Bob Dockhorn on Carol Faulkner’s Lucretia Mott’s Heresy, Tom Hamm on Elizabeth Taylor Stirredge’s Strength in Weakness Manifest, and more
Lucretia Mott’s Heresy: Abolition and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America
By Carol Faulkner. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. 291 pages. $45/hardcover.
Even though I have a high appreciation for the legacy of Lucretia Mott (1793–1880), I probably would never have gotten around to reading Lucretia Mott’s Heresy if Carol Faulkner hadn’t been speaking at the annual meeting of Friends Historical Association last November on the same day I was at Arch Street Meetinghouse in Philadelphia for another meeting. I stayed for her presentation, and after sensing from her talk that Lucretia still has some very important lessons for us today, I bought the book.
Prior to Faulkner’s book, the best-known study of Mott was Margaret Hope Bacon’s well-written and very readable Valiant Friend: The Life of Lucretia Mott, published in 1980. I found Faulkner somewhat unfair to Bacon when, in her acknowledgments, she quotes a teacher who asked, “Can you believe there is no scholarly biography of Mott?” Faulkner then invokes that comment as “the first spark for this book.” Nonetheless, Faulkner’s careful, meticulously footnoted monograph is very welcome. It relies heavily on the extant records of Mott’s speeches, as well as on her extensive correspondence with family, friends, and other leaders in the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. One of Mott’s virtues was her ability to maintain friendships—or at least cordiality—with others, even those with whom she had substantial disagreements on some issues. Although Lucretia Mott’s Heresy is not nearly as flowing in style as Bacon’s biography, it has the virtue of enabling the reader to see more precisely the contours of Mott’s place in history.
Mott stood at the intersection of two great 19th-century movements: the abolition of slavery and women’s rights. For Faulkner—as indeed for Mott herself—the word “heresy” aptly expresses Mott’s non-adherence to the standard beliefs of her times. Her involvement in both movements had the same source: her clarity about human rights in general. This had roots in her Nantucket Island origins, her education at Nine Partners Boarding School in New York, and the ministry of Elias Hicks.
Faulkner leads the reader through the intricacies of the Orthodox-Hicksite split in Quakerism after 1827. For Mott, the fact that the Bible did not speak in favor of women’s rights or against slavery in unambiguous terms convinced her that the Light Within held primacy over the Bible as the source of divine inspiration. But Mott was no partisan; as Faulkner writes, “Mott viewed these arbitrary sectarian boundaries as a detriment to true religion.” Although criticized even by fellow Hicksites for her activism, Mott remained loyal to her faith tradition and rejected the “come-outerism” of some of her contemporaries, who renounced their allegiance to religious bodies because of their unwillingness to take clear moral stands and support activism against slavery or for women’s rights.
Mott played a key role in the women’s rights movement, culminating in her leadership at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, but her speeches and writings leave no doubt that the abolitionist movement was her central focus. She was clear that the injustices and brutality of slavery required priority in her attention. She called for immediate abolition and opposed such gradualist solutions as purchasing the freedom of individual slaves. She also opposed the moral compromise of reimbursing slaveholders as a means to end the institution.
In regard to women’s rights, she was somewhat equivocal about the importance of women’s suffrage, which, I suspect, could have been related to her appreciation for Friends decision making without voting, a perspective that Faulkner, apparently not a Quaker, does not explore.
Mott was not opposed to the possible break-up of the United States. Faulkner writes: “A disunionist who distrusted party politics and condemned political compromise, Lucretia was only too happy to bid farewell to slave states.” Then she adds, “The fact that Mott was willing to leave slaves at the mercy of their masters suggested that perhaps she privileged her own purity over the welfare of those in bondage.” This I take to be a serious misunderstanding of Mott. However, Faulkner clarifies, “But she also believed that disunion would lead to the disintegration of the South’s peculiar institution,” which I think gets closer to an understanding of Mott’s values and perception of how change takes place.
During and after the Civil War, Mott held firm to her perspective that it was not military action in the war that promoted emancipation, but the “moral suasion” of abolitionists—the “moral war against the great system of American slavery.” Mott further understood fully that the nominal end of slavery did not end the oppression of African Americans, for which full civil rights and social acceptance were required.
After the experience of the Civil War, Mott became involved in the movement to end war. She worked with the Universal Peace Union and the Pennsylvania Peace Society. These involvements were a natural extension of her commitment to nonviolence as the true agent of change.
