“The Liturgies of Quakerism” by Ben Pink Dandelion

Perhaps the dullest of book titles. Ever. Especially when received as a Christmas present (one I had asked for…). And I didn’t read it all, as the middle chapters seemed very similar to Pink Dandelion’s more recent and general history of Quakerism (see below). But the last two chapters, where Ben, in his usual slightly over-academicised writing, dissects modern “liberal-Liberal” Quakerism (the changing case of the ls reminds of the tad-precious “F(f)riends” – form designed to include both Members and Attenders), are really interesting. He points out that although in their dedication to silent worship modern Quakers are very much in the tradition of their forebears, they couldn’t be more different in their beliefs, whether theological or in what actually happens in the silence or even what it’s for. He seems in this book to be expressing more clearly some of the tone of his 2014 Swarthmore Lecture: a call (in as much as Quakers could do something as directional) to keep some theological content. [What a phrase I just used! It’s like “mechanically recovered meat” or “collateral damage”. I meant “God”.]

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