Dear Friends: Our bodies cannot live outside of history, nor can we live outside of history’s cruelty, its “mixing memory and desire.” Rowing our boats with our backs towards the future, we despair at the carnage we watch flowing out from our wakes – oceans choked by our poisons, lives crushed by our bigotry, truth and kindness twisted by our greed. Some bits of beauty bob along, too. But it’s easy to view the whole scene as basically grim.
Hanlon’s razor, a variation of Occam’s... Read more.
The room was dimly lit. I was one of fifty dancers standing in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, holding hands. Our leader, Johnathan, stood in the middle of the circle with his guitar. He said he was going to lead us in a practice to experience the aspect of God that existed before time began.
One skeptical dancer asked, “How can anyone know what it was like before time began?” Johnathan answered, “It is my aim to give you a real experience of this concept. If you still have your... Read more.
Like many others, I was drawn to the Religious Society of Friends by its compassionate work with people in need. As an undergraduate in the 1960s, I witnessed that compassion first-hand by participating in several AFSC projects, including visiting mental-hospital patients in the Bay Area and working with disadvantaged children during Freedom Summer in Memphis, Tennessee. Those experiences inspired my later career as a child psychologist. Yet almost from the beginning, I have found it... Read more.
Dear Editor: Since I first went to sub-Saharan African in 1964, I have often had to respond to negative and derogatory comments about Black Africa. For example, I have twice complained to Quaker publications where, in the captions for pictures, they gave the names of the White Americans but not of the Black Africans in the same picture. The greatest transgression is what I call African porn – using this definition of pornography: “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse... Read more.
Dear Editor: My friend Chula Morel-Seytoux was kind enough to pass on to me your little piece on Josephine Duveneck’s adventure with the “sweet little personality” from Germany [“From the Editor’s Desk,” September/October 2018]. I appreciated that, since I’m what’s left of that little boy – surely not quite as sweet as in 1936, but just as appreciative of Josephine’s extraordinary kindness. That all seems so very long ago, but my affection for her has not diminished, nor my astonishment at... Read more.
Dear Friends: I’ve come to think of the phrase “save the planet” as the ultimate in hubris. Do we know what the planet actually is, this roughly spherical celestial object that is 24,000 miles in circumference, spinning at 1,000 miles per hour, orbiting the Sun? The planet we call Earth has a molten layer just below the surface that occasionally comes to the surface in the form of lava that destroys everything in its path... Read more.
Dear Editor: From cover to cover, the September/October 2018 edition of Western Friend made plain the grievous suffering caused by racism. Our racism.
The “Editor’s Desk” listed seventeen countries with active armed conflicts this year. Every nation listed is made up of people of color who have been invaded, conquered, and colonized by white nation states.
In her keynote presentation (p.30), Vanessa Julye made clear: “Our past is not divorced from our present.” Today... Read more.