Religious education, it seems to me, is on the wrong track if it assumes that religion is something that must be drilled into people. It is on the right track if it recognizes that the source of religion is within us as a native endowment, and that the function of education is to call this endowment forth, supply it with the nourishment it needs in order to grow, and guide it in ways that promote maturing.
As I sit in Quaker silence, my mind roams back over the wild places I know – icy cold snow falling all around me at a favorite mountain lake, trees I have held and spoken with, and vistas where my gaze enfolds itself into the hills and valleys far off and far below. Wilderness speaks itself deep in my soul. The untamed beauty of coastal shores and mountains run through my body and connect me to an energy bigger than myself. And though I don’t know what this energy is, I continue to step back... Read more.
Dear Friends: The word “defund” troubles me when we talk about confronting our issues with the police. I believe many people from all racial backgrounds want some kind of police protection. Repeated horrific acts by police officers, now being filmed and exposed constantly, demonstrate the real need for major change. But will words like “defund the police” help as we move forward?
I have had two very different encounters with police which leave me with very different feelings. On the... Read more.
Dear Editor: I was dismayed at Friend Mike Clarke’s letter in your Jan/Feb 2021 issue. I am a White Friend. In my yearly meeting, we are taking anti-racist work seriously, and that involves laboring together because we White Friends are not all in the same place as each other. Friends of Color are in yet other places.
My dismay at Friend Mike’s response is because it sounded to me like defensiveness. It did not sound to me like Friend Mike could acknowledge the anger and pain that I... Read more.
Dear Editor: In response to Rebekah Percy’s article in your Jan/Feb 2021 issue, I will start by saying that every generation faces challenges which seem daunting. Future challenges, remaining to be withstood, will always look more daunting than past problems that have been resolved, even if they have only been resolved in ways that have kicked the can down the road.
The advice I would give myself if I were young would be to identify and pursue a livelihood doing something that I... Read more.
Dear Friends: Thanks to Shelly Tanenbaum, Kathy Barnhart, and Rick Herbert for their Western Friend article (Jan/Feb 2021) on their role in encouraging University of California’s divestment from fossil fuel companies. I appreciate their Quaker modesty about their role and about what divestment can do. By itself, divestment cannot bring Exxon, Chevron, Shell, & Company to their knees, but . . . “small steps,” as some Friends say.
– Bob Langfelder, Strawberry Creek... Read more.