Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jill Shook and Bert Newton speak about their books, affordable housing and Jesus' "subversive wisdom" at Vroman's

Over seventy people showed up for a book signing at Vroman's Bookstore by Jill Shook (my wife and author of "Making Housing Happen: Faith-based Affordable Housing Models") and Bert Newton (author of "Subversive Wisdom: sociopolitical dimensions of the Gospel of John"). There were so many people that a number of them had to stand!

Vroman's is the oldest and most prestigious bookstore in Pasadena, and is known nation-wide. Best-selling authors and notables like Jimmy Carter and most recently, Sonia Sotomajor have given book signings at Vroman's. So my wife was in very good company!

Bert and Jill have worked together for many years--organizing the yearly Palm Sunday Peace Parade (where Jill and I met), going to City Council meetings to speak out about affordable housing and other issues affecting the marginalized and low-income folk, etc. They also collaborated on a chapter in Jill's book entitled "Ownership, Land and Jubilee Justice," which provides a biblical rationale for land redistribution, debt forgiveness, and economic justice for the poor, landless and homeless. Jill and Bert each took turns speaking for about 5 minutes each, interweaving theology and practical solutions to the current housing crisis.

People loved what Bert and Jill shared, and purchased 21 copies of her book! She signed many of her books: "Let's make housing happen!"

Pat O'Reilly, executive director of ECPAC (Ecumenical Council of Pasadena), invited Jill to give a 15-minute inspirational talk at ECPAC's annual dinner in which religious leaders from throughout Pasadena take part. This is a golden opportunity for Jill to share her message of hope based on a gospel vision of housing justice for all....

If you missed this book signing, not to worry. There will be another one here in Pasadena on Saturday, Feb 9, at 4 PM at the Archive Bookstore, 396 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena CA 91104. This is the largest religious bookstore in the area, with over 75,000 used and new theological books, so it is well worth a visit. See http://www.archivescalifornia.com/

Excerpt from Jill's book talk

I’ve had the joy of helping several people save their homes from foreclosure here in Pasadena. I totally admire the work of Rose Gudiel, whom I feature briefly in my book. She saved her home and has helped many others to save theirs. In many ways she exemplifies subversive wisdom. Like those I have helped and thousands of others, she attempted over and over to get a home loan modification to no avail, even though she qualified. Despite hundreds of calls, completed forms turned in on time, the banks would consistently lose the paperwork, say they would incomplete, and start the process over again…

To finally get the attention of Indymac, which is now One West here on Colorado and Lake, clergy and other brave folks stood in the bank and refused to go, like Jesus the rule-breaker and liberator. Like Jesus who overturned the money tables in the temple, they did a public action that finally got the attention of the bank. They stayed until they finally had dialogue with the bank about modifying her loan.

The churches of Hawaii also saw the need for this face-to-face dialogue. In fact, the churches got together and passed a law called Face-to-Face. Simply by requiring that bank personnel sit down with someone facing a foreclosure and have a face-to-face conversation, they cut their foreclosure rate in half!

One-on-one conversation can be “subversive” …that is how the churches initially in Brooklyn, then in South Bronx in NY began organizing their community, with one-on-one conversations. After hundreds of people shared their concerns and stories with each other, people realized they had internalized what the movies and outsiders were saying about the horrors of South Bronx and Brooklyn.

By listening to each other they began to view the burned out properties in their community as an asset and each other as an asset. They gained enough relational power though thousands of one-on-one conversations to have the audacity go to the city and ask for the land. The city believed in them and gave them the land!

To date, the churches of Brooklyn and South Bronx have built 5,000 units of for-sale affordable housing using the Nehemiah Housing Strategy. By infusing the pride of home ownership back into their communities, they began to break the downward cycle of poverty, and the crime rate plummeted. Nehemiah in the Bible was a master organizer and community developer.

Chapter in my book that tells about this, focuses on the churches of South Bronx which built 1000 of these 5000 homes. When my husband Anthony was reviewing this chapter for this Revised Version Making Housing Happen, he felt it was too fairy tale; too good to be true. So we found articles in the NY Time and from NPR, telling how the Nehemiah homes have been “a bulwark of stability in neighborhoods devastated by arson and neglect… especially during the mortgage crisis.” To date not one low-income family in South Bronx has defaulted on their loan—not one foreclosure among the 1,000 Nehemiah homes built by the churches of South Bronx. Now that is good news to the poor!

To double check I called the office president of the borough of South Bronx to see what he thought of the Nehemiah Homes built by the churches. Wilhelm Ronda explained that the investment of the churches, at a time when no one would touch this community, has turned the community around. South Bronx now attracts businesses that invest in this community. Sarah Plowden, one of the home owner said, “We more than just bought homes, we bought into each other as a people.”

Other chapters in my book have focused on a similar kind of subversive wisdom—a living out of the kingdom of God here and now. You can go to the corner of Union and 8th in downtown LA and can see for yourself a beautiful building, once so gang infested and dilapidated that floors were falling into each other. Through a small Bible Study the residents began to dream and feel empowered, eventually bringing lawsuits against the negligent landlord. The landlord eventually gave up the building and these low-income immigrant residents became the owners. They partnered with the city of LA and Low income Housing tax credits. Today this building, that was once an eyesore, stands as a beautiful monument of God’s love and grace, full of hope and dreams. Rather than turning to gangs, the youth now graduate from college and dream of bright futures.

Organized people that creates power for justice is the power of non-violence, a demonstration of God’s love and power to create beauty and hope. 
[Jill concluded with practical ways to help in this work.]
Right now we are helping a family in Monrovia to save their home. There’s a Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group that you can join. We are working on local policies. Additionally, I’m involved with family Promise, where homeless families are housed in churches, synagogues or mosques for a week then move within a rotation of 14 congregations. During the day they are at a resource center with a full time director who helps them to find jobs and housing. 176 of these networks exist nationwide. We are blessed to have one in San Gabriel Valley. But we need you help.

