Healing the World

Racism, Housing, and Cities

Eight years ago, I married Jill Shook, a housing justice advocate and Evangelical Christian who loves Jesus and justice. She also loves Quakers and attends Orange Grove Meeting (and the Methodist Church). The more I walk or drive around Pasadena with her, the more I see a side of this city that I never even imagined before.

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The Face Under The Face

When I first went to the Soviet Union in 1984, I expected to meet a hospitable people, if not outgoing. The first thing I learned was that Russians never smile. They look grim. They stare. The women especially would often stare at me and then turn away abruptly. In U.S. culture, this could be interpreted as distancing, judgmental, even hostile. It was definitely uncomfortable.

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Secrets in the Friendly Home

I’m getting very tired of this. Sometimes I am afraid of the person I am stuck with in this house during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

I am afraid because he yells at me a lot. Sometimes I yell back, of course, but his yelling is louder than mine and more full of hostility. If he ever hit me, it would hurt.

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The Messy Ethics of Giving

Why do Quakers soft-pedal the importance of financial giving?  It’s true, our unprogrammed meetings don’t need as much as conventional churches since they typically lack paid staff and large buildings.  But beyond those differences, we seem to be quite uneasy in even bringing up the topic.

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Gasoline and Leadings

William Penn became a Quaker in 1666, and immediately realized he had a problem. He was a member of the court of King Charles II. As a courtier, he was expected to wear a sword; as a Quaker, he had abjured the sword’s use. What to do? Legend says that he approached George Fox with this conundrum, and Fox cut through it with a simple test: Wear thy sword as long as thou canst.

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