Among Friends November 2013

An Invitation to the Table

In “Out of Darkness into Light” (p. 17), Maurine Pyle, a linguist, writes of Quakers’ common habit of using metaphor to describe and discuss religious experience. The metaphor that comes to mind as I contemplate the wonderful and constantly replenished body of Quaker writing is a particularly seasonal one.

Let us think of our volume of writing as a cornucopia, a horn of plenty—overflowing with colorful vegetables, ripe fruits, hearty grains, and the rest of the earth’s bounty. The staff and volunteers of Friends Journal are a kitchen full of master chefs, steeped in a philosophy not unlike that of, say, Alice Waters of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, the so-called “Mother of Slow Food.” We honor the source and authenticity of what we prepare. We focus on quality and aim to inspire excitement and fulfillment. We treat the guests in our dining room as we would family, communing in grateful appreciation of the blessings which we have been fortunate to receive, and which we hope to share with others.

Please, be our guests. I’m glad that you’ve joined us for the chefs’ tasting menu.

We begin with a range of amuse-bouches in the Forum, incorporating ingredients as diverse as text-messaging and the Atonement.

As an entrée, we have Pyle’s fascinating study of how Friends use metaphor, particularly the classic “dark and light.” She has interviewed Quakers from a variety of backgrounds to tease out the nuances of this imagery in our spiritual lives.

Our plats principaux include Thomas Hamm (“The Best Written Code,” p. 10) on the fascinating evolution of Quaker books of Discipline and Faith and Practice, and their place in different corners of the Society over time.

We have a delightful and evocative salade composée by Barbara Harroun (“Reading and Writing My Way,” p. 6), including an introduction that brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye as I thought about the powerful place of reading and writing in my own life.

And of course, as befits an issue focused on books and writing, the grand plateau de fromages: 23 book titles and 1 DVD reviewed, including the new First-day school curriculum Sparkling Still. You’ll also enjoy 15 reading recommendations from young adult Quakers.

If you have room for dessert, please peruse our display and classified advertisements and consider whether what they offer speaks to your condition.

In this season of thanks, I want to extend mine to you. Thank you for being a reader, and especially for sharing Friends Journal with those who might join us as subscribers. Bon appétit!

Yours in peace,
Gabriel Ehri
Executive Director

Gabriel Ehri

Gabriel Ehri is Executive Director of Friends Journal.

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