“Since becoming a member of the Society of Friends I have been asked, now and then, “Why did you become a Quaker?” Upon each occasion I reply only with a warm, knowing smile, like the ancient poet who said “I smile warmly without answering because my heart is free.” What does it matter, whether or not I have become a Quaker? In either case, there is no problem…”
Sok Hon Ham is a member of Seoul Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in Korea. He has been a kind of Korean Gandhi, an independent prophet who has inspired many of his countrymen and has kept his contact with the youth of his country. He is a writer and teacher and knows the great Chinese and Japanese classics as well as the Bible and is a moving interpreter of them.
In this pamphlet, which is being published by the Wider Quaker Fellowship, he has told in an utterly frank way the story of his inner pilgrimage; of the thrust that has come again and again in his life when he has been “kicked by God” into another stage of existence; and it is concluded by convincing testimony that the journey is not over and will never be over as long as he draws breath. It is an oriental poem lifted from the heart of a beautiful spirit.
Two years ago I attended a birthday party in Seoul that was given to him by his friends at the turn of his 66th year and discovered that we were both born in 1901, and therefore were “brothers,” but his birthday’s coming in March and mine in August made him insist that he be called the “elder brother!” I commend this unusual miniature spiritual autobiography of my “elder brother” to all pilgrims of the way.” —Douglas V. Steere, from his introduction (19 October, 1969)