What Do Quakers Believe? A religion of everyday life, by Geoffrey Durham, is the first in the Quaker Quicks series, which focuses on one of today’s most misunderstood religions. This first book left me an impression good enough to follow the series, which I hope will happen to the rest of the readers.
What Do Quakers Believe? explores what Quakerism is about, although the author is completely honest when he says that it is hard and challenging to define this religion. At first I thought this to be exaggerated, but now I understand the motive of his position.
The short answer is that Quakerism is not a religion of feeling, but of doing, of acts and meditation, rather than following. It surprised me how versatile it could be and how each Quaker can understand this religion in their own way, without losing its essence. The long answer is, of course, to read the book.
Geoffrey Durham keeps focused on the whole book, which honors the title of the series being particularly short, and explains in detail the system of beliefs Quakers work with, clarifies the popular myths surrounding it and explains how their circles and hierarchy-that-is-not-a-hierarchy function.
This offers a sole con: you don’t get a full insight in What Do Quakers Believe on how the religion came to be, just a brief mention of its history. You get an idea of the role Quakers played in history, why it is said that they were ahead of society since their formation and how they have affected it with their social work and manifestations.
I admit that it confused me a little when I started and had to get back to the first page, pay more attention and then discover the rest of it. The reason for this is that the book uses a lot of descriptions, which shocked me a bit at first. However, when you get used to Geoffrey Durham’s style it is easier to go with the flow and enjoy the reading.
This is a book pretty easy to understand. It gives a clear idea of what Quakers believe, how they interact with their faith and includes fragments of interviews the author had with others who share his faith to illustrate several points. These give more examples on how, as the subtitle hints, their religion shapes their daily life.
I wouldn’t say that there’s a specific target for this book, since I can easily imagine adults, college and high school students reading it. The tone is friendly enough for anyone to understand it, but I guess the area of interest and how mature the readers are will play a role in whether they buy it or not.
I’ll remain neutral and say that anyone wondering about the subject should grab a copy of What Do Quakers Believe. This this is the first book I read by Geoffrey Durham, and although it gave a though time at first, I will keep my eyes open, see what else I can find from him and advice readers to do the same if they liked this one. The same applies for the whole series, which has already a second book to be published.
About the book
Quaker Quicks – What Do Quakers Believe?: A religion of everyday life
Print Length: 88 pages
Publisher: Christian Alternative (April 1, 2019)
Publication Date: April 1, 2019
About the Author
Geoffrey Durham went to his first Quaker meeting in 1994 and has been going regularly ever since. He worked as an entertainer, actor and director for thirty-five years before retiring in 2006 to work more actively for Quakers. He was one of the founders of Quaker Quest, a ground-breaking outreach project and an editor and contributor to the Twelve Quakers series of books (republished as New Light). Geoffrey has written three introductions to Quakerism for newcomers and is a regular speaker at Quaker events. He lives in London, UK.
About the Reviewer
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic witch interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy who tries to educate whenever he can. He hopes to succeed in one of them sooner than later.