“Sometimes God is hard to hear,” writes my friend Michael Wajda in Expectant Listening: Finding God’s Thread of Guidance, a Pendle Hill publication.
A Friend who travels in the ministry under the care of Goshen Meeting in Pennsylvania, Michael’s words carry a message that resonates deeply. It’s why I return to his writing over and over again. For refreshment. For renewal. For reminding—and for a touch of gentle eldering. It would be no surprise to him that my copy of his work is tattered, underlined, covered with yellow stickies, marked by highlighter, and decorated with notes scrawled in three different shades of ink.
“Sometimes God is hard to hear.”
Yes. But, fortunately, God also reaches out to us through others who, like my friend Michael, will use the printed or digital word to tap us on the shoulder and ask, “How goest thou, Friend?”
Such is the gift of—and from—an author who writes in the Light.
In this month’s Book Musings, those of us who have care of QuakerBooks offer you a selection of books written by authors who do just that.
We offer you Seeds that Change the World, a collection of 13 essays by traveling minister Debbie Humphries who says that “Quakers today are a pale shadow of who we are called to be.” She reminds us that the world desperately needs our powerful traditions and practices to create a peaceful world, and then challenges us with a single question: “How do we live into that truth?”
We also offer you Hiking Naked: A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance, a lyrical memoir of discernment from award-winning author Iris Graville, who, as she approached midlife after 20 years of following a leading into nursing, struggled to discern whether that leading had disappeared or morphed into something she sensed but had yet to recognize.
And we offer you The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom, written by Denver Quaker and New York Times prize-winning contributor Helen Thorpe. Helen spent 18 months at South High School in Denver, Colorado, closely observing 22 teens who spoke 14 different languages. They had fled horrific lives in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia to enter the disorienting world of teenage America and its memes, sitcoms, and Snapchat.
At her own expense, Helen hired 14 different translators to make sure she could understand the words, contexts, emotions and experiences the teens and their families shared with her on a day-to-day basis both at home and at school. As Publishers Weekly, the book publishing industry’s bible, writes in a starred review: "...Thorpe provides a layered portrait of the students and explains the daunting refugee crisis in America and elsewhere…[She] puts an agonizing human face on a vast global problem.”
Three Quakers. Three books. Three perceptive views into the inner work of living into our faith, discernment, and the needs of those who make harrowing journeys to our shores.
In the Light,
Publications and Distribution Committee of FGC