"The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the divers liveries they wear here makes them strangers." -- William Penn
Introductory and explanatory remarks. An invitation. The texts below have been carefully selected from my readings on Quakerism. Everything here has had a special impact on my thinking; each work stands out as important reference point for me. I've put them online so that they can be used by Seekers, those people who perpetually seek for a better way of living in the world. It seems unfortunate to me that these texts are difficult to obtain outside Quaker circles; I've scanned them for personal reference and their educational value. Please, when reading the texts below, keep in mind that they were primarily written by specific people in specific Quaker contexts. Some of the opinions may seem un-familiar or outdated. It's my view that they must be properly considered according to the measure of Light that they contain, no matter how murky they may seem. It's my hope that this use of the texts would suit their authors. May the merit of these works benefit all beings without exception.
Handout There is a PDF handout about this collection of texts available here.
We search the world for truth; We cull the good, the pure, the beautiful, From all old flower fields of the soul; And weary seekers of the best, We come back laden from our quest, To find that all the sages said, Is in the book our mothers read. John Greenleaf Whittier
The text now called Advices and Queries is a living cultural text. It dates back to the early record-keeping and soul searching of the early Quaker movement. Members of the Religious Society of Friends have always been strongly encouraged to consult them regularly, both in Meeting for Business and in private study. A randomized collection of readings is available here.
A method for regular reading of A&Q: It has helped me a great deal to read Advices and Queries with some frequency. To help keep my reading varied through out my long-term practice, and ensure that difficult queries get answered, I've adopted a simple method for keeping track of my place in the text. I've put a thin paperclip overtop of my 'current query'. When I finish my reading and reflection on the current query, I advance the paper-clip. This method makes sure that I am visited by the difficult queries.
A random method: It is also helpful to consult the Advices and Queries uniformly and at random. One selects a piece of text randomly, and ponders it. There is a random text selector available here. The randomizer has been helpful while travelling, or stuck without a paper copy. However, it has been my experience that reading them online is less satisfying than consulting the same text in a printed pamphlet.
An introduction to Quakerism in Canada as written by Margaret Springer of Waterloo, ON, and printed by Argenta Friends School Press, BC. (1978)
This seems to have been written during the "Golden Days of Canadian Quakerism". It was written outside a booming technical/applied university surrounded by Mennonite people, and printed at something like Quaker commune on the West Coast. At this time, large numbers of young families were bringing their children to Toronto Monthly Meeting, and there was already a functional community of activists in the Meeting House.
Written essay form of a forum discussion at Swarthmore by Teruyasa Tamura (1990)
This was written by a native Japanese from a town where a famous Zen monk had lived in the early nineteenth century. The pamphlet above was written after studying influence of Quakerism on American Liturature. The pamphlet seems to me to be the most deeply rooted Buddhist discussion of Buddhism and Quakerism.
Notes made for a Woodbrooke course by Gladys Wilson (1952)
A deeply humble and considerate discussion of the various periods in the history of the evolution of the form of worship practiced by the people known to the world as Quakers. This book treats a complicated theme. It studies the Quaker form of worship from a view inside of the Christian Church; Wilson converted to Quakerism from Anglicanism. It points out various periods of growth, degeneration, and fermentation in the history of Quaker worship. Sometimes it points out grave mis-directions and flaws in the people who were known as Quakers.
A book of essays by Thomas Kelly. (1941)
Note: While scanning this I took the liberty of making Douglas Steere's biographical memoir of Kelly in to an end note.
This is the book that made me love Quakerism. This was my introduction to the practical mysticism of the Society. Kelly's lyrical essays about devotion to the Eternal deeply moved me. This is a very dense text with many themes. It is stands out, like the Gospel of John, as both an ideal introduction to Quakerism and a mystical classic.
A Swarthmore Lecture by R. Duncan Fairn (1951)
This lecture captures something of post-war British optimism and hard headedness. Its author knows that the world can be dreadful, and that people ought to be decent. It seems to speak about terrible things from experience, and cracks jokes about beach manners. It speaks deeply my condition as a modern city dweller.
A pamphlet-manifesto by young and dissatisfied Americans written in Pomona, NY. Note: the cover was designed in Houston, TX. (1966)
A deeply critical and humourous pamphlet on the then-and-there contemporary Quakerism of 1960s New York. It was written by busy young youth; note that the five printing dates correspond closely to the academic calendar.
This book speaks deeply to my present condition, despite being written fifty years ago in another country. It seems to me that the authors were young people, tired of corporate bureaucracy who felt that they needed corporate worship. I could feel the writers straining against a prevailing sense of religious mis-direction in culture and The Society. The authors were Friends among Seekers.
A very pithy and soft pamphlet by Henry Cadbury (1981)
This pamphlet explains clearly a peculiar perspective on the Bible. Cadbury was a New Testament scholar, with a deep interest in the Bible, but does not bludgeon the reader with this fact. This short tract advocates slowly gaining familiarity with the Bible, while always knowing that it allows for progressive improvement and revelation.
Morse Mala. I made a special set of worry beads which I call my "Morse Code mala". The beads are photographed here. The main loop reads 'BE STILL' and the tail reads 'SOS'. The original morse mala fell apart after much use and was replaced by the mala pictured here.
This small collection of writings is compiled for educational and research purposes only. Please note that these writings come from many different times, and styles; they are presented here without annotation or uniformization. Read the text above cautiously; note when each was written. This is not an official act of service from CYM or TMM, or ctrl-c.club. This is entirely my own collection. Please use it for its intended purposes.