(Review) Quaker Quicks: What do Quakers Believe?

Two things in Quaker Quicks: What do Quakers Believe? that impressed me from the start were the avoidance of Quaker jargon (plain speech for the modern age!), and the focus on the present rather than idealizing the faith and activism of past generations of Quakers. This book provides a clear and concise overview of Quaker beliefs, practices, and organization with a focus on unprogrammed Quakerism. The author’s examples and experience are focused around British Quakers, but much of the book applies to the broader (Liberal) Quaker community. It highlights the way that Quakers value truths that are “opened” to them through direct experience, rather than creeds which others have presented to them.

One weakness this book suffers from at times is the tendency to overly emphasize individual and sometimes consumption-focused actions by Quakers. For instance, the focus on how Quakers live greener personal lifestyles presents a faith that has a footprint only as large as its own members. At times Quakers do fall into the trap of focusing exclusively on personal change, but Quakers often do (and should) work to change the wider world through both witness and action. Hopefully this book encourages people to experience Quaker faith for themselves, and they find it to be a community working toward systemic change.

The book is refreshing in its clear statements about Quaker beliefs, along with the acknowledgment that Quakers do not hold to dogmas or creeds. The blending of description, quotes from various Quakers, and summarizing statements helps the reader get a clear picture of Quaker faith. If you want to learn about how Quakers seek to find truth, live in that truth every day, and transform both their world through conviction rather than condemnation, this book is an excellent starting point.

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