Living the Quaker Way

Philip Gulley is probably best known as the author of the bestsellers, Front Porch Tales and Hometown Tales, among many others. But I haven't read those books.

When his book, Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom for a Better Life Today, was released, however, I was anxious to read it. And I'm glad I did.

I was interested in learning more about the Quakers (or, more properly, "Society of Friends"), a unique Christian movement that endures to this day. And I hoped not only for an education but also for a transformation in my own life and practice. So who better than Gulley, who is the pastor at Fairfield Friends Meeting House in Camby, Indiana, to do that for me?

He does it in nine parts:
Introduction: Discovering Your Inner Quaker
What Is a Quaker?
A Quaker Way Altar Call
Thirty Days of Application: Living the Quaker Way Through the Queries
Gulley does his best to define "The Quaker Way," though he admits that an authoritative explanation is elusive, due to the broadness and inclusivity of the Quaker tradition.

It was interesting to read the book as a (more or less) polemical presentation of a tradition that more or less avoids polemics. I thought it was most affecting in its plea for the counter-cultural values of simplicity, peace, and integrity. His emphasis on the "queries" was moving and convicting.

My only disappointment was the lack of insight into what a Quaker worship experience is like--I suppose, because it is so varied from one "Friends Meeting" to another that a clear picture is elusive. As is much about the Quaker way, apparently. But the things Gulley does nail down are things worth living, as the book's title says.

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