On Monday 7th December, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre hosted the online launch of my new book, 'Quaker Shaped Christianity'. Over 50 people attended from all over the world. Thank you to everyone who attended! The first part of the launch was recorded and is now available to watch. The recording includes a conversation between myself and Woodbrooke tutor Stuart Masters, followed by a short reading of the book.
I’m presenting the BBC Radio 4 Daily Service again, this time on Wednesday 7th December at 9.45 GMT, BBC Radio 4 LW.
I hear, through social media, the letters page of the Friend, and conversations with Quakers in my Meeting, a steady trickle of Quaker voices rejecting various bits of religious vocabulary, including “prayer”, “faith”, and particularly the word "worship". This is framed in terms of "inclusivity", even "radical inclusivity". The more religious words we eliminate from our vocabulary, the more inclusive we will be of those who are put off by religion. As someone who longs for a rich shared theology, I don't experience it as inclusion.
I'm really pleased to say I’ll be presenting the BBC Radio 4 Daily Service again, this time on Tuesday 1st November at 9.45 GMT, BBC Radio 4 LW.
I recently met with fellow Quaker theologian Ben Wood to talk about our upcoming books that both reflect on Quakerism and Christianity. We originally meant our conversation to be one long video, but after recording we realised it’d be better offered as a series of three shorter podcast episodes. So in this first part of our conversation we talk about what prompted us to write our books, our difficulties with universalism and our approaches to Jesus.
Quakers in the past may have had a ‘testimony against times and seasons’, but this is no longer true in Britain today. Many Quaker meetings, including my own, will have Christmas-themed worship in December. We have abandoned referring to Monday as ‘second day’ and June as ‘sixth month’, except in some formal documents like marriage certificates. In practice the testimony has fallen away, but nothing positive has replaced it. We find ourselves in a half-way house, with no clear corporate answer on the place of times and seasons in the Quaker faith. If we take a look at why Quakers opposed times and seasons in the first place, we might be able to construct an approach that makes sense for us today.