Bert is again planning the Palm Sunday Peace Parade, celebrating the Prince of Peace… If you are interested in exploring any of these ways to get involved and to help make housing happen, please contact me at
To order her book, go to
To read her article in Sojourners magazine, go to


Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Prophetic Word from a sixteen-year-old on Martin Luther King day

The confluence of three historic events--the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech" (1963) and the second inauguration of our first African-American president (2003)--was a watershed moment that should have brought out the best in any speaker worth his or her salt.
But the speeches I heard at public events during the course of two days left me feeling disappointed, frustrated, and bored. Almost without exception, religious and political leaders here in Pasadena spoke in platitudes and feel-good generalities, talking about the need to put aside our differences, come together in unity, etc. etc. Many distorted Martin Luther King's vision of social justice into the individualistic American Dream ("work hard and you'll succeed"). None raised any controversial issues, like the need to address systemic poverty, economic disparity, our bloated military budget, and endless wars, that got Dr. King into trouble and made him a genuine prophet.
There were two exceptions. At the Jackie Robinson Center (named after the famous athlete who brought the color barrier and became the first black player in the major leagues), an award is given out to elementary and high school students who created art or wrote essays honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.
The two first-place winners of the essay content were both white girls, tall and willowy, but other winners were Asian, black and Latino. I would love to have heard what they had to say.
What the junior high winner said was that we need to take seriously the problem of homelessness, and added that there are over a million homeless kids attending school. This number was mind-boggling. How can it be that a million kids are homeless in a country as rich as ours? I commend this girl for raising such a disturbing question--the kind of provocative question that Dr. King would have asked.
Madeline Cameron, a 16-year-old high school student from the Pasadena Peace and Justice Academy, was also a winner in every sense. She spoke about Martin Luther King's commitment to peace, his courage in speaking out against the Vietnam war, and how we have been embroiled in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost countless lives and taken money away from needed social programs. She also brought up the infamous wall separating the United States and Mexico, and how US economic policies have left Mexican farmers destitute and forced many to come here to earn a liveliness. She spoke with great feeling of the hundreds who have died trying to cross the border to find work in the United States.
She spoke from the heart, and with real knowledge, about issues that Dr King would cared deeply about.
"She truly understands Dr. King," I thought, my eyes brimming with tears.
I was grateful that some members of the rising generation understand, and sad that most of our leaders don't want to understand, what Dr. King stood for.
I said this to one of the teachers at the Peace and Justice Academy,  he replied, "Yeah, so many people try to neuter Martin Luther King."
I want to commend not only the girls who spoke truth so eloquently, but also those who selected them as winners of the MLK essay contest. These educators gave young people a platform on which to voice their deeply felt concerns--concerns that all Americans should take seriously.
Here is Madeline Cameron's essay, used with her permission.

Martin Luther King Day Essay
by Madeline Cameron, 16 years old
Pasadena Peace and Justice Academy

August 28, 1963, over 200,000 people witnessed one of the most powerful speeches in American history. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his hope for a broken nation, one that was tainted with segregation, violence, and compromised morals. I believe he is one of the greatest role models in history, not only striving to stop violence, but stressing the importance of stopping it in a peaceful manner:

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

Our nation has come a long way since Dr. King gave his speech. But we are still a broken society. True, our country has made great leaps and bounds in its mission to expel racism and prejudice. No longer do we have drinking fountains that proclaim, “whites only”. But there is still violence in the streets of our cities. There is still corruption in our governments. And there is still persecution in our communities. My dream for America is that we as a nation take the first steps toward world peace, setting an example for other countries in the midst of a world flaming with the heat of violence.

We have far to go. For 11 years, the United States has been a major player in the war in Afghanistan. We have spent over $468 billion since it started, money that could have been used to support our homeless, our schools, our hospitals, and our environment. But money is not the only thing the war has cost us. Since 2001, over 2000 Americans have lost their lives in the Afghanistan war. Many more have been permanently injured. And it is estimated that 10, 878 Afghan women, men, and children have died in the war.

In “Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”, Dr. King showed that war was the enemy and manipulator of the poor and marginalized, taking advantage of their vulnerable state and sending them to fight for the country that betrayed them.

“I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America.”

As a world superpower, America must set the example. After centuries of experience, I am horrified that America has not acknowledged the futility of war. War is not a way of solving problems; instead, it exacerbates them. I do not believe our world will ever be completely without violence.

But there will never be hope if we do not strive towards peace. However, striving for peace does not simply demand giving up physical violence. Recently, five students from my school visited the wall between the U.S. border and Mexico. Mexico was just a few hundred feet away, but because of the conflict between the U.S. and Mexico, the border was almost inaccessible, and highly dangerous. Many Americans resent immigrants, thinking that they take jobs desperately needed in this economy. In reality, Americans refuse the menial jobs that immigrants take; and furthermore, we are the main reason that immigrants are forced to come seeking work. The U.S. government donates millions of dollars every year to subsidize grain production, producing an artificially low price of grain with which Mexican farmers cannot compete. Forced off their land, they come to America desperate for work, but instead, they are deported, taken from their families, or thrown in jail. The U.S. is creating a problem, but unwilling to admit that they are responsible for the economic destruction in another country. Is this not violence too?

 I may not live to see the world achieve peace, or offer a solution to the unfair treatment of undocumented immigrants, or ensure economic justice for all who wish to work an honest day’s labor. Yet over time we have seen the end of racial segregation, and the beginning of gender equality. My hope is that my generation will open its eyes to the injustice in the world, even if it’s painful to see. “We cannot walk alone,” Dr. King said, “…we shall always march ahead.”

Although it may seem an insurmountable task, there are many others that share our dream. They too find inspiration in Dr. King, believing that we can make a change. It is rarely easy to stand up for what is right, but the consequence will be far worse if we stay silent. I want my generation
to say, “We created a better world. We stood up for what was right, and the world listened. We made the first move, and the world followed in our footsteps.”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yuki Brinton and the Autobiography of Howard Brinton

Today, as I do my final revision of my biography of Howard and Anna Brinton, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to Yuki Takahashi Brinton for transcribing Howard's autobiography during the final year of his life. Without her help, and cooperation, I would not have been able to write my biography of the Brintons, as I explain in this epilogue.

Origins of  the Autobiography of Howard Brinton

For over thirty years, the Autobiography of Howard Brinton, one of the foremost exponents of 20th century Quakerism, lay in a cardboard box, unread and virtually unknown. I learned of it when I gave a series of talks to promote a book I had written about Western unprogrammed Quakers. During my presentations I invariably discussed Howard and Anna Brinton because they startedFriends Bulletin (the Western Quaker magazine that I used to edit) and played an essential role in the founding of Pacific Yearly Meeting, whose history I chronicled in A Western Quaker Reader. I bemoaned the fact that little had been written about the Brintons, who were key figures in the development of American Quakerism both in the Eastern as well as in the Western USA. I concluded that someone should write a book-length study of these important figures, as was the case with other leading Quakers of this period, such as Henry Cadbury, Rufus Jones, Clarence Pickett, Thomas Kelly, and Douglas Steere.

