Spring and summer reading

For the last many months, I’ve largely taken a break from reading and writing blogs. It’s been a busy season at work and at meeting, so I’ve needed to relax in ways other than through screentime. Instead, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time reading books. Oh, and doing crossword puzzles.

Thank goodness--and our tax system--for the Peninsula Library System, my source of several of these books.

Religion and faith:

Karen Armstrong, The case for God

Diana Butler Bass, A People’s History of Christianity

Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith

Phillip Gulley, If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus

Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Fingerprints of God: the Search for the Science of Spirituality

Chris Hedges, I Don't Believe in Atheists

Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity

Ben Pink Dandelion, Celebrating the Quaker Way

Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

Kristin Swenson, Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked about Book of All Time

Noteworthy Pendle Hill Pamphlets (PHPs):

  • Jack Kirk, Kindling a Life of Concern: Spirit-Led Quaker Action (PHP 404)
  • Tom Head, Envisioning a Moral Economy (PHP 405)
  • William Taber, The Mind of Christ: Bill Taber on Meeting for Business (PHP 406)


Orson Scott Card, Prentice Alvin etc. - all 5 books in the Alvin Maker series

Michael Chabon, Summerland

Jeanne DuPrau, The Prophet of Yonwood

Madeleine L'Engle, Many waters

Tamora Pierce, Circle of Magic quartet; Circle Opens quartet; The Will of the Empress; Trickster’s Choice; Trickster’s Queen; Melting Stones (12 books all together by her)

Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines


Robert Frank, The Economic Naturalist’s Field Guide: Common Sense Principles for Troubled Times (I just finished this and really liked it)

David Owen, The Green Metropolis: why living smaller, living closer, and driving less are the keys to sustainability (I really liked this one, too; a little repetitive but important content)

John Perkins, The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth about Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World

Will Shortz, Will Shortz's Greatest Hits: 150 NY Times Crossword Puzzles Picked by the Puzzlemaster (as mentioned, one of the real reasons I haven't been blogging lately!)

Slavoj Žižek, In Defense of Lost Causes

Finally, there's this one, in which a British music journalist obsessively follows my favorite group, The Fall, so I don't have to:
Dave Simpson, The Fallen: Life in and out of Britain's Most Insane Group

Books on the shelf I’ve yet to read:

  • Enlivened by The Mystery: Quakers and God, edited by Kathy Hyzy (published by Western Friend)
  • Spirit Rising: Young Quaker Voices, edited by Angelina Conti, Cara Curtis, Wess Daniels, John Epur Lomuria, Emma Condori Mamani, Harriet Hart, Sarah Katreen Hoggett, Evelyn Jadin, Katrina MacQuail, Rachel Anne Miller
  • Margery Post Abbott, To Be Broken and Tender
  • Carole Dean Spencer, Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism
  • Robert T. Wright, The Evolution of God
  • The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter, Allison Fine, and Randi Zuckerberg

...and many more!


SF Meeting's new Fund for Leadings

In July 2010, San Francisco Monthly Meeting approved the following guidelines for our new Fund for Leadings. I share them here because I think this is an exciting effort that Quaker meetings and even other congregations should know about. They were drafted by an ad hoc budget committee, and edited by me following two periods of discernment at monthly meeting for business.

San Francisco Friends Meeting
Fund for Leadings

In May 2010, San Francisco Friends Meeting created a Fund for Leadings (Minute 2010-05-09). The purpose of this fund is to encourage Friends who feel “a sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course of action” to pursue their leadings. We hope members and regular attenders will feel inspired to apply for ministry support money to help manifest spiritual leadings. Friends will submit a written request and funds will be approved by the meeting for business to ensure fairness and transparency.

The meeting approved creating the Fund for Leadings with $30,000 from the General Fund. In First month 2011, the meeting will review and evaluate this program and the fund. Based on this review, the meeting would decide to continue the fund, apply additional funding, or lay down the fund. If the funds are not expended at that time, Friends will review the Fund again later.

We are excited this financial resource is being put to use for good works, spiritual leadings, and ministry as an expression of witness to our faith and practice as Friends. We look forward to education and conversation around the topic of our leadings in the coming months.

Guidelines for Requests for Support from the Fund

The intention of the Fund for Leadings is to support members and regular attenders of the San Francisco Friends meeting to pursue a new leading or a new phase of an existing leading, which would otherwise not be possible without corporate discernment and financial support. Ideally the Fund for Leadings would assist an individual (rather than an organization) who does not have access to or support from other funding sources.

Support from the Fund for Leadings will help Friends bring their ministry into action. Our hope is that the Fund for Leadings will stimulate dialogue and discernment of how Spirit is moving us to act in the world. From this deep listening, we encourage Friends to step forward, seek support, and consider submission of a proposal. All requests will be considered with the following guidelines in mind. To nurture this process, Ministry & Oversight will offer a series of workshops on discerning leadings and ideas for how to bring a leading into acts of ministry in the world. (Note: Funding is already available for scholarships and travel assistance to Quaker gatherings and conferences through the meeting’s Gatherings Fund.)

Clarification on “Leadings”

In Pacific Yearly Meeting's Faith & Practice, a “Leading” is defined (p. 135) as “a sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course of action. A Friend may submit a leading to the Meeting for testing by corporate wisdom. A leading often arises from a concern.” (A “concern” is defined as “a quickening sense of the need to do something about a situation or issue in response to what is felt to be a direct intimation of God’s will.”)

It is Friends practice to test a leading through prayerful individual and corporate discernment. (Discernment is “the process of seeking and discovering that which is deeply true.”) Friends seeking support through the Fund for Leadings should request a “Clearness Committee” from Ministry & Oversight for further discernment of their leadings. The report from the clearness committee should be included in the written request for support.


Unexpected delight - Interview with Ben Pink Dandelion

I am compiling a list of recent books I've read, and in the process googled Ben Pink Dandelion's new, very small book Celebrating the Quaker Way. He calls it a Quaker devotional, and it's a lovely little book.

The search results turned up an interview with him from 2008, in the UK Church Times. Here's a quote I liked:
I pray that other people will feel God in their life, and I often pray for people who are suffering from illness or who are having a difficult time financially. I pray that they will be wrapped in God’s love — not so much about fixing the problem. Life should be praying.
Here's a link to the full article:


It's worth reading. So is the book! I ordered my copy from Quaker Books.