A new book released by Wipf & Stock, Protestant Spiritual Traditions, vol. 2 (ed. Frank C. Senn, 2020), contains my chapter, “Quaker Spirituality.” The book also contains chapters on spiritualities within evangelicalism, Baptists, East Asian Protestants, and an essay on the body in Protestant spirituality. This volume joins an earlier volume that explores the spiritualities of Lutherans, the Reformed traditions, Anglicans, Anabaptists, Puritans, Pietists, and Methodists.
To contribute a chapter on Quaker spirituality to a book about Protestants, I had to begin the chapter by considering whether or not Quakers are Protestants, coming down squarely on “yes and no.” I also had to qualify my perspective by describing the broad range of Quaker traditions emerging out of our history, stating that one cannot really claim a single form of Quaker spirituality. I then unpack some of the things I consider central to Quaker spirituality: the real presence of the Divine and our ability to experience God (in our multiple ways of naming that Presence) ourselves, the centrality of communal listening and discernment, and the ways we combine mystical contemplation and social justice activism into a nonviolent “Lamb’s War,” with an emphasis on speaking truth to power and prophetic action. I connect Quaker spirituality to Methodism and the Holiness Movement and to contextual theology. I also describe the move to the Global South and the importance of those of us in the Global North doing a better job of learning from those in Latin America and Africa, and I conclude with questions about the future of Quakerism, including a nod to Convergent Friends.
One of the endorsement blurbs explains the book thus:
“In this second volume of Protestant Spiritual Traditions, eminent liturgical scholar Frank Senn has successfully assembled impressive scholarly voices from a wide spectrum of Christian backgrounds for a conversation on spirituality—its theological ethos and practice. This feat is significant given that these voices are often not found in conversation with each other. In so doing, he has advanced the work of Christian unity that demands of us to understand and accept others that share the ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all’ (Eph 4:5–6).”—Lim Swee Hong, Program Director, Master of Sacred Music, Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music, Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto