Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith

Synopsis: "The most valuable aspect of religion," writes Robert Lawrence Smith, "is that it provides us with a framework for living. I have always felt that the beauty and power of Quakerism is that it exhorts us to live more simply, more truthfully, more charitably." Taking his inspiration from the teaching of the first Quaker, George Fox, and from his own nine generations of Quaker forebears, Smith speaks to all of us who are seeking a way to make our lives simpler, more meaningful, and more useful. Beginning with the Quaker belief that "There is that of God in every person," Smith explores the ways in which we can harness the inner light of God that dwells in each of us to guide the personal choices and challenges we face every day. How to live and speak truthfully. How to listen for, trust, and act on our conscience. How to make our work an expression of the best that is in us. Using vivid examples from his own life, Smith writes eloquently of Quaker Meeting, his decision to fight in World War II, and later to oppose the Vietnam War. From his work as an educator and headmaster to his role as a husband and father, Smith quietly convinces that the lofty ideals of Quakerism offer all of us practical tools for leading a more meaningful life. His book culminates with a moving letter to his grandchildren which imparts ten lessons for "letting your life speak." (from the inside of the cover)

Review: This is a pleasing and inspiring book. With simple, home style prose, Robert Lawrence Smith speaks about his faith and family. He doesn't get too deep into Quaker theology, but uses lessons and examples from his own life to illustrate the core tenants of Quaker beliefs. Having little knowledge of their beliefs, I found this an excellent overview and starting point. I'm eager to learn more about the Quakers, and although I don't think I agree with all their theology, I admire them for the dedication they have to their beliefs - in particular, to education and service to the poor and hurting.  I recommend this book as a fine place to start learning about Quakers. It isn't academic or scholarly, and would be a lovely gift for someone looking for inspiration.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-688-15653-3
Date Finished: 11-8-15
Pages: 192

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