After I gave this talk in Philadelphia, a lively, white-haired woman stepped forward and introduced herself as Catharine Cary, the daughter of Anna and Howard Brinton. She asked if I knew about an Autobiography that her father had dictated to Yuki Brinton just prior to his death. I confessed that I had not heard of it, but was very interested in seeing such a document. I also wondered if any historian was working on this project. I was surprised to discover that this unpublished memoir had been languishing in the Haverford College Quaker collection for 30 years and no one had written anything about it.

I was given a photocopy of this work, which turned out to be over 130 pages long and was full of personal information not found anywhere else. Unlike his teacher Rufus Jones, Howard was reticent about his personal life and revealed little about it in print. His one attempt at personal history, a talk for the Historical Society entitled“Friends for 75 Years,” provided more theological than autobiographical data.

One reason that this Autobiography may have been dormant for so many years is that it was the “offspring” of an unusual marriage, which I describe in my biography of the Brintons. In May 1972, three years after the death of his first wife Anna, with whom he had been married for over fifty years and produced four children, Howard married Yuki Takahashi, a Japanese teacher, translator, and student of Quakerism. Howard was 88 years old, nearly blind, and in failing health. Yuki was 60 years old, though she looked much younger. Howard decided to re-marry because he was in failing health and needed a caretaker, but his relationship with Yuki was much deeper than that and was based on a friendship going back two decades. The marriage lasted less than a year, but it produced a remarkable memoir that Howard dictated to Yuki during his final days. This collaborative effort, written under the shadow of mortality and lovingly if not always accurately transcribed, enhances our understanding not only of Howard’s life but also of 20th century Quakerism.

While it is uncertain whether Howard intended for his memoir to be published, he did devote his usual care to writing it and probably had some thought of its being published or at least read by future historians. After Howard’s death, Yuki sent Anna Brinton Wilson (“Cousin Nan”) a copy of the Autobiography. She sent back comments and wrote, “I shall want to buy a copy of the book as soon as it is out.”[1] It is clear that at least one member of the Brinton family felt that the manuscript was publishable. Most felt it needed editing and fact-checking, and did not want it to be published.

Because of her Japanese upbringing, Yuki was also reluctant to share this work, or any details about her life. It took considerable coaxing for me to find out as much as I did about her life and her relationship to Howard. In a letter date August 22, 2004, she wrote: “I enjoyed talking with you. I enjoyed because you listened! That’s why I talked too much. That is dangerous.”

Where Yuki saw danger, I saw opportunity. Besides, I very much enjoyed listening to this remarkable woman tell her story. She had a lot of wisdom to share, as well as great humility—qualities that are usually connected. Here are some facts I was able to glean about her remarkable life.

Born on Dec. 20, 1912, Yuki Takahashi was one of five children born in Dairen, Manchuria, to Motokichi Takahashi (1873-1920) and Naoko Takahashi (1881-1971). Yuki’s father was a high-ranking Japanese government official who had majored in political science at Princeton University. There he met Woodrow Wilson, whom he greatly admired, and became a Presbyterian. Yuki’s father was sent as a Japanese envoy to the United States after WWI, where he died of a heart attack in Seattle, Washington, at age 47.

Yuki’s family had moved from Manchuria to Tokyo, Japan, in 1914. There Yuki was educated at a private school run by Sophia Anabelle Irwin and Robert Irwin. She was trained as a kindergarten teacher. In the 1930s she worked as a kindergarten teacher in Dairen, Manchuria.

Yuki’s sister Taneko went to Pendle Hill in 1939 and stayed until war broke out between Japan and the United States in 1942. At that time, her sister returned to Japan. Hearing her sister’s glowing reports about Pendle Hill sparked Yuki’s interest in Quakerism. She eventually went to work at the Quaker Center in Tokyo around 1950.

A prominent Quaker named Passmore Elkinton introduced Howard to Yuki, who became his interpreter and assistant. Impressed by her passion for Quakerism, he encouraged Yuki to come to Pendle Hill, even though she felt her English was not good enough.

There she translated Friends for Three Hundred Years into Japanese, a daunting task she was able to accomplish with the help of Howard and Elizabeth Vining.
In transcribing Howard's autobiography, Yuki was painfully conscious that she lacked the editorial skill that Anna possessed, but did her best. Howard also did his best to recall what happened in his life, but with his failing health and eyesight, he had to rely on his memory and could not verify dates and other details. How much of what Yuki wrote were Howard’s exact words, and how accurate some of Howard’s memories were, we will never know for certain. I have done my best to verify names and dates, and was surprised to find that most of the names and dates that Howard remembered could be verified. I became convinced that, despites its many deficiencies, Howard’s Autobiography is an invaluable resource and an excellent starting point for a biographer.

Many of the errors are trivial. Because of her difficulties in pronouncing English, Yuki sometimes mixed up“L’s” and “R’s” (as in the sentence, “we attended a concert in London where the English loyalty showed up”). Some of the errors involved recalling events out of order, like recounting his trip to Scotland after his first trip to Britain Yearly Meeting rather than after his second.

Howard was also unable to polish the style and to make his narrative flow as he would if he had been able to read and edit what he had written. According to Yuki, Howard’s daughter Lydia helped in editing the Autobiography and it would not have been readable without her assistance.

“I am undertaking this with much hesitation and some embarrassment,” Howard wrote. “My principal handicap is that I cannot read or write (because of my poor eye sight) so I am dictating these memoirs to my secretary and general helper Yuki Takahashi….In dictating this I cannot go back and make revisions. I must always go forward recklessly, not always knowing just where sentences or paragraphs may end.”

Because Howard had a disciplined mind, he was able to write coherently in spite of these handicaps. His lifelong exposure to Quaker autobiography and journals no doubt helped prepare him for this work. He liked to reminisce about his past and had also been thinking of writing a memoir since he was in his forties.[2]

Although the memoirs contain inaccuracies, as one would expect from such a “raw” work, they also have the freshness of a tape-recorded oral history. In some cases, Howard reveals feelings and opinions that he would have expressed guardedly or not at all in a work less “reckless.” For instance, when he describes going to Friends World Committee Conference in Oxford in 1952, soon after the publication of Friends for 300 Years, Howard says, “I sent a copy… to every American delegate. Many of the American delegates were from Pastoral meetings. I wanted to be sure that they knew what real Quakerism was.”[3]This unusually frank comment reveals quite clearly that Friends for 300 Years was not written as objective history, but to promote an unprogrammed Friends’ perspective of Quakerism. He also talks about mystical experiences that he had at Glastonbury and frankly discloses his personal feelings while working on numerous Quaker projects.

