What Friends Journal Offers

For the last three months, this "Among Friends" column has focused on Friends Journal’s financial situation, and future columns are likely to return to that theme.

In the meanwhile, FJ has continued to present its customary selection of feature articles and departments. And the offerings have continued to be widely varied in topic and approach. This is not really our doing. With the exception of our two special issues each year for which we announce themes in advance, we rely on authors among our readership to take the initiative in determining what needs to be addressed and what they are led to write about. We continue to receive submissions at an undiminished rate, and what we offer reflects the variety in what we receive. We could be more proactive editorially—and sometimes we are, by encouraging writers to take on certain topics—but if we were directive in the way that the editors of most other magazines are, the result would be different: perhaps better, but—we expect—likely not. We look at our work as a ministry to writers and a ministry of the written word to our readers. Friends Journal is uniquely a submission-driven magazine, which happens to suit our limited resources and to harmonize with the tradition of diverse leadership in our Religious Society.

The offerings of Friends Journal are, really, unusually varied. This is evident to me when I am orienting interns to our operation—I can count on them to be surprised by the broad scope of what we cover. Of course, this is rooted in the approach of Friends— in our assumptions about the absence of a boundary between our religious and our secular lives. But it is also a product of our editorial policy in that we see our role as not to be normative in what we present—not to define an orthodox position for Quakers—but to reflect the full range of beliefs and approaches among Friends.

Friends Journal is a place for people with distinctly different understandings of faith to engage with each other and to converse articulately. It is a place to reflect on the central tenets as well as the nitty-gritty of our Friends tradition. And above all, it is a place for us to grapple with the requirements that our faith places on us as we engage in the larger world— and to energize us for the task.

We look for each article in Friends Journal to be clear, relevant to Friends concerns, and fresh, and we welcome those that offer something unusual or unexpected. We look for articles that speak both to the neophyte among Friends and to the relatively jaded among us who have been reading FJ for years, if not decades. And we look for a tone of discourse that speaks from experience and respects the wide ranging experiences of others. It is our intention to bring you the offerings of writers probing the meaning and role of Quakerism and the challenges we face, in a way that keeps us on mission, energized, and informed. We thank you for your participation in this endeavor.