A spiritual path for our time: simple, radical and contemporary
Would you dare to live your life open to new light (or truth) from wherever it comes? Are you willing to accept the equality of all humanity, treating everyone with respect? Is yours a sacramental vision that does not allow you to despoil the earth or neglect or kill anyone? Could you trust your experience as prime evidence for the Divine without caging the Spirit in man-made dogma?To see what life would be like if your answers are Yes! then the voices of these twelve Quakers will speak to you. For they follow a way that embraces maximum spirituality with minimum religion. Their spiritual path is as simple, radical and contemporary as it was when it began over 350 years ago. Having guarded probably the best kept spiritual secret in the world, because of their refusal to proselytise, Quakers now feel, in the face of climate change and religious extremism, this is the time to speak out and share a way that is tolerant, liberal and compassionate: a way that makes life meaningful, happy and helps to heal the world.The voices of this book belong to Quakers who for the past six years have been running a series of open meetings for spiritual seekers, and have spoken from their own experience on the topics covered by this book.
Click on the circles below to see more reviews
This elegant collection of "Quaker voices" has been evolving since 2004, and a series of publications on which the editor has drawn represent the views of 18 Quakers on seven topics which are of key interest for Quakers. Within each section the editor draws on the writings of 12 anonymous Quakers reflecting on the six questions enquirers most frequently ask: What is God? Why pacifism? Who is Jesus? How are we equal? What about evil? Is simplicity possible? Meeting for Worship? This book is spreading the quiet gospel of Quakerism to a wider audience. ~ Christopher Bagley, Universalist
Kavanagh is credited as the editor for this book, compiling the wise words of twelve members of the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers, as they are more commonly known, into a revealing and enlightening book. New Light illuminates the spiritual philosophy of this 350-year-old Christian society with a modern feel. From reading this book it becomes very apparent that the Quaker movement is perhaps the truest embodiment of Christianity as promoted by Christ's earliest followers. The Quaker approach to Christianity is one of spiritual growth and of a personal relationship with God. In some respects it is very similar to the Gnostic approach to Christianity. This is an interesting and relevant book that has much to offer the seeker of spiritual knowledge. ~ , High Spirit Magazine
Here are twelve Quakers...reflecting briefly on the six questions enquirers most frequently ask: What is God? Why pacifism? Who is Jesus? How are we equal? What about evil? Is simplicity possible? And finally Meeting for Worship. [This book] is an excellent way both of introducing the Quaker way to interested enquirers and also of helping long-standing Quakers keep questing. As the first contribution has it: "I believe that each of us...must be open to the light, which may mean that we discard long cherished understandings or make surprising and entrancing discoveries." New Light could shine into the newest and the oldest Quaker hearts through the reflections in this book. ~ Claire Disbrey, the Friend
...There were times while reading New Light: 12 Quaker Voices when I felt as if I were vicariously participating in a Meeting for Worship. One can read these testimonies from beginning to end or just select one randomly. Either way, you cannot go astray by pretending as you read that you are sitting with the speakers in worship. Take time to reflect on the testimonies. Let their insight and wisdom nurture your spirit. ~ Bob Marvos, The Western Friend
For centuries the Quakers have been the single most important radical Christian group. The Quaker Quest shows that they are still very much in business today. I commend this book New Light warmly. ~ Don Cupitt,, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
I warmly commend this excellent insightful collection of challenging reflections on central theological and moral themes. They shed valuable light and deserve a very wide readership. ~ Feargus O'Connor, Hon. Secretary, World Congress of Faiths, minister to Golders Green Unitarians
This book contains an enormous amount that is challenging, reassuring and informative. The format is excellent. A number of different voices are heard exploring a range of topics vital ... to the place of faith in the modern world. This Quaker Quest raises challenging questions as well as exploring possible ways through challenging territory. After reading this book, I felt that I had ... acquired some sure-footed guides ready to walk the way of faith and discipleship with robust honesty, open-hearted charity and true generosity of spirit. ~ John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln
The new book "New Light: 12 Quaker voices" is a delight. It is not surprising in this uncertain world that the voice of those who dig deep into their own souls to find light and truth speaks so clearly to us today. The early Methodists insisted on the authority of Christian experience. Our Quaker friends draw us to the authority of the inner journey of the Spirit of God. We are drawn to the inside of their approach in understanding the mystery of God and of Evil, of Jesus and Worship, of Equality and Pacifism - to name but some of the themes explored here. This is a challenge to us all who rely more objectively on the given authorities as in the Bible or Tradition not to think we can escape into them from the duty we have to dig deep into our own hearts. ~ John Gladwin, Bishop of Chelmsford
"In this book, we are given varied and thought-provoking Quaker views on a series of important topics related both to belief and to practice. It is this undogmatic intertwining of faith and practice that makes the Quaker view of things so unique and valuable, and as relevant today as it has been in the past. This...will be a valuable resource for those who wish to reflect on their faith and practice, whether a newcomer to Quakerism or an experienced member of a Quaker Meeting. Particularly helpful is that they are each short and to the point, with the different viewpoints illuminating each topic from a variety of perspectives." ~ George Ellis, FRS, Cosmologist, Emeritus Professor of Complex Systems, Mathematics Department, University of Cape Town. Winner of the Templeton Prize, and Star of South Africa.
Anyone wanting to gain an insight into the range of Quaker beliefs would do well to read this engaging anthology of Quaker experience. I was very moved by the honesty and openness of the contributors on such thorny questions as pacifism, evil, simplicity and their understanding of God. The tone is far from preachy, and I was helped greatly in my own understanding of the spiritual life. ~ Harvey Gillman, author of A Light that is Shining
If you want to know what Quakers think about a variety of the core issues of our day, this is the book for you! As you read, you'll agree, you'll argue, you might even write your own version... ~ Beth Allen, Author of Ground and Spring, Swarthmore lecturer 2007