Unlearning God

How Unbelieving Helped Believe

America’s favorite Quaker storyteller explores the terrain of faith and doubt as shaped by family, church, and young love, finding his way to a less convenient but fully formed adult spirituality.

A Gathering In Hope

Thanks to an unexpected windfall, Sam Gardner’s congregation (with the exception of a few malcontents) is eager to expand their meetinghouse.

Philip Gulley

Phil Gulley is a pastor at Fairfield Friends Meeting in Camby, Indiana, near Indianapolis. He lives in the nearby town of Danville with his wife Joan and their two dogs, Ruby and Jack. They have two sons, and one granddaughter, Madeline, who rules the roost.

Engaging Presentations

Several times a month, Philip ventures from his Indiana home to tell stories, lead workshops, and discuss spirituality. Keep an eye on Phil’s schedule to see if he’s headed your way. If he isn’t, we invite you to extend an invitation to visit your church, college, or community.

Find YOUR way to Grace.

Welcome to PlainSpeech

I hadn’t been a Quaker very long before hearing the phrase “plain speech.” Confused about its meaning, I asked a more seasoned Friend what it meant.

She said, “It means saying what you mean, and meaning what you say,”

That seemed consistent with the little I knew about Quakers, that they valued integrity, and spoke simply and directly. But later I would learn that plain speech meant more than integrity and brevity, it also meant avoiding language that elevated some and brought down others. Our language reflected the worth and value of all people, not just the high and mighty, so Quakers avoided titles of honor or deference, for ourselves and others. That too, was plain speech.

This custom of plain speech has become increasingly important to me, especially in our culture of income disparity, privilege, and the exaltation of the rich and powerful. You’ll find in these messages a high regard for the common folk, a contempt for hubris, and a passion for truth and reason, clearly spoken. I am becoming, as I age, less enamored with dogma and doctrine, more devoted to the observably true, and not at all inclined to believe something because I am told I must.

I hope these messages give you an appreciation for plain speech, for words and ideas clearly spoken, whose authority is rooted not in some ancient tradition or institution, but in truth, fact, and reason.

This website is free-of-charge, in accordance with my conviction that one’s wealth, or lack of it, should not affect their access to our cultural conversation. Sign-up to receive our weekly messages, and share them with your friends. If you wish to reproduce them for a newsletter, a discussion group, or a Facebook page, feel free to do so. I am enriched when you are.

Our Latest PlainSpeech Messages

Things We Got Just Right (Equality Over Cultural Norms)

Things We Got Just Right (Equality Over Cultural Norms)

Several years ago, a man I know was told he was dying, which of course we all are, but his death was sooner than he had anticipated. Though well-off, he’d always been miserly, to the frustration of his wife who wanted them to travel and see things and visit their...

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Things We Got Just Right (Equality Over Cultural Norms)

Things We Got Just Right (We Value Experience Over Belief)

This happened maybe 30 years ago, when I attended a conference for Quaker pastors down in Orlando. Someone had the bright idea to get all the Quaker pastors in America together and somehow the Evangelical Friends were put in charge, which meant all the speakers were...

read more

“In our ever-changing world, Gulley’s book is much needed.  An important book for any person of faith.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“Every serious Christian ought to read this book, ponder it, wrestle with it, but above all, be grateful for its’ presence in today’s urgent conversation about what we are becoming as a people of God.”
– Phyllis Tickle, author of THE GREAT EMERGENCE

“Philip Gulley separates wheat from chaff, experience from explanation and purpose from function in this book. He calls the Jesus message into a new vision – one that has both power and integrity.”
– John Shelby Spong, author of Eternal Life: A New Vision

“His vision of Christianity is grounded, gripping, and filled with uncommon sense.”
– Father Richard Rohr

“His book is a treasure trove of practical wisdom about what it means to bear witness to our hope for a better world. ”
– Parker J. Palmer, author of HEALING THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY

“Gulley puts the Christ back in Christian. This manifesto is a call not just to worship Jesus, but to follow him. It asks the daring question, “What if Christians actually began to take their Christ seriously?” The answer…”

– Shane Claiborne, bestselling author of THE IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION

Upcoming Events

Recent Work

Unlearning God:
How Unbelieving Helped Me Believe

    Buy Here

A Place Called Hope

    Buy Here