The memoir that Howard and Yuki had worked on for a year extended as far as Howard’s trip to Japan in 1952. This being time when he and Yuki met, it is a fitting conclusion to their collaborative effort. As Howard tells us as well as his grateful amanuensis and spouse, “the most important event [that happened to me] in Tokyo was to secure Yuki Takahashi as my secretary and guide and interpreter.”

After Howard’s death, Henry Cadbury asked Yuki if she’d like to stay on at Pendle Hill to assist in the library. She accepted the offer and stayed until 1993 when she moved, somewhat reluctantly, to Kendal, a Quaker retirement center near Pendle Hill. There she died on July 3, 2006, after a brief illness. Her memorial minutes noted :

At Pendle Hill she helped and befriended many foreign students and was a gracious presence representing Japanese culture. She also served faithfully for many years on the Pendle Hill publications committee.

Yuki had a keen eye for small things: for English expressions like “Thank you very much” and all cats for they spoke Japanese, and modest gifts like oranges or cookies, or an introduction to her friend who might become your friend, too. Sometimes the gift was a sharp question but often an invitation to tea or Scrabble. With children she became a child, and with adults a keen watcher as her hearing grew less serviceable.

One of her gifts was her devotion to Howard Brinton. Had it not been for Yuki, we would have no way of knowing the personal side of Howard’s life. For this reason, I feel a profound debt to Yuki for encouraging Howard to persevere with his memoirs. Without her labor of love, I probably would not have undertaken this biography, my own labor of love.

[1] See “from Anna Brinton Wilson’s letter 1973 or ’74,” Box 1189.
[2] See letter to Mary James, Mills College, June 18th 1930. “As I sit here looking out my study window on San Francisco Bay I am attempting to conjure up on the dim background of the hills beyond it the faint images of the time when I first set my feet on the long road to learning. They came with great difficulty at first and then faster and fast like ghosts pouring out of a deserted building…” He wrote about the importance of West Chester Friends School and the “Boys Sporting League” and other childhood memories, including poems that later appear in his Autobiography.
[3] Autobiography, p. 96.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Sacred in Everyday Life

I am writing about "the sacred in everyday life" because I am involved in a program for spiritual directors called Stillpoint. This topic intrigues me because discovering the sacred in the ordinary is the essence of our Quaker practice, and why I became a Quaker.  My life as an academic was so complicated I needed Quaker simplicity. So I will begin by discussing how Quakerism encouraged me to seek the sacred in the ordinary..

Quakers were a branch of Protestants who emerged in the 17th century and rejected all the outward trappings of religion. They regarded church buildings, music, art and the like as distractions. They met in homes or in meetinghouses without ornaments. They had no paid pastors or prearranged order of worship since they sought to practice “primitive Christianity,” as described by Paul in his letter to 1 Corinthians: 40. They believed that everyone has direct access to the Divine since “Christ has come and teach his people himself.” They met in silence and “waited upon the Lord,” trusting that the Spirit would inspire and guide them. And they carried this radical simplicity into their everyday lives. Like Brother Lawrence, they “practiced the presence of God” as they went about their daily chores.

 I discovered Quakerism twenty five years old when I began attending meeting for worship at an old 18th century Quaker meetinghouse in Princeton, NJ, my hometown. I was deeply impressed with the awesome quality of silent worship as we gathered together on Sunday morning with no agenda other than being fully present to God and each other. The only sounds were the crackling of the fire in the old stone fireplace, the occasional creaking of oak floors, and birds chirping and breezes blowing through the trees. The interior of the meetinghouse had no religious symbols, no quotations from scripture. Apart from its antiquity, it was quite ordinary. Yet a sense of the sacred could be felt there just as much as in the solemn Gothic splendors of the University Chapel.

 When I went home from meeting, I began to apply Quaker practice of simplicity to my daily life. Simplicity means removing those things from your life, and your consciousness, that clutter your mind and make you feel separated from the Spirit. It often entails giving up some favorite habitual practice.

 For example, I love to listen to music when I do chores, but when I first became a Quaker, I decided to turn off the radio and be fully present as I washed dishes and swept the floor. I realized that when I multi-task—listening to Mozart and scrubbing the floor—I didn’t really do either with my full attention. As I swept the floor in silence, I gradually began to open up to what was happening inside me, what I was feeling, how I feel connected or not connected to the Divine. The ordinary can become sacred when we give it our full attention.

I also took part in silent weekend retreats where we made meals and did all our chores in silence. This seemed strange at first, but then liberating. I no longer needed to talk or chatter compulsively to feel connected to others. We could work and be together in silence and feel the presence of Spirit drawing us closer together in a shared, worshipful experience.

 I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with music, or art, or any of the other devices used by religious people to draw closer to each other and to God. But such outward forms can become a distraction and make us think that we must go to some special place or engage in some special ritual in order to experience the Divine.

 I deepened my understanding of Quaker faith and practice in 1989 when I spent nine months at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation near Philadelphia. There students and teachers live together and have daily practice of work, study, and prayer, just as in a monastery. Everyday chores, like weeding the garden, become an opportunity for spiritual growth. I will never forget the time when I was having a conflict with one of my co-workers and went to the Pendle Hill gardener for advice. She was conducting a class on weeding the strawberry patch, and welcomed me to join in. She told us to apologize to each weed as we pulled it out. This seemed a little crazy but I did it just to see what would happen. After an hour, I realized that if I was willing to apologize to weeds, surely I could apologize to my co-worker I was having a conflict with!

 During the recent holidays, I re-read a sermon I wrote twenty years ago in which I talk about Advent from a Quaker perspective. It’s called “What are you waiting for?” Many Christians focus on the historical coming of Christ that took place in the past, or the future coming of Christ, that will take place in the Last Days. But the coming of Christ that matters most is the one that takes place in the present, in our everyday lives.

 Here in this moment, as we go about our daily tasks, washing dishes, minding the kids, taking out the garbage, smelling the roses, making love, sharing joys and grief with our friends and loved ones—here is where we must look for the advent of Christ. If we are ever going to be enlightened by Christ, we must recognize that His Light is right here under our noses, as real as our heartbeat and our breathing.

 As we breathe in, we are receiving the holy spirit of life. As we breathe out, that spirit goes forth from us into the world. Breathe in, breathe out, the spirit of Christ--this is what Paul meant when he said we can pray continually. Breathe in and breathe out the holy spirit of life: that is the way to be continually aware of Christ's advent.

 This is what I wrote twenty years ago, and I still feel it to be true. We need to be fully present to the presence of the Living Christ here and now. But of course that’s easier to say than to do!

 Query:  Do I make my home a place of friendliness, joy, and peace, where residents and visitors feel God’s presence?

