of the nineteen hijackers were Saudis, as was their leader, Osama bin...

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‘What You Have Heard Is True: A memoir of witness and resistance’, by Carolyn Forché

07 May 2020 | by Jonathan Doering

Close-up of the book cover. | Courtesy of Allen Lane.

In 1977, Carolyn Forché was twenty-seven, and had already packed a whole life into those years. She had won the Yale Younger Poets competition, translated poetry by Salvadoran émigré Claribel Alegría, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and begun teaching at a Californian university.

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‘When Christians Were Jews: The first generation’, by Paula Fredriksen

23 April 2020 | by Michael Wright | 2 comments

Close-up of the book cover. | Yale University Press.

Quakers traditionally do not follow the Christian calendar of fasts and festivals. Nevertheless I find myself each year reflecting on how modern scholars seek to explain the events before and after the first Easter.

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‘Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister,’ by Jung Chang

16 April 2020 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the book cover. | Jonathan Cape.

Insofar as this book gives a history of China – which it does as background – it reads like a tragedy. At the end of the nineteenth century Cixi, the empress dowager, took steps to modernise the country. Jung Chang describes China’s search for democracy during 1913-28. It had a parliamentary...

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