There are ways in which I felt Faulkner could have been more helpful to the general reader. It was easy to lose the threads of the different abolitionist movements and confuse them. Also, I would have liked a better explanation of the context of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution than the few words that Faulkner offers. There were times when I felt she expected her readers to be fully versed in the history of the times. On the other hand, I appreciated that Faulkner included discussion of topics like contraception, free divorce, and free love, as well as of Mott’s peculiar interest in phrenology, rooted in her predilection for scientific explanations for human motivations that negated old superstitions.
I have come away from this book with an appreciation for what was vital to Mott’s astounding success as a promoter of reform. Her activism gave substance to her work, but what was so powerful was her clarity and steady judgment on the great moral issues of her time, spoken incessantly, with great precision and tenderness.
Robert Dockhorn, a member of Green Street Meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., recently retired from the staff of Friends Journal. Trained as a historian, he is preparing a general commentary on contemporary trends.
Strength in Weakness Manifest
By Elizabeth Stirredge. Ed. by T.H.S. Wallace. Camp Hill, Pa.: Foundation Publications, 2011. vi + 172 pp. Appendixes, notes, and bibliography. Paperback.
Elizabeth Taylor Stirredge (1634-1706) is a now largely forgotten early Public Friend. A native of Gloucestershire, of Puritan parents, in 1654 she heard the preaching of John Audland, one of the “Valiant Sixty” come down from the North of England. Audland had the same effect on Stirredge that George Fox had on Margaret Fell. As Stirredge remembered it: “As soon as I heard his voice, it pierced me and when I came into the Meeting and heard his testimony and beheld his solid countenance—oh!—how my heart was troubled within me.” A year later, the ministry of another well-known Friend, William Dewsbury, sealed her commitment to Quakerism. A decade later, Stirredge herself emerged in ministry, speaking in meetings for worship with regularity.
Three themes run through this work, which is partly autobiography, partly exhortation. The first is spiritual struggle. Stirredge keeps constantly before her readers her own spiritual inadequacy. God, Christ, and Satan are equally real in her life. She contends again and again with the last, who tries to fill her “heart with thoughts and imaginations.” But the ultimate note is one of triumph: “Many various straits and hardships has the Lord my redeemer brought me through, which, when I look back and consider, I am filled with admiration, in consideration how my soul has escaped to this very day.”
The second theme is warning. Early Friends faced bouts of persecution, and Stirredge was imprisoned more than once. Stirredge was nothing if not brave—in 1670 she felt led to bear a warning against persecution to King Charles II, and more than once she confronted judges and local officials to bear witness against their actions. The last section of the book consists of Stirredge’s exhortations, first to the people of Bristol and then to all of the people of England, to give up their sinful ways and repent.
The final theme is sorrow over the most serious schism among Friends in George Fox’s lifetime, the Story-Wilkinson controversy of the 1670s. John Story and John Wilkinson were Public Friends who broke with George Fox over women’s business meetings (they opposed them) and response to persecution (they wanted to meet secretly). Stirredge was unfaltering in her opposition to the two, but they had significant support in Bristol, where Stirredge lived.
Wallace sees in Stirredge not just a historically interesting figure, but one whose experiences should still resonate with Friends. His editing is often pointed; the introduction includes a scathing critique of postmodernism, and of historian Phyllis Mack’s reading of Stirredge in her influential book, Visionary Women (1992). He also reveals a strongly Christocentric vision that this reviewer shares, but which some Friends will not. Whatever our differences about contemporary Quaker belief, a wide variety of readers should find Stirredge’s life meaningful and moving.
Thomas D. Hamm is professor of history and director of special collections at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. A member of Indiana Yearly Meeting, his most recent book is Quaker Writings, 1650–1920, published in 2011 by Penguin Classics.
The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women
By Deborah J. Swiss. Berkley Books, 2010. 333 pages. Illustrations, endnotes, bibliography, index. $24.95/Hardcover.
Through the carefully researched lives and imagined details of several poverty-stricken women who chose crime over starvation, the author memorializes some 25,000 women and children transported from Great Britain to Van Diemen’s Land (later named Tasmania). Their crimes were often petty theft. The government hoped to populate the colony by providing women for the male convicts already there. The resilience, strength, and determination of these women, first to survive and then to forge a better life for themselves and their children, helped Australia lead the modern world in equal rights for women. But their story is not why this book is being reviewed for Friends Journal. Elizabeth Gurney Fry, intrepid prison reformer, appears in the book. We are used to almost hagiographic accounts of Elizabeth’s determined work. Those who have read her diaries (or books based on them) glimpse her as a sometimes absent mother who denied her own children the carefree life she had as a girl. This book sees Elizabeth through the eyes of female prisoners in Newgate and on the convict ships.