Finding the Seeds of War and Injustice in Everyday Life

When we make an intention to experience the sacred in everyday life, we soon become aware of what separates us from the Divine. Sometimes this happens because we are forgetful and preoccupied with worldly things, such as our jobs, our families, our worries and fears.

Sometimes we feel separated from God because of our possessions or our behavior. John Woolman, an eighteenth century American Quaker, was asked to notarize a will authorizing the bequest of a slave. Woolman felt uncomfortable doing this ordinary task because he realized that slavery is wrong. He later became a leading opponent of slavery and helped to bring about the abolition of slavery among Quakers in 1774. He also advised Friends to look to their possessions, their homes, for the “seeds of war.” He refused to wear dyed clothing because dyes were made from indigo, which was gathered by slave labor.

 Today, Quakers ask ourselves: Are our purchases made with child labor, or are they fairly traded? How do our purchases affect the environment?

 We can also become separated from God by thinking the Divine can only be found in a special place, like a cathedral or a beautiful natural setting. Jesus warned against this kind of attachment when he responded to the Samaritan woman who wondered which holy mountain was the most appropriate place in which to worship. Jesus turned upside conventional beliefs when he declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:21-23).

 Jesus was able to turn ordinary experiences, like encountering a woman drawing water at a well, into a moment of profound spirituality. By being fully present to the “ordinary,” Jesus was able to help her find the living waters within herself. As a result, she became the first evangelist, bringing to her people the good news that the Messiah has arrived and is present among us.

 This week I had a special encounter that turned an ordinary conversation into something extraordinary. A friend of my wife’s visited us from Minnesota and shared her feelings and views for a couple of hours. This woman is a somewhat conservative Evangelical Christian, and I am a very liberal Quaker, but we both had great respect for each other and the conversation became an opportunity for sharing from the heart. My wife and I listened to her so compassionately that our friend didn’t want the conversation to end, nor did we. She felt so accepted and appreciated by us that she was moved to tears and asked that we end our conversation with prayer. It was truly a sacred moment. Later I told my spiritual director about this encounter and he said, “Now you have had an experience of what it’s like to be a spiritual director.”

 Listening compassionately isn’t easy; it’s even harder than learning to write and communicate well. Even after twenty years of practicing, and going to Israel/Palestine for intensive compassionate listening training, I realize I still have much to learn. For example, I’m still trying to figure out how to listen compassionately to my wife! Giving another person one’s full attention, listening with one’s whole heart and mind, is not easy, but it’s well worth the effort!

 As I write this reflection, I look around the living room of my home and realize how sacred this place has become for me in the year and a half that I have been married to Jill. In this room we have had parties, Bible studies, and numerous guests, from homeless men to missionaries. My wife and I have laughed and cried and danced and gone a little crazy in this room. The books in the bookshelf are old friends who have traveled with me from house to house, and now they are encased in book shelves given to me by my dear sister-in-law. Most of the pictures on the wall were painted by Jill’s mom, a gifted artist and a dear, sweet woman who embodies love. Each piece of furniture has a story, a memory, associated with it. I can think of no place more sacred than this living room. And I hope you can say the same for your living room.

The holy is embedded in our everyday lives, in what we wear, in what we purchase, in how we spend our time. Conversely, the unholy is present in material things that separate us from God and from each other. To escape becoming possessed by our possession, we need discernment. We need the guidance of the Spirit. We need spiritual friends and a spiritual community that can help us grow closer to each other and to the Divine.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Walking out with Howard Brinton

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my resolutions for the year is to complete my book about the Brintons that I've been writing and researching, off and on, for over ten years. It's been so long--nearly a year and half--since I last worked on this project  I was feeling distant from it. I needed a sign that  this was indeed what Spirit wants me to do, and lo! my friend Stan Searl calls and says, "I'd like to read you a poem about Howard Brinton."

How amazing is that!

Stan is a Quaker educator and scholar, author of several books, including "Voices From  the Silence" and "The Meaning of Silence in Quaker Worship" (see  http://www.stansearl.com/about.html). He is former clerk of Santa Monica Meeting, and one of the groomsmen at my wedding. I love the image of his spilling a drop of blood from a peace rose onto a first edition of "Friends for 300 Years..."

Stan is currently at work on a series of poems on Quaker themes, some of which I hope to feature in my blog along with my own poetic experiments.

By the way I am convinced, and have evidence, that there is a prophetic quality to Stan's work: when he wrote a poem about my marriage to Jill, he included an image of two red-tailed hawks leading us from Santa Monica to Pasadena. When he wrote this poem, Stan had no idea that red-tail hawks were the favorite birds, the totem animals, of Jill's father and that two red-tail hawks hovered over the cemetery when her father was being interred. Jill and I found this "coincidence" to be uncanny, and a sign that Spirit is indeed inspiring Stan's verses!

Another sign that I need to finish this book is that I asked Claremont Meeting if they'd like me to speak about my latest book "Quakers and the Interfaith Movement." They responded that they would prefer for me to speak about the Brintons in June--two weeks before I am supposed to give my workshop on the Brintons at the FGC Gathering.

The stars seem to be lining up, urging me to complete this long-overdue assignment before I join Howard and Anna in the next phase of our journey.....

Walking out with Howard Brinton
“As a great devotional writer tells us, only love can pierce the dark cloud of unknowing” (Howard Brinton, Friends for 300 Years).

The afternoon wind
Picked up
Over the Santa Monica Mountains,
Pushing clouds down
Behind the Hollywood sign
As I sat
Howard Brinton’s Friends for 300 Years,
Smelling the pages and
Walking out with Brinton
Now more than sixty years ago
As we strolled around
Pendle Hill, Pennsylvania,
Open to bird calls
Fluttering out in front of us,
Over a large,
Peace rose,
Its yellow flowers
Open on this early September day.

Bending over the rose,
I started to fall
He caught me and
As I try to steady myself,
A thorn
Spiked my left index finger,
The trail of blood
Dripping onto his book,
Leaving droplets of blood on the pages
Of the original 1952 edition,
An oozy sticky,
Deepening stain that
Marked that precious volume.

Licking the blood from my finger,
I followed him
Into the Pendle Hill barn
For my first lesson about
The kernel of Quaker theology.

In the barn,
Cool and pure and sweet,
Yet drowsy in the late afternoon sun,
We sat together
Knee to knee,
And listening
In the afternoon silence,
Breathing together
As if open to a silent presence

So that the Light
Stole upon us
And we became
Children of the Light,
Dwelling together
Within the cool, sweet and sticky
Of God’s presence.

I heard him
Quoting Toynbee and Otto,
Drawing us into communion,
Being in the light,
Open to breathing together,
Locked up in some
Mysterious unity,
Gathered up and
Centered in the Divine,
Practicing the Presence of the Divine Spirit.



