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Quaker Religious Thought

Abstract

I feel somewhat reluctant to write a review of this book. Not because I fear being too critical of it, but because I fear being too complimentary. Full disclosure: Not only did I have the privilege of writing the preface to Our Life is Love, but I read drafts of some of the chapters as they were being written when Marcelle Martin was the Mullen Writing Fellow at Earlham School of Religion. I also know Martin personally, and her life authentically accords with what she has written, indeed, her life is love. So naturally I feel a deep investment in its reception, promotion, and a hope for a wide readership. I will also confess that it supported and confirmed much of my own research and interpretation of early Quaker history as a movement of transformational holiness, and I appreciate the methodology of a narrative and participatory approach. Martin also helped expand my vision of contemporary Quaker spirituality beyond familiar terrain, as my thinking about Quaker holiness has continued to evolve. The great strength of the book is found in Martin’s ability to translate the early Quaker mystical experience, which can feel alien and unreal in the demise of traditional religious narrative today, into a meaningful context.

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