The clean, simple clothing Elizabeth and her volunteers gave the women was very much appreciated. Learning how “to sew clothing, knit socks, and make patchwork quilts” was better than the chaos and boredom experienced by the 300 petty thieves, murderers, mentally ill, and sick women and children who were crowded into dark, damp, impossibly small quarters in Newgate. But the Bible reading and prayers made little impression on many for whom religion had played no part in their lives, although at least it entertained. As soon as the Quakers left, “drinking resumed, hidden card decks magically appeared, and fights ensued.” This is not the usual picture offered of Fry’s work.
Over the years, Fry visited 106 convict ships containing about half the women who were transported. The sketch of her arrival, prayers, and lengthy sermon is rather unsympathetic. Fry presented a bag of sewing things and a small Bible to each woman, most of whom were illiterate. It was her suggestion to hang a tin “ticket” with a number stamped on it around the neck of each convict woman. It made record keeping easier for the administrators, but robbed the women of their names.
Some of Fry’s suggestions for prison reform, such as female matrons for women prisoners, were implemented, but her insistence that kindness rather than cruel punishment worked better for reformation was ignored. She organized a school for the young children imprisoned with their mothers, taught sewing and supplied materials, then enabled the women to sell what they made, even setting up a small shop inside the jail where they could buy sugar, tea, and meat. She lobbied for “barracks” for the convict women who landed in Australia awaiting assignment as indentured servants, even though too soon these Female Factories became dreadful places of imprisonment and hard labor. Fry did not transcend her culture’s abhorrence of illegitimacy, apparently unable to comprehend the reality of rape or abandonment by the fathers.
Although the author carefully researched the convict and court records, she misses on clothing details. She dresses Elizabeth Fry in 1813 and 1818 in multiple starched crinolines at the height of slim, Jane Austen-style Empire gowns. Later, in 1838 she has Fry again in modish clothing; apparently, Swiss is unfamiliar with Quaker dress even though she does include the well-known painting, “Elizabeth Fry Entering Newgate with Mary Sanderson.” Such an obvious mistake, although minor, opens other details to questioning.
Although Fry didn’t exhibit all of today’s sensitivities, she was ahead of her time in many ways and, with the help of her Ladies Associations, did a great deal to ameliorate the lot of poor women caught in a vicious system. The Tin Ticket is a good read that vividly reveals through personal stories this horrific system as well as the courage of its survivors and its reformers.
Marty Grundy, a Quaker historian, is a member of Cleveland Meeting, Lake Erie Yearly Meeting.
This Will Be Remembered of Her
By Megan McKenna. Wm. B. Erdsman Publishing Co., July 2011. 224 pages. $15.00/paperback.
In This Will Be Remembered of Her, Megan McKenna challenges the slogan, “Anonymous was a woman.” Sharing fables, folktales, biographies, and Bible stories, she names and celebrates dozens of women who have made a difference.
The reason, of course, that anonymous was a woman is that women have been much more easily ignored and forgotten in our culture. McKenna says Jesus of Nazareth contravenes this practice when he “defends, protects, stands with, and praises women in public.” After a woman ministered to him before his death, Jesus commanded that “this will be remembered of her” for all time (Matthew 24:18). Paradoxically, her name has been forgotten, but McKenna claims biblical scholars have determined she is in fact named Salome. The book’s purpose is to “re-member” a story of humanity that includes the significant contributions of woman. Friends will appreciate this support for our commitment to value women equally with men.
Remembered is written in what I consider a womanly style. McKenna streams consciousness rather than logically telling her tales. As women often do, she savors telling stories. She frames each heroine’s story within a larger narrative to give context. Women tend to look for relationship; McKenna focuses on how her characters connect to one another and to their environment.
The women in these pages range from servants to queens, from lone crusaders to founders of global movements. The youngest I recall was Sophie Scholl, executed at age 21 for anti-war activism in Munich during World War II. One of the oldest was Dorothy Stang, murdered at 73 for organizing farmers in Brazil over a 40-year period. Many women in this book gave their lives to make change. May their legacy continue.
What gifts come from remembering these women? Three stand out: the power of relationships, the inspiration to act, and evidence that we make a difference.