Saturday, January 5, 2013

Completing my book on the Brintons: one of my goals for 2013

One of my resolutions for this year is to complete my book on Howard and Anna Brinton and publish it in time for the FGC Gathering, where I am giving a workshop on Howard Brinton's contribution to 20th century Quaker thought and life. The Brintons were major Quaker educators and theologians who profoundly influenced me and other liberal Friends. I have written a pamphlet and several articles and almost completed a book-length biography about them.

In June, 2010,  I  arranged a symposium on the Brintons at Pendle Hill, where they were directors for 13 years in the 1930s and 40s.  Such distinguished scholars as Doug Gwyn, Paul Lacey, and Stephen Angell took part and provided valuable insights.

But my life had changed dramatically by then. In April 2010 I met Jill Shook and married her five months later. Jill was also working on a book. During the first year of our marriage, I devoted myself to helping her revise her book. "Making Housing Happen," which was published in September of last year. Helping her on her book, and adjusting to the first year of marriage, left me little time or energy for the Brinton project.

I have no regrets about spending so much time on my wife's project. I learned a lot not only about affordable housing, but also about a biblical theology that emphasizes economic justice. I also bonded with my wife, a fellow activist, in profound ways.

Now that Jill's book is finished, I feel I can devote myself to finishing a project that many Friends have been urging me to complete.

I am also encouraged that a book about the Brintons appeared last year that I have been looking forward to seeing in print: "A Quaker Marriage of Philosophy and Art: Words and Pictures of Howard and Anna Brinton." This beauitful volume of illustrations and text was compiled by the Brintons' daughter Catharine Forbes with help from Catharine Brinton Cary and Joan Brinton Erickson. It consists of Christmas cards and illustrations that the Brintons shared with friends and family over the course of their marriage. Howard, the philosopher, wrote much of the text (often in rhymed poetry) while Anna provided the art work and calligraphy. Catharine's commentary contextualizes these remarkable works which provide many insights into the lives of this amazing Quaker couple. I plan to share some of my book in my blog and look forward to your comments. Here's my introduction:

 “The Most Remarkable Couple Since George Fox Married Margaret Fell”

During their nearly fifty years of marriage, Howard and Anna Brinton exemplified what it meant to be a committed Quaker couple—teaching, writing, traveling and working for peace while raising a family of four children. For sixteen years, they were directors and teachers at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  There they wrote numerous articles, pamphlets, and books about the Quaker faith and practice that “reinvented” Quakerism for the twentieth century. Howard Brinton’s book Friends for 300 Years became a classic and was reissued in 2002 with commentary by the Quaker historian Margaret Bacon. Many of Howard’s pamphlets are still used to teach the basics of Quakerism in First Day and Quakerism 101 classes. With his solid grounding in science and philosophy, Howard created a theological framework for modern liberal Quakerism that has been challenged by scholars, but has never been replaced by anything of comparable stature or usefulness. [1]

Book-length biographical studies have been written about most of the other “giants” of early and mid twentieth century American Quakerism—Rufus Jones, Henry Cadbury, Douglas Steere, Thomas Kelly, and Clarence Pickett[2].  A biography of this extraordinary couple is long overdue and will, I hope, help to illuminate not only their lives but also the development of Quaker life and thought in the twentieth century.

The Brintons were “bi-coastal Friends” who helped form the Pacific Coast Association, which later became Pacific Yearly Meeting.  Anna Cox Brinton (1887-1969) was born and raised in San Jose, California. Her grandfather, Joel Bean, started the College Park Association of Friends, an independent Quaker organization that was the precursor of Pacific Yearly Meeting. (For this reason, Pacific Yearly Meeting Friends are sometimes called “Beanites.”) Howard Haines Brinton (1884-1973) came from a well-established Quaker family in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and became deeply involved in Western Quakerism through his marriage to Anna.

Throughout their lives, they nurtured and supported the expansion of the “independent” Quaker movement in the Western USA.[3]  Phillip Wells, a physician who became active with Friends in the 1920s and served as an editor of Friends Bulletin, wrote: “Howard Brinton has often been spoken of affectionately as the father of Pacific Yearly Meeting…the presence and writings of Howard Brinton have been a unifying and inspiring presence for Friends everywhere, but particularly for the Pacific Coast region.”

Unlike most of the major 20th century Quaker scholars, who tended to stay put at one or two institutions, like Haverford or Harvard, the Brintons ranged widely and experienced the full spectrum of Quakerism theologically and geographically.[4] Howard taught at Friends Select School in Philadelphia, Olney Friends School in Ohio, Pickering College in Canada, and Guilford College in North Carolina.  Together Howard and Anna taught at Mills College in California, Earlham College in Indiana, Woodbrooke in England, and finally settled at Pendle Hill, where they lived from 1936 until they died. In the course of their careers, the Brintons had first-hand experience with the amazing diversity of Quakerism. Both were ecumenical in outlook: Howard attended the first meeting of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam, and Anna took part in the first session of the National Council of Churches.  As Henry Cadbury noted, “This scholarly couple has exercised profound influence on the education and outreach, including ecumenical contacts, of Quakerism.”[5]

In the course of their careers, Anna and Howard traveled around the world, visiting Asia as well as Europe, and spent a year leading Quaker educational institutes in Japan for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). They both deeply appreciated Asian culture and saw affinities between Buddhism and Quakerism.

Howard and Anna had a passionate concern not only for Quaker theology, but also for Quaker history. These two subjects were not separate in their minds, as Edwin B. Bronner makes clear: “In 1961, [Howard] was named president of the Friends Historical Association, and, after three years in that office, he was succeeded by his wife Anna….Howard used history to explain Quakerism, he selected historical facts from the past to support the interpretation of Quakerism that he accepted for himself, namely as a mystical religious movement….”  To help explain and defend their views of Quaker history and thought, Howard and Anna collaborated on many historical studies, including a work on Quaker journals.

After their retirement, they continued to live at Pendle Hill in a modest cottage called Matsudo.  As Dan Wilson, former Pendle Hill director, noted, “During his nearly forty years at Pendle Hill, Howard Brinton came to be known by seekers from around the world as a teacher of the religion he lived.” Wilson added significantly: “I believe Pendle Hill has been his living autobiography.”

