IN BRIEF: Seeking the Light: A Quaker Journey for Quakers and Non-Quakers

By Linda Seger. Self-published, 2023. 329 pages. $12.99/paperback; $2.99/eBook.

Writing in a conversational style, Linda Seger introduces Quakerism to non-Quakers by referring to the 1956 film Friendly Persuasion, based on a 1945 Jessamyn West book about a family of Friends who grapple with the ethical issues raised by their pacifist convictions during the U.S. Civil War. She also notes several famous Quakers such as singer Bonnie Raitt and author James Michener.

In later chapters, Seger explains the spiritual significance of Light and silence to Quakers. She notes how holding someone in the Light can lead to compassion and peace, but also acknowledges that relationships can be challenging.

We all have some conflicts along the way of life with people who either rub us the wrong way, do us wrong, deceive us, betray us, get under our skin, goad us, don’t appreciate us, or make our lives miserable with their toxicity. The temptation is to rage against them, belittle them, blame them, demean them, or ignore them. We might even deny the truth about the terrible impact this negativity can have if we don’t confront it in one way or another.

In these cases, Quakers can imagine the other person surrounded by Light, a spiritual exercise that can lead to inner peace and prevent worshipers from holding grudges.

Seger includes comparisons and contrasts from Friends who practice Buddhist meditation in addition to Quaker waiting worship.

She describes visualizations she uses during worship, including one in which she rides down an imaginary elevator that takes her into spiritual depths. When she leaves the elevator, she meets a contemporarily dressed Jesus figure, in whom she confides and who gives her caring advice before they walk together into a vibrant ray of light.

The book offers an accessible and engaging introduction to Quakerism for curious non-Friends as well as those new to the faith.

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