Women tend to love connections. The author describes how Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace prize for environmentalism, related poverty to the breach in women’s bond to the land. Nicole Sotelo explained in her “Column/Opinion” in the National Catholic Reporter that battlefield violence spills over into domestic violence. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, wrote to McKenna that our “criminal neglect of the poor” leads to homeland insecurity.
McKenna inspires us with stories of courage and powerful quotations. Kathe Kollwitz wrote, “The important thing . . . is to hold one’s banner high and to struggle. . . .” Barack Obama acknowledges he “stole” Dolores Huerta’s slogan, “Si, se puede,” which translates, “Yes, we can!” Arundhati Roy prophesies, “Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Some stories confirm the power of a single woman: Marthe Dortel-Clodot, who initiated Pax Christi; Catherine of Siena, who gained the ear of the Pope in the 1300s; Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, who became the hub of Jesus’ ministry, opening her home to all.
If I had one regret about this book, it is that the women are all, in some sense, social justice activists. I would love to read a companion volume remembering women who have shaped the world through raising children, teaching, nursing, art, farming, homemaking. So often not only the names but the work of such women is devalued and utterly forgotten. How might it change our world if all these accomplishments were remembered of her?
Robin Mallison Alpern, a member of Scarsdale Meeting, Purchase Quarter, NYYM, is a lifelong Quaker. Also a lifelong female.
Clothe Yourself in Righteousness (But First, Get Naked)
By Maggie Harrison. 34 pages. 2011. $5/Pamphlet.
Clothe Yourself In Righteousness
By Jon Watts with Marina Vishnyakova on violin, 2011. $15/CD.
With his latest album, Clothe Yourself In Righteousness, Jon Watts has refined his poetic spoken-word style to a fine point that, married with Marina Vishnyakova’s soaring violin melodies, creates a form of acoustic hip-hop that fans of indie rock, classical and folk music will find accessible. Together with voice and violin, Watts’s guitar and the occasional piano round out the sound.
Watts’s lyrics explore his familiar themes of gentle fierceness, brokenness, and vulnerability, and on this CD, he applies them to early Friends’ practice of “going naked as a sign,” as well as to modern Quaker sensibilities and universal human struggles. This meeting place is a rich paydirt of spiritual challenges further illuminated (clearly and hilariously) by Maggie Harrison’s pamphlet, “Clothe Yourself in Righteousness (But First, Get Naked),” which accompanies the CD.
Harrison begins by mourning the loss of a common symbolic language among Friends and by offering her first of several challenges for contemporary Friends to go deeper into our own history, tradition and texts as a way of deepening our modern faith and witness. Then, she offers the example of early Friends who, faithful to unwelcome leadings, literally took off their clothes in public in order to shake up a society that they felt was failing to be Christian, both by a lack of obedience to Spirit (a kind of nakedness of Divine covering) and also by wearing a corrupt, worldly religion that was actually separating them from the Truth. So the literal nakedness of Friends was meant to elder viewers into living their faith more deeply. The implications of following the example of radical faithfulness set by these early Friends is, as Harrison states in her postscript, not only inspiring, but also, “scary as hell.” The message of her pamphlet, as well as the songs on the album, move beyond sharing little-known Quaker history to a deep spiritual call for contemporary Friends to get metaphorically naked before God and to allow ourselves to be clothed by Spirit, “this time with characteristics of Divine reconciliation such, as Power, Love, Courage, Peace, etc.”
Neither Watts nor Harrison promises it will be easy, but they represent the reason I feel incredibly gifted to be a part of this generation of Young Adult Friends who are willing to constantly question where God is moving in our communities and in our lives, a challenge that comes out of a deep love for this tradition we share. You can hear it in this music and these words, a love song to Quakerism, alongside the push to go deeper.
This is the power and the relevance of the spiritual symbol of Nakedness, a casting off of whatever comes between ourselves and Truth, which is the same idea that later turned into our testimony of simplicity. The conversation about how we can go deeper and become more truly faithful witnesses in this complex, contemporary world continues in the blogs hosted on the clothe-yourself-in-righteousness website, which have recently stirred up a lively discussion in Quaker Facebook Groups and among Friends of all ages.
Patricia Morrison attends Mountain View Friends Meeting in Denver, CO and is currently serving as clerk of the Young Adult Friends of Intermountain Yearly Meeting. She is a singer/songwriter and founder of Inner Fire, Outer Light, which helps closet creatives to reclaim their creativity and refuel their lives.
Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America
By Cameron McWhirter. Henry Holt, 2011. 352 pages. $32.50/hardback.
Red Summer is not “an easy read.” In fact, it is a very difficult “read,” for it opens the eyes and minds of people of African and European descent alike to the unimaginable cruelties inflicted on African Americans between April and November 1919. Even in the twentieth century in both the North and South, African Americans were “kept in their place” through intimidation, denial of civil rights, hideous lynchings, other forms of murder, and rampant terrorism. Like the recent work, Slavery By Another Name by Douglas Blackmon, Cameron McWhirter’s book holds up to the light the utter untruth that slavery ended after the Civil War.
When I’ve mentioned to friends this book’s topic—the bloody summer of 1919—they have not, sad to say, been surprised at the bloodiness. But they have been surprised by the year—1919. Why 1919? The Civil War was long past and African Americans had rights (yes?). No.
Of all that I learned in the research for Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship, what has moved me the most is how little truth there is in the common belief that the end of slavery brought equal opportunity to the formerly enslaved. Underlying that assumption is, I think, an implication that if African Americans are still struggling, it is their own fault. After all, they were freed almost 150 years ago! Officially slavery ended; unofficially it continued into the 1900s in share-cropping, purposefully unequal education, discrimination in job and housing opportunities, the practical impossibility of voting, “Jim Crow” codes, and illegal forced labor, all held in place by the lynchings and terrorism McWhirter describes.
As it happens in history, several factors came together to make 1919 particularly violent. For one, thousands of Southerners of African descent left home during and after World War I, propelled by crop failures and lured by the promise of jobs due to the war-time shortage of factory workers. Between 1910 and 1920 the African American population in the North and West grew by 333,000, mostly in urban areas. Secondly, among that flood of African Americans were thousands of veterans ready to enjoy the equality they had earned by serving in the military. Instead, they found themselves in the midst of conflict between factory owners and the much-despised union organizers. This was the third element, that African Americans were unknowingly being enticed to places like Chicago, Omaha, or San Francisco to be strike breakers.
The geography of the race riots spread wide: Chicago; Knoxville; Omaha; San Francisco; Longview, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Bisbee, Arizona; Elaine and El Dorado, Arkansas; Wilmington, Delaware; and New London, Connecticut. In these cities it was labor unrest, and very often the arrival of imported strike breakers, that spawned the violence: burning African American churches, businesses and homes, sometimes with people inside; shooting sprees in neighborhoods; beatings of men and women who were simply walking home from work.
In the South the “red summer” ran across the lower South and up to South Carolina and Virginia. Again the scenarios were familiar: a black man would be charged with and jailed for a “crime” (defined arbitrarily—a glance or comment perceived as disrespectful and/or involving a white woman). Then word of the alleged deed would spread and crowds would turn into mobs surrounding a jail and intent on revenge.
Time and time again the accused would be dragged out of jail, hung on a nearby tree, set afire, and used as a target. The sight attracted even more spectators, often smiling and laughing adults and children immortalized on souvenir postcards sold later (Red Summer includes a section of photographs). For years, pleas for help were ignored by authorities fearful of opposing the crowds (their own neighbors) or, like President Woodrow Wilson, for their political careers.
But another response also began to form in this “bloody summer.” In 1919 African Americans who had not initiated violence began to defend themselves when attacked. This is the “Awakening of Black America” in the title, especially embodied in the growth in 1919 of the ten-year-old National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which doubled in size to nearly 100,000 in that year. African American newspapers and NAACP speakers became a force for their people’s rights, laying groundwork for the Civil Rights movement to come. The new activism was blamed on foreign radicals; President Wilson warned of “hyphenated Americans [who] have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life. . . .”
Distressed by the epidemic of violence, the NAACP and others sought anti-lynching laws from Congress. Adding a Quaker note, the American Friends Service Committee and committees of Philadelphia Friends supported NAACP anti-lynching proposals for decades. A few bills passed the House, but southern filibustering assured that none of the two hundred submitted to the Senate ever passed. In 2005 the Senate formally apologized for its failure to make lynching illegal all those years.
McWhirter’s well-written and thoroughly researched work tells truths about the death or wounding of hundreds of African Americans and millions of dollars in damage to their property, another phenomenon on which history texts are silent. If we are to speak truth to power, McWhirter gives us vital truths to confront. His book may help European-American Friends understand better how heavily the past can weigh on African Americans. My hope is that it will also inspire conversations with our Quaker brothers and sisters of African descent willing to explore territory that is often easier to avoid.
