If necessary, use words

I am finally writing about a book that came out over a month ago that has three of my blogposts in it, along with a wealth of selections from 31 other bloggers. It’s called Writing Cheerfully on the Web: A Quaker Blog Reader, edited by my Friend Liz Opp, with help from my husband, Chris M. (full disclosure here) and a preface by Brent Bill.

There are sections on “Worship & Ministry,” “Reclaiming & Re-examining Our Traditions,” “Convergent Friends,” “A Friendly Look at Christianity, Jesus & the Bible,” “Openings & Personal Stories,” and more. Each has posts from Friends across the branches of Friends, across the United States, and across theological differences. The first was written in 2003, the most recent in 2009. Together they offer a snapshot of the Religious Society of Friends in the early 21st century, but it is not a comprehensive guide to Quakerism today. As Liz says in the introduction, “Ultimately the volume you hold in your hands is an indicator of how a particular cohort of Quakers have gone about the business of grappling with and exploring the Quaker faith tradition, including investing in it and embracing it as our own. These writings, and the conversations they inspire, reflect the extent to which we are ready to engage in a rigorous and vibrant Quakerism.”

I like the selections a lot. Then again, I read most of them when they first appeared online. As I read it, I realized I’ve met most of the authors in person over the years. Some of them before they were blogging and some only because of their blogs. Some of them, even besides my husband, have changed my life through their writing and their friendship. So I’m probably not the best judge of whether these selections will speak to the book’s intended audience of people who don’t read blogs, but I suspect they will.

It would make a great addition to a Meeting or Church library or a thoughtful gift for a Friend who says, “I’m interested in what you’re talking about, but I don’t want to spend (any/more) time online."

It's for sale at QuakerBooks.org.

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Blogger Nate said...

Don't feel bad about being what you think of as a tad late. I'm still on the last section. I totally agree about the selection and the range of views. I am a relative latecomer to the conversation, and some of the entries were new to me, some I had looked up from references in the current conversation and some I had read and applauded when they were first posted. The book is a good review and reference for those engaged in the conversation, in my opinion, partly to remind ourselves of the elements and extent of the conversation, whether all elements are of particular interest to the individual or not.
But, you are right about the primary target being those not engaged in the conversation who might become so, or at least find the topics of some value for their own considerations. If I were to do one thing different in the book, I would select one repressentative entry and add the conversation generated in the comments on it, just to show how it works on the 'net. However, the references certainly encourage the reader to do so on their own, and the suggestions for using the book in real-life groups are an encouragement along the same lines.
Hey, I wonder if there are reviews in Quaker print media?

9/02/2009 12:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've got my copy sitting out in the foyer of our meetinghouse and encouraged people on Sunday to borrow it. Let's see if they do!

9/02/2009 1:28 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

I'm glad you liked it too. I think more of us who are featured in the book (and you know who you are) should write about it on their blogs. Liz did a pretty good job up until it was published but it's up to the rest of us now.

9/03/2009 12:15 AM  

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