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Steve Smith


Intellectual and Prophetic Dear Editor: I have just finished reading through the July/August issue of Western Friend. It is outstanding. I found nearly every article to be of interest; they display not only a high level of intellectual content, but also a prophetic stance that speaks to our contemporary Quaker sensibilities. This combination of “a high level of intellectual content, but also a prophetic stance” sets Western Friend apart.

Issue: On Home (September 2017)

A Regrettable Omission Dear Friends: The January/February 2016 issue of Western Friend included a short essay by me, “The Original Quaker Peace Testimony.” In that essay I challenged the view of the Quaker Peace Testimony held by most contemporary Friends: that it is identical with pacifism, as commonly understood.  My argument drew not only upon my own research and reflection, but also upon the work of a Quaker scholar who is much more versed in the history of the Peace Testimony than I am: Lonnie Valentine, a member of the faculty at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana.  He authored what I regard as the most authoritative historical account of the Quaker Peace Testimony – “Quakers, War, and Peacemaking” – which is included in an immensely valuable new volume of Quaker Studies, The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, edited by Stephen W. Angell and Pink Dandelion. My personal conversations with Lonnie added to the understanding I gained from reading his article.

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

Undercurrent of Anti-Semitism Dear Editor: I write in response to the article, “Shining Light on Anti-Semitism,” published in the July/August 2016 issue of Western Friend.

Issue: On Media (September 2016)

The Original Quaker Peace Testimony My paternal grandfather was a stern, strait-laced Ohio Quaker. My father, his eldest son, lived out most of those values in his own life, including the traditional Quaker repudiation of armed conflict. Yet at the outset of WWII, the youngest son of the family – my Uncle Clinton – chose to join the Army. My father evidently tried to dissuade his younger brother from joining the Army. In the summer of 1942 as Clinton was undergoing basic training in California, he responded to my father’s concerns with these words:

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

Call to PYM Annual Session 2014 - Unabridged Call to the Annual Gathering of Pacific Yearly Meeting, 2014 Youth and Prophecy: Awakening to a New Creation July 14 – 19, 2014; Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma California

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

Calls to The Annual Sessions 2014 - Abridged What do we have to offer as Quakers in these challenging times? Intermountain Yearly Meeting June 8 -15, 2014; Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

Weighty Friends and Quaker Pharisees Wouldst thou be a prophet, or perhaps a saint? Alas, he who thinks he is, most likely aint.                 William Bacon Evans (1875-1964), Quaker writer and weighty Friend.

Issue: On Power (March 2013)

Calls to the Annual Sessions 2015 – Abridged

Intermountain Yearly Meeting, June 7 - 14, 2015; Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)

Archive Articles


Eastern Light
Book Cover - Eastern Light

This spiritual autobiography integrates perspectives of early Quakers, Zen Buddhists, and contemporary Christian thinkers. Smith draws from these sources as he tells a personal tale of his Quaker childhood, his …

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