They were actively involved in the AFSC from its early years after WW I through the 1960s. While they are best known as Quaker educators¾or as Dan Wilson called them somewhat grandiloquently, “translucent teachers and ministers of the Light”[6]¾peace activism was a key element in their lives. Howard Brinton’s writing on the historical basis of the Quaker Peace Testimony has become a classic. His views on the theological and spiritual underpinnings of Quaker social activism have also been profoundly influential. Through their work at Pendle Hill and the American Friends Service Committee, the Brintons did a great deal to nurture the peace movement and helped to educate a generation of activists.[7]

The fact of their being a couple—a pair of gifted Friends with distinct personalities and a common mission—was an important aspect of their ministry. Horace Alexander (a British Quaker best known for supporting the independence movement in India) observed that when Alfred Neave Brayshaw returned to England from a visit to Friends in North America in the 1920s, he told his Friends at Woodbrooke: “I have found a wonderful couple of Friends in America. It is a real case of ‘William-and-Mary.’ You must get them to Woodbrooke for a year.”  Alexander adds: “Even though they sometimes travelled separately, the names Howard and Anna are for their friends still inseparably linked.”[8] As this biography of the Brintons reveals, Howard and Anna were in many ways (as Quaker historian Thomas Hamm noted) “the most remarkable Quaker couple since George Fox married Margaret Fell.”[9]

The analogy is apt and striking, but needs some clarification. George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, was a charismatic visionary. Howard was also a visionary, an exponent of what he saw as “real Quakerism.” Margaret Fell was the wife of a prominent judge who became Fox’s follower, and then his wife, after her husband died. Margaret was not only a supportive wife, but also an outspoken defender of her faith. She wrote an aptly titled “manifesto of women’s liberation” called Women’s Speaking Justified.[10]  Anna Brinton needed no justification for speaking out, nor was she ever any man’s follower. But like Margaret, she felt called to Quaker ministry and had organizational skills that helped her husband to succeed in his calling.  George and Margaret, like Howard and Anna, were an impressive team.

The Brintons were a “marriage of East and West” not only geographically, but temperamentally. The granddaughter of Joel Bean, Anna embodied the independent, inventive, and creative spirit of Western Quakers. Howard, on the other hand, came from an Eastern Quaker family with roots dating back to William Penn. Grounded in the deep traditions of East Coast Quakerism, and inspired by Anna and West Coast Friends, Howard sought to move Friends beyond traditionalism into a vital connection with the living Spirit and with modern ideas.

I was drawn to write this book about the Brintons in part because for twelve years I edited Friends Bulletin, the official magazine of Western unprogrammed Quakers. (“Unprogrammed” refers to Quakers who worship without a pre-arranged liturgy or paid pastor.) This magazine was started in 1929 when Anna Brinton “first had the happy idea” of producing a quarterly newsletter for the College Park Association of Friends  (which later evolved into the Pacific Coast Association and Pacific Yearly Meeting).  When I finished editing a book to commemorate the 70th anniversary of this publication, and to chronicle the history of Friends in the Western United States,  I discovered that Howard Brinton had dictated his Autobiography to Yuki Takahashi Brinton (his second wife) during the last year of his life when he was blind and therefore unable to read or write. As I perused Brinton’s Autobiography, which no historian had researched, I realized it was a trove of information about a major figure of twentieth century Quakerism whose personal life is not widely known.

“Though Howard Brinton wrote about mysticism with the authority of direct knowledge, there are in his books no accounts of his own experience,” observed Elizabeth Gray Vining. “He was reticent about himself. But in his later years he did say to Dan Wilson that he should have revealed himself more.”

Howard understood that sharing one’s personal experiences as a Friend is a crucial aspect of Quaker practice. “Because Quakerism is primarily a religion based on inner personal experience rather than on creed or ritual,” wrote Howard, “the religious autobiography, usually called a ‘Journal,’ has been the most characteristic form of Quaker writing.”[11] For this reason, Howard took an intense interest in Quaker journals, a form of autobiographical writing that he saw as an essential feature of Quaker life and thought.

When Howard turned seventy five in 1959, he was asked to share his lifetime of experience among Friends at a Philadelphia Yearly Meeting gathering. His talk, called Seventy-Five Years of Friends, was autobiographical, but it focused on his religious experiences, not his personal life.

Howard’s personal life is described in his unpublished Autobiography, which I have used as a basis for this study.  I tell the story of his marriage to Yuki, and of how Howard’s Autobiography came to be written. I also recount Yuki’s life story, which she shared with me during her final years.

Anna never wrote a journal or memoir but a few years before her death in 1969, she allowed herself to be interviewed by Eleanor Price Mather, who wrote Anna Brinton: A Study in Quaker Character (Pendle Hill Pamphlet # 176: 1971). This anecdotal account of Anna’s life is entertaining and insightful, but somewhat limited and does not attempt to place Anna’s contributions into an historical context, as I try to do.

The Brintons were intensely serious about their religious faith, but they did not take themselves seriously. One of the most appealing features of their lives was their keen sense of humor and fun, which does not always appear in their writings. As Dan Wilson wrote, Howard “could laugh and play heartily, as evidenced particularly at Hallowe’en parties, Pendle Hill log nights, and with his grandchildren.” Anna was also famous for her wit and humor. No biography of the Brintons could omit this quality, which helped to make them effective teachers as well as beloved Friends. Even during the most solemn moments, Howard could see the absurd, as is made clear by this story told by Douglas Steere:

"Howard and Anna Brinton entertained many distinguished people in their Upmeads residence with its fireplace framed with panels of old Chinese and Japanese Zen patriarchs who looked down searchingly upon the guests. I once confronted those patriarch in Upmeads when I brought over Daisetz Suzuki, the great Zen writer, to see Howard. There, before those fierce beetle-browed figures on the panels, Howard, whose own eyebrows came out like shelves of thatch over his eyes, asked Dr. Suzuki (whose brows quite matched Howard’s and those on the panels), “Dr. Suzuki, is it true that Zen Buddhists believe that there is some connection between sanctity and the size of a man’s eyebrows?” Daizetz Suzuki took in the situation and with a faint curl of a smile coming over his face, replied courteously, “So they say,” after which we all roared with laughter."

Anna had the reputation of being a no-nonsense administrator (“The Spirit of Organization that kills” is how Gerald Heard once described her, somewhat unkindly), but she also had a whimsical and humorous side, especially when it came to children. One of my favorite Anna Brinton stories involves an incident that took place when a group of Pendle Hill students met for outdoor worship. One of the students, Frances McAllister, had a young child who kept disturbing the group by chasing butterflies. Frances was embarrassed by her child’s behavior and went to Anna afterwards to apologize. Anna smiled and reassured Frances with an unforgettable line: “Does thee not know, Friend, that chasing butterflies is a form of worship?”

