Living Fountain, The: Remembrances of Quaker Christianity
Renewing the Quaker Way
In the second decade of the twenty-first century, Quakers are increasingly divided over matters of theology, religious belonging, and the status of Friends’ Christian past. Recent controversies over Theism, Non-Theism and Universalism have highlighted deep-rooted transformations of Quaker self-understanding. In contrast to earlier decades, many contemporary Quakers hanker after an intensely inclusive community, unhampered by the particulars of Christian theology. Many British Friends no-longer see the Quaker movement as an expression of the Gospel nor a manifestation of the Universal Church. What might Friends be missing by re-imagining Quakerism in these resolutely post-Christian terms? Author Benjamin Wood argues that, far from limiting the bounds of Quaker identity, a selective return to Quakerism’s seventeenth-century roots can restore to modern Liberal Friends a shared story capable of deepening their spiritual life and worship-practice. Based neither on doctrinal agreement nor inflexible religious borders, the Quaker narrative recovered in The Living Fountain: Remembrances of Quaker Christianity is drawn together by sacred experiments in mutual love and enduring hope. Through a series of extended reflections on God, Jesus, and the language of salvation, Wood seeks to uncover a dynamic faith ncommitted to universal healing, reconciliation, and the crossing of religious and cultural boundaries. At the centre of this retrieval is the insistence that the God revealed in Quaker worship cherishes our differences and delights in our diversity.
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'Ben Wood offers a careful and deeply thought analysis of contemporary liberal Quakerism, and the difficulties this community has in articulating and living out a shared life together. Ben speaks unapologetically from a position centred on the God of the Christian tradition, whilst engaging seriously and respectfully with both non-theism and universalism. This book encourages Quakers to draw on the rich theological resources of their tradition, and appreciate the importance of a shared story. Ben offers a vision of a renewed, countercultural faith that more honestly contains the diversity of belief that Quakers value so highly. I highly recommend this important contribution to Quaker theological thought.' ~ Mark Russ, Author of Quaker Shaped Christianity and blogger at jollyquaker.com
Ben Wood's powerful, eloquent and learned appeal on behalf of the rich tradition of Quaker Christianity will nourish and challenge anyone - Quaker or non-Quaker - who wants to understand the story of Quakerism and look towards its next chapters. ~ Professor Rachel Muers, University of Leeds, Department of Theology and Religious Studies
A truly heartfelt book that deserves the engagement of all those interested in the Quaker Way and indeed the future of faith. ~ Ben Pink Dandelion, Professor of Quaker Studies, University of Birmingham