cover image HOLY SILENCE: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality

HOLY SILENCE: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality

J. Brent Bill, . . Paraclete, $14.95 (147pp) ISBN 978-1-55725-420-7

For anyone who has ever wondered about the history and devotional life of this small but influential denomination, Bill's anecdotal and chatty book about the Quaker "sacrament" of silence will serve as a useful introduction. Some readers may not know, for example, that Quaker meetings may have pastors or a sacramental theology of silent worship that is analogous to that of many Protestant and Catholic liturgical traditions. "We believe that Christ comes in a physically present way in the same way that Catholics believe that when the host is elevated it becomes the literal body and blood of Jesus," writes Bill, the executive v-p of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations. In this brief primer on Quakerism in general and silence in particular, the author uses a practical tone to anchor reflections on what is essentially a matter of mystery: how God speaks in and through individual and communal silence. A self-confessed "type A personality," Bill brings a buoyant but realistic tone to his subject. Interspersed with quotations from various Christian writers and pauses for "quietude queries," or reflective moments for relaxation and contemplation, the slim volume is a useful tool for readers seeking a guide to devotional practice. (May)