Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom for a Better Life Today

Philip Gulley. Crown/Convergent, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-307-95578-4

Quakerism has many admirers but considerably fewer adherents. Gulley, a Quaker pastor and much-published author (The Evolution of Faith), hopes to reach new members with his newest work, part of the inaugural list of a new imprint aimed at the spiritually curious. He explains central Quaker values and practices—simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality—in clear and inviting ways, drawing on Quaker history to provide context and illustration of the distinctive ways of the Religious Society of Friends (another name for Quakers). He also draws on his own life, acknowledging shortcomings in ways that disarm and attest to the Quaker value of integrity of speech. The set of queries at the book’s end is extremely helpful; queries are spiritual tools for self-examination and reflection that can give readers a small taste of the faith. The author goes light on his trademark charming humor, which is unfortunate; religion goes down easier when preached with a smile. Still, Gulley might make “nightstand Friends”—people who flirt with Quakerism, reading about it before going to sleep. (Sept.)
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