Donna Bowen McDaniel, a member of Framingham (Mass.) Friends Meeting (New England Yearly Meeting), is co-author with Vanessa Julye of Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship: Quakers, African Americans, and the Myth of Racial Justice, published by Quaker Press in 2009. A freelance writer and editor with a special concern for promoting racial justice, she welcomes opportunities to facilitate dialogues on topics like those in Red Summer and Fit for Freedom with Friends and non-Quakers alike. Her e-mail: [email protected]
(check these against the book log, some look familiar and I think we’ve published reviews for them before. An article by Judith Brown on Yunus emre’s poems definitely got feature treatment sometime last year, we probablly mentioned her book in her bio. there, if not in the article.)
Sufi Flights: Poems of Yunus Emre
Translated by Judith Reynolds Brown and Nuket Ersoy. Self-published, 2010. 124 pages. $24.25/Hardcover.
Friends Journal poetry editor Judy Brown brings a lesser-known Sufi poet to the English-speaking audience in this translation from Turkish. These poems were sung during the poet’s lifetime and only later written down. Like other Sufi poetry, they celebrate the ecstatic experience of transcendent universal love.
A Peace of Africa
By David Zarembka. Madera Press, 2011. 316 pages. $25.00/Paperback.
Quaker David Zarembka has decades of experience studying and living in Africa. He has been the coordinator of the African Great Lakes Initiative since 1998. In this memoir, which includes photos throughout and a glossary at the end, the author provides analysis of current situations, African culture, the role of peacemakers, the role of the West, and personal stories.
Finding Sara: A Daughter’s Journey
By Margaret Edds. Butler Books, 2010. 304 pages. $15.00/Paperback.
This memoir is the product of research mainly using hundreds of letters written by and to the author’s mother, who died unexpectedly when Friend Margaret Edds was a young child. It is a view into America in the 1940s, but above all, the author’s gradual discovery of the real person she might have known. It includes a section at the end with steps for “(Re)Discovering Your Mother.”
The Collected Essays of Maurice Creasey, 1912-2004: The Social Thought of a Quaker Thinker
Edited by David Johns. Edwin Mellen Press, 2011. 422 pages. $169.95/Hardcover.
Earlham School of Religion professor David Johns edited this scholarly collection, which introduces a British Friend who was director of studies at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in the mid-twentieth century. His theology concerned itself with one of the signal problems of the twentieth century: how to include both tradition and new knowledge and experience in religion.
By Elizabeth L. Bewley. Dog Ear Publishers, 2010. 182 pages. $19.95/Paperback.
The purpose of this collection of true stories, is to educate readers on taking charge of their own health care. Gaps in the “system” and often erroneous assumptions about patients can have damaging and even deadly results. Written by a Quaker who is also a physician.
A Life of Search
By D. Elton Trueblood. Edited by James R. Newby. Friends United Press, 2009. 127 pages. $12.00/Paperback.
This volume is a second printing of five selected but undated essays by D. Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), who was a professor at Earlham College. The essays, each with a study guide, deal with Trueblood’s search in following Christ, but he does not identify himself as a Quaker within any of the texts. Editor James Newby is also a Trueblood biographer.
Lazarus, Come Forth!
By John Dear. Orbis Books, 2011. 177 pages. $20.00/paperback.
This latest book by Jesuit priest and prolific author John Dear is subtitled, How Jesus Confronts the Culture of Death and Invites Us Into the New Life of Peace. The triumph of life with compassion, nonviolence and universal love is resurrection itself. The resurrection of Lazarus, told in the gospel of John, signifies Jesus’ presence as the power to live a life freed from the fear of death and violence. Resurrection is into the power of living now, not later, in the grace of God. Reflection questions follow the text.
The Community of the Ark, Twentieth Anniversary Edition
By Mark Shepard. Simple Productions, 2011. 57 pages. $12.50/Paperback.
Author Mark Shepard visited and photographed this utopian community in France in 1979 (the book was originally published in 1990). The Community of the Ark (L’Arche in French) was founded by Lanza del Vasto to model the teachings of Gandhi. Shepard’s visit in this remote area lasted six weeks; at that time the community comprised over 100 people. Founder del Vasto spent several months with Gandhi, whom he had sought out in response to his distress over past and future violence in Europe. Del Vasto founded the Community in the 1930s as his own spirit-led response to the world’s injustices and violence.