I have been preparing to write this book for over ten years.  I began my research in 2001 when I was given a copy of Howard’ unpublished Autobiography by his daughter, Cathy Cary, and was told that no historian had researched it. In 2003 I received a Gest fellowship to do research in the Brinton archives at Haverford College. I spent many pleasant hours interviewing the Brinton family and am grateful for their assistance. I have also interviewed many people who knew the Brintons personally and were happy to share stories about this remarkable couple.  This led to my publishing a Pendle Hill pamphlet entitled Living the Peace Testimony: The Legacy of Howard and Anna Brinton (2004). In 2008 I received a Cadbury fellowship so that I could spend a year at Pendle Hill writing a biography of the Brintons. As my wife and I prepared to make our cross-country trek from California to Pendle Hill—we had even quit our jobs and sold our home—we learned that my wife had cancer. This devastating news forced us to forgo our plans and spend the year in Santa Monica while she underwent chemotherapy. Because I didn’t have access to many of the resources I needed, and much of my time had to be devoted to care giving, I almost gave up my hope of completing this project. But in the spring of 2009, I decided to re-read some of Howard’s writings in order to prepare for a short course about the Brintons I was supposed to teach at Pendle Hill, and my enthusiasm returned. Supported by my wife, who read the manuscript while awaiting her admittance to the City of Hope, I felt inspired once more to write about a couple who in many ways epitomize what 20th century Quakerism was all about. When Kathleen died suddenly of cancer in May 2009, I was determined to complete this book and dedicate it to her memory.  She was (and still is) my inspiration.

Writing about the Brintons has been a way for me to explore my relationship to a faith that has enriched my life and deepened my spiritual awareness beyond what words can tell. Writing this book has truly been what Quakers call a “leading of the Spirit.”

As I wrote this book, I was aware that even though I have been a Quaker for nearly twenty-five years, I am still an outsider in many ways. I was not raised a Quaker, nor did I attend Quaker schools. I had to learn about Quaker history and culture through a slow process of trial-and-error (mostly error). What comforts me is the knowledge that the Brintons were very supportive of convinced Friends like me. They nurtured fledging Friends in Pacific Yearly Meeting and they did their best to clarify the “secrets” of Quakerism with their students at Pendle Hill, many of whom were newcomers to the Religious Society of Friends. The Brintons had little patience with “birthright Friends who thought they knew [what Quakerism is all about] but did not.”[12]

I have quoted extensively from Howard’s Autobiography and other writings to give a flavor of what the man and his conversation were like; and I have also tried to do the same for Anna, although fewer records remain of her oral reminiscences. Howard frequently admitted his shortcomings in his Autobiography, and Anna could also be self-critical. I believe that no biography can be useful unless its subject is presented warts and all. Howard and Anna would have appreciated honesty more than hagiography. As Howard observed in his study of Quaker Journals,

"When a manuscript [of a Friend’s autobiography/journal] was found by the family, it was usually turned over to a committee of the meeting for editing. This was often disastrous. Sometimes the editors, from too much caution, would eliminate references to persons then living, or other interesting parts of the Journal.[13]"

To avoid such a “disaster,” I have preserved as much as I could of what Howard and Anna said in their own words, while correcting errors of fact owing to lapses of memory. I have also provided a critical context so their comments and views can be evaluated from perspectives other than their own. My hope is that readers will come to appreciate how these two Friends lived their faith, and how their efforts to be authentic Quakers in the twentieth century can help us to deepen our connection with the Spirit in our era.


I would like to express my appreciation to those who have helped me in this project: the Brinton family, the late Yuki Brinton, Pendle Hill, the Gest Fellowship, Haverford College Library (especially Joelle Bertolet, Emma Lapsansky, Ann Upton, and Diana Franzusoff Peterson),  Gwen Erickson of the Guilford College library, Shirley Dodson, the Board of Friends Bulletin (who wrote a minute of support for my work), Peter Bien, Doug Gwyn, Steven Angell, Stanford Searl, Jr, Chuck Fager, and others who have read this manuscript or discussed it with me. I could have not completed this work without the kind and generous support of Friends.


[1] In 2002 Howard Brinton’s  Friends for 300 Years (written to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quakerism) was the third best-selling book in the Pendle Hill bookstore, a major Quaker book distributor. Over 1,000 copies of this Quaker classic were sold yearly. Two other Brinton works are among Pendle Hill’s top twenty best-selling publications. No other 20th century Quaker author circulates so widely, at least in Quaker circles. Friends For 300 Years has recently been reprinted, with an historical update and notes by Margaret Hope Bacon, under the title Friends for 350 Years (Pendle Hill: Wallingford, 2002).
[2] Elizabeth Gray Vining, Friend of Life: A Biography of Rufus M. Jones (1959); Margaret Hope Bacon, Let This Life Speak: The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury (1987); Lawrence McK. Miller, Witness for Humanity: A Biography of Clarence E. Pickett (1999); Richard Kelly, Thomas Kelly, a Biography, Harper and Row, 1966; and E. Glen Hinson, Love at the Heart of Things: A Biography of Douglas V. Steere (1998).
[3] See A Western Quaker Reader, edited by Anthony Manousos. Friends Bulletin: Whittier, CA. 2000.
[4] Rufus Jones spent most of his career teaching at Haverford. Henry Cadbury taught at Haverford Bryn Mawr, and Harvard.. Douglas Steere taught at Haverford for most of his career, with a one-year stint at Union Seminary. In his all too short career, Thomas Kelly, like Howard Brinton, taught at a variety of schools and places, including Wilmington College, Pickering College, the University of Hawaii, Hartford Theological Seminary and Haverford.
[5] Friends Journal, December 15, 1969, p. 708.
[6]  Living in the Light: Some Quaker Pioneers of the 20th Century, Volume 1, in the U.S.A. Leonard S. Kenworthy, Editor. FGC, Kennett Square, PA, 1984, p. 41.
[7] See Living the Peace Testimony: The Legacy of Howard and Anna Brinton by Anthony Manousos. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 372. Wallingford, PA: 2004.
[8] Horace Alexander, The Friend, November 14, 1969, p 1397.
[9] Thomas Hamm, Earlham College: A History 1847-1997. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997, p. 139.
[10] Robert J. Leach, Women Ministers: A Quaker Contribution. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #227, 1979, p. 8.
[11] Brinton, Quaker Journals: Varieties of Religious Experience Among Friends. Pendle Hill, 1972, p. ix.
[12] Manousos, A Western Quaker Reader, Friends Bulletin: Whittier, CA, 2000, p. 90.
[13] Brinton, Quaker Journals: Varieties of Religious Experiences Among Friends. Pendle Hill: 1972, p. xi.