A Motion of Love

Syllabus for A Motion of Love: and you have put on a new self
Pendle Hill, Winter 2001 Quakerism course
taught by Kenneth Sutton

I have often felt a motion of love to leave some hints in writing of my experience of the goodness of God. —John Woolman, Journal

. . . you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. —Col. 3:9–10

This course is intended to examine how we, as individuals, have been shaped in our faith life. How has God shaped us? What are the ways in which we are being shaped by the Religious Society of Friends? What other influences are shaping us? How can we open ourselves to God’s formation?

While there will be established themes, recommended readings, and assignments for self-reflection and expression, this is not an academic course. My foundational assumption is that our own selves are both the primary text and the ideal medium of expression. While prospective participants need enough information to assess whether this course is for you, I am committed to the strengths of flexibility and of creating the course in process and in the context of the specific participants. With that in mind, I will put forth some of the themes we may touch upon and a sampling of suggested readings.


Spiritual formation as an ongoing process in which we participate

A Description of the Qualifications Necessary to a Gospel Minister, by Samuel Bownas. Pendle Hill Publications, 1989.

Being shaped in and by our childhood; reclaiming childhood formation

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth, by Douglas Wood, P.J. Lynch, Candlewick, 1999.

Being shaped by God’s direct intervention

Resistance and Obedience to God, Memoirs of David Ferris. FGC, 2001.

Being shaped by suffering: oppression, the dark night, depression, or illness

Dark Night Journey, by Sandra Cronk. Pendle Hill, 1991.

Being shaped by community: osmosis, assumptions, peer pressure; support, accountability

Thee, Hannah! by Marguerite de Angeli. Herald, 2000.

Being shaped by nature, art, or science

The Barn at the End of the World, by Mary Rose O’Reilley. Milkweed, 2000.

Being shaped by influences outside your tradition or culture, e.g., rationalism, democracy, evangelicalism, Buddhism (or Quakerism, for that matter!)

Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order, by Lloyd Lee Wilson. Celo Valley Books, 1993; Pendle Hill, 1993.

Other suggested readings

A Certain Kind of Perfection: An Anthology of Evangelical and Liberal Quaker Writers, by Margery Post Abbott. Pendle Hill, 1997.

Clearness Committees and Their Use in Personal Discernment, by Jan Hoffman. Twelfth Month Press, 1996.

Eldering, by Peter Wood. Canadian Yearly Meeing Pamphlet 27, 1987.

Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row, by Jarvis Jay Masters. Padma, 1997.

Four Doors to Quaker Worship, by Bill Taber. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 306, 1992.

Gospel Order: A Quaker Understanding of Faithful Church Community, by Sandra Cronk. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 297, 1991.

Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction, by Margaret Guenther. Cowley, 1992.

Journal of John Woolman. various

The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks, by Carolyn J. Weekley. Harry Abrams, 1999.

Let Evening Come: Reflections on Aging, by Mary Morrison. Doubleday, 1998.

Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community, by Suzanne Farnham et al. Morehouse, 1991.

On Hallowing One’s Diminishments, by John Yungblut. Pendle Hill, 1990.

Quaker Journals: Varieties of Religious Experience among Friends, by Howard Brinton. Pendle Hill, 1972.

Quaker Reader, by Jessamyn West. Pendle Hill, 1992.
The Little Quaking Lad, Joseph Besse, pp 115–119
The Dying Words of James Nayler, p. 131
Now Was All My Former Life Ripped Up, Thomas Ellwood, pp 144–166
The Trial of William Penn, pp 166–171
I Ventured My Throat for My Religion, Daniel Roberts, pp 178–197
An Offer of Their Own Bodies, Joseph Besse, pp 200–201
A Unique Laboratory Experiment Which Worked, Rufus Jones, pp 416–430

Spiritual Discernment: The Context and Goal of Clearness Committees, by Pat Loring. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 305, 1992.

Spiritual Friend: Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction, by Tilden Edwards. Paulist, 1980.

Treasure in Earthen Vessels: Letters on Christian Unity, by Brian Drayton. New England Yearly Meeting, 1995.

Various children’s books: Thy friend Obadiah, Old Turtle, God in Between

The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century (translated by Thomas Merton. New Directions, 1960.

Without Nightfall upon the Spirit, by Mary Morrison. Pendle Hill, 1994.

Women of Power and Presence: The Spiritual Formation of Four Quaker Women Ministers, by Maureen Graham. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 294, 1990.