Quakers are often very interesting people. And generations come and go.These are the modest theses behind this book. In fifty-plus years among The Religious Society of Friends (our rather pompous official name), its members, attenders, hangers-on and even antagonists, I have kept bumping into and hearing about interesting people. And many very interesting people.And having had what some call “a good run,” my generation (beginning, as I did, in the depths of World War Two, and extending, with a stretch, to the early 1960s), is now on its way out.“Generations come and go,” is how the Preacher of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes (one of my favorites) dryly put it. And it’s our turn.
Among us are several centuries of Quaker experience and thought. It’s a longstanding Quaker tradition that, whatever we say or write, it is above all our lives that speak, across the world, and beyond our generation. That’s what Passing the Torch tries to get at. What does it all add up to? As I said, good reading. otherwise, I’ll leave that to others with more degrees; or defer to that ancient Preacher in Ecclesiastes: 8:16-17: Whenever I tried to become wise and learn what goes on in the world, I realized that you could stay awake night and day and never be able to understand what God is doing. However hard you try, you will never find out. The wise may claim to know, but they don’t.