Critically acclaimed environmental author William Ashworth holds an Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction (1999) and a Kansas Notable Book Award (2007). A committed Quaker, he has held numerous positions in both his home meeting and in North Pacific Yearly Meeting.
This is an excerpt of his foreword to
Le Flambeau School of Driving…
Le Flambeau School of Driving…
I first met Peggy Senger Morrison in the summer of 2002. The Annual Session of North Pacific Yearly Meeting (Unprogrammed) was held that year on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis, and Peggy had been called to be our Friend in Residence ( keynote speaker). An Evangelical Friends' pastor, from one of the most conservative Yearly Meetings in the United States, chosen to keynote the annual gathering of a group of fiercely pastorless Unprogrammed Friends from one of the most liberal Yearly Meetings on the planet? I was very curious to see what would transpire.
I was not disappointed. Striding into view in red python-skinned boots, long hair flying behind, she roamed the stage like a caged panther while presenting a thoroughly Biblically-based, Christian message to those thoroughly non-scriptural, Universalist Friends. Speaking without notes, as the Spirit moved her, she was nevertheless concise, organized, erudite, and challenging.
[This book] began life as a series of columns for United Press International. In 2009, she put a number of those columns between two covers and titled the resulting book "So There I Was..." I picked up a copy at North Pacific Yearly Meeting's bookstore the next summer and was blown away. Here was a book that truly "spoke to my condition." The language was pithy, sassy, often self-deprecating, and so true it was positively painful. The first section, "Spiritual Disciplines for the 21st Century" became my personal guide. I began buying copies of the book in bulk to distribute among my relatives and friends.
Then came the news that "So There I Was..." would cease publication.
Peggy came to the 2014 Annual Session of North Pacific Yearly Meeting - on her motorcycle again - to do a book signing for "Miracle Motors: A Pert Near True Story." I bought a copy and read it. A good book. It contained a lot of my favorite stories from "So There I was...." It contained much of value and interest beyond those. It did not contain "Spiritual Disciplines for the 21st Century."
I emailed Peggy, offering to edit a new edition of the older book for free if she would bring it out again. She accepted. And that is how the volume you now hold came to be.
If you haven't read "So There I Was...," by all means read this book. If you have read "So There I Was...," read this one anyway; in computer terms, this is version 3.0 to the earlier book's beta. If you have read and loved "Miracle Motors," read this for the insights it will give you into the roots of that book; if you are a Quaker, read it for the insights it will give you into your own faith. If you have never read either "So There I Was..." or Miracle Motors," have never heard of Peggy Senger Morrison, and think Quakers died out in the 19th century or live on only as oatmeal and motor oil, read this book and prepare to have your head explode.
And if you are one of my relatives and/or friends, beware. I am going to start handing out copies again.