For the past eight years we’ve been compiling our most-read online articles every December. This week we’ve been sharing 2020’s top five on Facebook and Twitter. Given the events of this most-unusual of years it should be no surprise that two deal with race and one with COVID-19. The top two most-read articles look at the cultural context of modern Quaker process and suggest we could be bolder and more inclusive in our decision making.
Inspired by the work of historians and activists like Ibram X. Kendi, Sarah Sophie Flicker, and Alyssa Klein, we dug into our review archives to develop a list of books that illuminate and contextualize some of the central issues addressed by the Black Lives Matter movement and other challenges to systemic racism in the United States.
In the early stages of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Katie Breslin discussed how her home meeting—which was still gathering at its meeting house then—tried to implement new gestures of greeting to replace the traditional handshake. She also spoke with Quakers at other meetings about the precautions they were taking… including the shift to video conferencing.
Inga Erickson describes how she learned that one of the most widespread stories about the 19th-century abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, one she’d shared with her own meeting, was a racist fabrication—and what she did in an effort to make amends for her mistake.
“Why do we think a hallmark of obedience to the Spirit is a slow, deliberate pace?” Kat Griffith asks. “Perhaps the impatient voices among us are Spirit-led… Friends elsewhere recognize passion and heat and boldness as signs of the Spirit active in their midst, yet unprogrammed American Friends see these as qualities likely to lead us astray.”
Our most popular article in 2020 was an interview with George Lakey in which he elaborated upon a theme very similar to Kat Griffith’s: “Waiting for a leading might be right,” he told Donald W. McCormick, but “slowing things down in business meeting is only a positive if it’s actually needed; it diminishes us when it’s not needed. Slowing things down may have become a go-to for Friends because our culture has become conflict-averse.”
Catch up on past years’ lists!
- #5 Selling Out to Niceness by Ann Jerome.
- #4 Building White Racial Stamina by Liz Oppenheimer.
- #3 A Quaker School’s Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Erik Hanson.
- #2 We Are Not John Woolman by Gabbreell James.
- # 1 Slavery in the Quaker World by Katharine Gerbner.
Top Articles of 2018
- #5 Are We Really Christian? by Margaret Namubuya Amudavi.
- #4 What People Really Want from Church and Quaker Meeting by Donald W. McCormick.
- #3 Simple Living Beyond the Thrift Store by Philip Harnden.
- #2 Can Quakerism Survive? by Donald W. McCormick.
- # 1 Civility Can Be Dangerous by Lucy Duncan.
- #5 Mystical Experience, the Bedrock of Quaker Faith by Robert Atchley.
- #4 Weeping to Joy by Betsy Blake.
- #3: A Mysticism for Our Time by Roger Owens.
- #2: It Breaks My Heart by Kate Pruitt.
- #1: A Quaker Approach to Living with Dying by Katherine Jaramillo.
- #5 Framing the Light by Jean Schnell.
- #4 Why Quakers Stopped Voting by Paul Buckley.
- #3 Affirming Ivy by Laura Noel.
- #2 The Third Reconstruction by William J Barber II.
- #1 A Gospel of Quaker Sexuality by Kody Gabriel Hersh.
- #5 Baltimore, the Time Is Now by Sarah Bur.
- #4 Reflections on Selma by Gail Whiffen.
- #3 What Quakers and Catholics Might Learn from One Another by John Pitts Corry.
- #2 Realizing Wholeness: Reflections from a Gay Palestinian Quaker by Sa’ed Atshan.
- #1 Beyond Goodness Sex by Su Penn.
- #5 Dear Friend/Good White Person by Regina Renee.
- #4 Sustainable Simplification Shuns “Shoulds” and Sacrifice by Chuck Hosking.
- #3 A Quaker Argument against Gun Control by Matthew Van Meter.
- #2 My Experience as an African American Quaker by Avis Wanda McClinton.
- #1 White Narcissism by Ron McDonald.
- #5: Bum-Rush the Internet interview with Jon Watts.
- #4: Categorically Not the Testimonies by Eric Moon.
- #3: Are Quakers Christian, Non-Christian, or Both? by Anthony Manousos.
- #2: Quakerism Left Me by Betsy Blake.
- #1: We Think He Might Be a Boy by Su Penn.
- #5: The Safety of Silence by Lindsey Mead Russell.
- #4: Eight Questions on Convergent Friends, an interview with Robin Mohr.
- #3: Quakers Are Way Cooler Than You Think by Emma Churchman.
- #2: Homosexuality: A Plea to Read the Bible Together by Douglas C Bennett.
- #1: When Quaker Process Fails by John M. Coleman.