Quaker Religious Thought


John Punshon


I guess the most common—and accurate—metaphor for the religious life is that of a journey, and that is the word that lots of people use nowadays in giving an account of their religious development. Today, I want to choose a different word to express my theme, which is ‘fulfilment’. Throughout my life, rather than strike out adventurously into new and unknown seas, I have tried to sound the depths of the one I find myself in, and seek to possess as fully as possible the heritage of the Christian faith into which I was born.

I want to talk about three things, each of which is related to the other. They represent distinct stages in my life, but at the same time, they represent the unfolding of what was there at the beginning. Change there has certainly been, but it is of the nature of orderly development. I begin with a short account of my childhood religion which laid the foundations of my faith. I move on to the period between adolescence and parenthood, when I came to terms with certain fundamental questions raised by the Christian tradition. And, I close with an account of the faith that I have tried to practise in a consistent way for the past thirty years.



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