Friends' Testimonies

Book Reviews

God Just Is

by Curt Garnder
reviewed by Marge Gianelli, Spring 2014

Curt Gardner visited LJRSF from England a few months ago and along with his greeting to the meeting, he donated several copies of his book, God Just Is to be made available to all Friends. I took advantage of reading the tome before releasing the copies to our library.

The author was born in Berlin just before WWII. His mother was English, and father was German. He writes about his experiences in war-time Germany and post-war England. These experiences and others helped him to gravitate away from the structured churches and toward the Quaker way of worshiping. The majority of the book is advice on silent worship. He feels that silent worship can be difficult especially for busy young families. He offers exercises to help them take better advantage of the time. He also discussed ways of reaching a deeper more rewarding spiritual experience.

The book is interesting, easy to read, may be helpful to those wanting to explore ways to deepen their experience during silent worship.

Living the Quaker Way

by Philip Gulley
Published 2013
reviewed by Roena Oesting, Spring 2014

Like other Gulley books that I have read, the best part is the short vignettes that he tells of various events in his life or in the lives of people he knows.

This volume is intended for someone who knows very little about the Quaker way, or someone who is just beginning to be involved in a Quaker setting. After a very short chapter on “What is a Quaker?” Gulley sets down his comments on simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality. At the very end, he lists 30 days’ worth of queries on various topics, along with a challenge that the reader try “living the Quaker way” for one month.

This is not my favorite book by Philip Gulley, but it’s a nice introduction to the Quaker world. He writes in an easygoing style, and anecdotes that tells are always interesting.

Spiritual Ecology the Cry of the Earth

Ed. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The Golden Sufi Center, Point Reyes, California, 2013
reviewed by Marge Gianelli, Spring 2014

A collection of essays about how mankind has damaged the earth and suggestions on how our beautiful planet can be restored.

I care deeply about the health of our planet and the distress that it is in. I find it difficult to read the truth embodied in these 20 essays because each author expresses the same concern and the same pain I feel. Yet I am glad I read the essays since I feel a renewed commitment to this issue: to help others to see and understand, and to react in a way that will be necessary for us to survive. Here is a tiny sampling of quotes from various authors:

Thich Nhat Hanj The bells of mindfulness are calling out to us, trying to wake us up, reminding us to look deeply at our impact on the planet.

Thomas Berry When we first arrived as settlers, we saw ourselves as the most religious of peoples...We saw ourselves as a divine blessing for this continent. In reality, we were a predator people on an innocent continent

John Stanley & David Loy We have constructed a system we can't control. It imposes itself on us, and we become its slaves and victims.

Sister Mirian MacGillis It is clear that we have to change the fundamental mindset under the system...We are challenged to change and transform our basic Western, industrial mindset. This is huge...

Geneen Marie Haugen If we approached rivers, mountains, dragonflies, redwoods, and reptiles as if all are alive, intelligent, suffused with soul, imagination and purpose, what might the world become?

I highly recommend that Friends take time to read this book.


by Medea Benjamin
VERSO, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-78168-007-3
reviewed by Victor Gianelli, Spring 2014

The main focus of this very detailed work is the collateral damage ( innocents killed), the expenses of building and maintenance, and the legality of killing done by the drones. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding all the intricacies of the controversy about drones.

Runaway Train

Published 1985

Runaway Train
• 1985
• 1 hr 51 min
• Rated R -- our version has Korean Sub-titles available

Are you ready for what may be the only existential adventure flick in Hollywood history? Two prisoners, Manny (Jon Voight) and Buck (Eric Roberts), escape from a desolate Alaskan maximum-security facility where humans are openly labeled beasts. Tthe early prison scenes are rough to watch. Not for the faint of heart! . After a freezing cross-country hike (involving a 300 ft drop into a river and subsequent swim!) the two hop on board a speeding train, making a clean escape. But the engineer has suffered a heart attack, and the train goes out of control. To prevent a disastrous head-on collision, the railroad heads decide to derail the runaway train, killing its occupants to save the lives of hundreds of others. Once Manny catches on to what's happening, he tries to jump off the train, only to be talked out of such a foolhardy act by railroad employee Sara (Rebecca DeMornay). As doom approaches, Manny apparently goes mad, viciously preventing any attempts to stop the train or rescue its passengers: if he's to die, and if the others are to be saved, it will be on his terms, or no terms. To the music of the second movement of Antonio Vivaldi's "Gloria" in D ("Et In Terra Pax"), Manny ....I won't spoil the balance of the dramatic ending, but this amazing film closes with a quote from William Shakespeare's Richard III:
"No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity."
"But I know none, and therefore am no beast."

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