A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense by Robert Lawrence Smith, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense

A Quaker Book of Wisdom: Life Lessons in Simplicity, Service, and Common Sense

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by Robert Lawrence Smith
     
 

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"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

Overview

"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."

Editorial Reviews

Marian W. Edelman
"Here is a road map to reach the places in the soul which can give life meaning."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beginning by invoking his Quaker grandfather, Smith, former headmaster at Washington, D.C.'s Sidwell Friends School shows how to "let your life speak" for your character and beliefs. He plainly and elegantly introduces us to an often misunderstood faith, in his short and gently funny history of the loosely Protestant sect and its 17th-century English founder, George Fox. Smith shows Quakerism to be neither archaic nor beset with odd ritual: "its moniker came from those who mocked the first sectarians, saying they trembled or quaked with anticipation as they waited for God to speak to them." ("And they probably did," Smith playfully adds.) In chapters like "Silence," "Worship," "Business" and "Education," Smith blends remembrances of childhood worship in Moorestown, N.J., family history and more recent experiences with his recollections of the difficult choices he faced as a result of Quakerism's pacifism when confronted with WWII. He also engages in some philosophical speculation on the practical nature of truth, humility and steadfastness. Amidst the torrent of slim inspirational volumes being published, Smith's book is notable for its quiet strength and for the case it makes, by example, for the virtues of the considered life. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688172336
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Edition description:
1 PBK ED
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
459,439
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.52(d)

Read an Excerpt

Lesson One

Seize the present.

Lesson Two

Love yourself, whatever faults you have,
and love the world, however bad it is.

Lesson Three

Stop talking and listen to what you really know

Lesson Four

Play Soccer!

(Or whatever team sport you love)

Lesson Five

Accept the fact that our lives are only partly in our hands.

Lesson Six

Believe in the perfectibility of yourself and society.

Lesson Seven

Make your love visable in the world through your work.

Lesson Eight

Seek justice in the world, but not in your own life.

Lesson Nine

Look for the light of God in every person.

Lesson Ten

Let your life speak.

—Adapted from the Quaker Book of Wisdom

Meet the Author

Robert Lawrence Smith is he former headmaster of Sidwell Friends School in Washington. D.C., the country's largets Quaker day school. He served for ten years as the executive director of the Council for American Private Education and worked on the U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton's professional staff for educational issues. He analyzed adult literacy programs for the Community Foundation of Greater Washington and helped design drug prevention programs for the Corporation Against Drug Abuse. Robert Lawrence Smith lives in Washington, D.C.

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