My friends may have hoped to protect me from mischief and boredom when I retired from teaching at George Fox University, where I was rarely bored. So they invited me to edit the journal Quaker Religious Thought (QRT). I suppose they also knew that my students sometimes resented my keen eye for Miss Spellings and other misteaks. But probably they remembered that I had been involved with the journal and with the Quaker Theological Discussion Group (QTDG) for more than forty years and that I had helped with editing before.
As editor, I gather and organize the papers that contributors have presented at the annual meetings of the discussion group. When papers or authors go into hiding, this gathering work can get tedious, but it’s always rewarding to read and edit the interesting essays that contributors offer. The stated purpose of the QTDG is “to explore the meaning and implications of our Quaker faith and religious experience through discussion and publication.” First published in 1959 and now twice a year, QRT explores topics in theology, pressing contemporary issues, questions of Quaker practice, reviews of significant new books, and much more. Readers can find a complete list of issues and topics at the QTDG website.
Because we want to deepen our understanding and refine our thinking, the papers and conversations at the QTDG include all sorts of Quaker thinkers and even folks who view Friends from the outside. It’s delightful to do this in person, of course, but the journal invites those who can’t attend the conversation. This enriches both local Friends and our wider Friends community. Newberg folks will know Arthur Roberts and Paul Anderson, both of whom have edited and contributed to QRT, and others here who have written for the journal. (NFCer Michael Comfort, with Allegra, has been doing a fabulous job with the graphic design. And Phil Smith is super at handling subscriptions and distribution.) But the journal also makes it possible to enjoy pieces by leading thinkers T. Canby Jones, Wilmer Cooper, Dean Freiday, Hugh Barbour, Carole Dale Spencer, David Johns, and many others.
Now people around the world can access this treasure of Quaker thinking. George Fox University has graciously included the whole QRT archive in its “digital commons.” (See http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/qrt/. Newer issues will be added on a timely, but delayed, schedule.) So readers in Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia, South America, even remote corners of North America, can now search over the internet for QRT articles by topic and author, and they can read online or download the pdf-formatted articles to use as they need. Even before we announced this new feature, we had hundreds of “hits” from around the world.
So I’m not bored. Instead, I’m glad to help share this good conversation with Friends across North America and around the world. And I think I still have some time left for mischief.