Editorials

On Mixture

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.

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On Children

In her autobiography, Life on Two Levels (1978), Quaker dynamo Josephine Duveneck tells of a year when she provided a foster home in Los Altos Hills, CA, to a seven-year-old Jewish boy from Germany, while Hitler was rising to power in Europe. “What a sweet little personality he was . . .

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On Captivity

We have been created with gifts – awareness, comprehension, will, empathy – to do the work of Life. We can play with these gifts – and it is only by playing with them that we learn to use them well – but in play we risk falling into traps of self-indulgence, we risk blunting and distorting the vital purposes of our gifts and our lives.

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On Garbage

Henry Ford, the father of mass production, is famously known for declaring, “History is bunk.” Thus, he relegated “History” to “the trash heap of history.” (The word “bunk” comes from the Dutch word for “rubbish,” bunkum.) Histories exist to make sense of people’s lives, to reveal the meanings of humanity.

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On Home

Every living thing needs a certain amount of shelter to survive. Some humans cling aggressively to mighty castles; which is to say, they cling to piles of stones. Others remain ever ready to respond to The Call to pick up their tents and walk. The responsive ones are called humble; which is to say, they are blessed.

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On Politics

Dear Friends: We exist as finite creatures embraced by Something Infinite. Spiritual teachers throughout the ages have shown how love and joy can shine from these electrified lumps of clay that are our bodies – how love and joy can shine from this substance of darkness and pain. That is the mystery of incarnation.

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On Balance

In the “capstone talk” of the American Friends Service Committee’s Centennial Summit last month, former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias framed his remarks with reference to an episode described by Henry Cadbury in his Nobel Lecture of 1947. In that lecture, Cadbury recounts, “In 1665, some English Quaker carpenters were building wooden ships on the Thames.

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