In the tradition of "Plain and Simple" and "The Cloister Walk", this book offers a rare, intimate account of one woman's journey into the world of the Shakers--a radical Christian sect whose belief in a Mother-Father God, equal rights for all, and direct interaction with the spirits of the dead shocked other established religious communities Print ads. NPR sponsorships ....
|Title||:||God Among the Shakers: Search for Stillness & Faith at Sabbathday Lake|
|Number of Pages||:||288 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
God Among the Shakers: Search for Stillness & Faith at Sabbathday Lake Reviews
I've been fascinated with the Shakers since 2001, when I visited the (no longer active) Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire. A few years after that visit, I picked up this book by Suzanne Skees. She lived with the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake, the last active Shaker community in the United States. At the time of her visit, in the late 1990s, only eight Shakers remained. Now, there are only 3 or 4 Shakers remaining. Even Martha Stewart has visited the Shakers; check out this video: http://www.marthastewart.com/908784/s...Two things that surprised me about Shaker life were 1) how much the greater community is involved at Sabbathday Lake and 2) how prosperous and industrious the Shakers are.Skees conveys just how much the Shakers give up in order to fulfill their spiritual goals. Of course, to the Shakers, they aren't "giving up" anything. This is a beautifully written book. Skees' words are poetry. This is one of my favorite passages:It was not just sex Shakers give up: It was the standing power of one mature body next to another through the years and changes of a lifetime. It was the comforting presence of two lovers, side by side on the bed, through quiet or restless nights of life's twilight years. It was the familiar comfort of one wrinkled smile to another over the heads of doctors, beyond the reach of pills and heating pads, alongside the fear of decay and death. It was the tenderness with which one lover buried the lifeless remains of another, placing him down into the earth with hands lined with years of loving him, tending his grave with faithfulness that only one person in this world remembers.
I read this about 10 years ago now, in two parts.The author is a little effusive, but that's all right. She manages to share her beautiful experience visiting the Shakers; plus all her research on the sect, just fine. She made me want to visit, to go to Maine and attend a Shaker meeting. There are many things about the Shakers that I didn't know -- for instance, they haven't all died out. They have mellowed in the last century, opening Meetings to the public and all. They have quite a following.I did think Skees dwelt a little too much on celibacy and how she couldn't possibly do without sex. That's kind of the typical worldly response, I guess. The Shakers response made me laugh, with their dismissal of that. I liked knowing that celibacy was not the most difficult part, but more likely the living in close community. But it was all beautiful -- especially "hands to work, hearts to God".
I don't know how many Shakers are left, when I read this book there were only a handful. This book tells the story of a nearly extinct religion and way of life.
I got on a Shaker binger, after watching a PBS documentary on them this past weekend.