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Pacific Yearly Meeting Epistle Pacific Yearly Meeting Epistle: July 21-26, 2023

Issue: On Healers (September 2023)

North Pacific Yearly Meeting Epistle North Pacific Yearly Meeting Epistle: July 8-11, 2023

Issue: On Healers (September 2023)

Intermountain Yearly Meeting Epistle Intermountain Yearly Meeting Epistle: June 21-25, 2023

Issue: On Healers (September 2023)

Wellspring of Quaker Life Friends: In reviewing the work done by many of us, both teachers and students, across a wide variety of truly marvelous classes, none covered what I consider the heart and soul of Quakerism – and that is sitting in silence, either in a group or alone contemplating our self, seeking personal change.

Issue: On Dignity (July 2023)

Necessary Questions Dear Friends: The fearlessness in Quaker tradition (including the pamphleteer) is speaking truth to power. As a Quaker, I am reminded of the words of Mary Dyer, who said, “We came not to cause discord, but to live in peace.”

Issue: On Dignity (July 2023)

The U.S., Russia, and China Dear Friends: The United States, Russia and China are closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuba Missile crisis in 1962. If there is a full-scale nuclear war, billions of people will be killed immediately and whole cities destroyed and the debris in the atmosphere would lead to nuclear winter in which over seven billion people would die of starvation.

Issue: On Dignity (July 2023)

Organize Dear Editor: Thanks for another great issue of Western Friend. I was inspired/provoked to write this response to a couple of the articles you published in the May/June 2023 issue.

Issue: On Dignity (July 2023)

Ubuntu Call to Cherish Creation Dear Friends: I began this year as an online participant at Southern Africa Yearly Meeting, where we explored the depths of meaning in the word ubuntu. I had some prior familiarity with the word, especially thanks to the writings of anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu. This event, though, gave me a more specifically Quaker insight into the profound way ubuntu is practiced by Friends in Southern Africa and beyond.  

Issue: On Loss (May 2023)

A Meaningful Weekend Dear Editor: I know Western Friend has focused on what our yearly and regional meetings can do to sustain and enhance their respective communities and wanted to share a bit about the spring meeting of Arizona Half Yearly Meeting (AHYM) this past March. We were blessed to have Francisco Burgos from Pendle Hill as our keynote speaker.

Issue: On Loss (May 2023)

Quaker Losses I Would Like to See We cling to old ways, even when they inhibit our spiritual growth. Sometimes we do not remember why the old ways were put in place, which means their use has lost its validity.

Issue: On Loss (May 2023)

Some News from the Board Dear Friends and Supporters: The Board of Western Friend magazine wants to let you know some news.

Issue: On Loss (May 2023)

Peace Efforts in Africa Dear Friends: Why are Quakers supporting peace efforts by Africans in their Great Lakes Region Consortium? Wherever there are valuable minerals to be mined – whether in Africa or eastern Ukraine – outside political and investor power will combine to conscript young men, train them with military weapons, and send them to risk their lives for benefits they will never see for themselves.

Issue: On Conflict (January 2023)

Stop Arms from U.S. to Mexico Dear Friends: On Monday [12/5/2022], I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for refusing to release data on crime guns traced from Mexico and Central America back to purchases in the United States, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted last year.

Issue: On Conflict (January 2023)

Racism & Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy Dear Friends: I want to highly recommend a new discussion paper, “Dismantling Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy,” recently published by the Friends Committee on National Legislation. It does an excellent job challenging the present paradigm of Racism and Militarism in the U.S., shares a possible new paradigm, and explores how we can get from here to there.

Issue: On Conflict (January 2023)

Phoenix Meeting on Abortion Dear Friends: On Sunday, December 4, 2022, at our regular Meeting for Worship for Business, Phoenix Monthly Meeting approved a minute on abortion.

Issue: On Conflict (January 2023)

Russian Peacemakers

Friends: To be a peacemaker in Russia today is to open yourself to charges of treason.  Despite the mass arrests and the constant dangers of even saying that there is a war, good men and women in Russia do stand up for their beliefs. With amazing courage and sly creativity many are finding ways to say, “No to War,” and “No to Putin.”

Issue: On Conflict (January 2023)

Songs to Lift the Spirit Dear Friends: As part of our daily International Worship for Peace, we have been sharing songs with each other. I have stored links to recordings of those songs in an online spreadsheet. Having the songs listed in a table makes searching for a specific song much easier. See: tinyurl.com/SongsLiftSpirit

Issue: On Science (November 2022)

Sociocracy Dear Compassionate Listening Community: Our facilitators have been gathering for brave, courageous meetings, to practice what we preach: listening and speaking from the heart. During a recent meeting, one of our facilitators said, “You can’t dialogue with someone that you can’t hear!” Our practices are not easy. . . We all know how hard it can be to listen to someone when we are feeling deeply triggered. It takes skill and courage!

Issue: On Science (November 2022)

Vanguard SOS Dear Friends: I encourage you to learn about the remarkable “Vanguard SOS” campaign, organized by a coalition of which Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is a member.

Issue: On Science (November 2022)

Olive Rush’s Legacy Dear Friends: Some of you might be interested in further information on the significant Quaker artist, Olive Rush. My article “Olive Rush and Her Legacy” was published in Western Friend in the March/April, 2020 issue. The Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is still wrestling with the issues of preserving her legacy. However, the decision on the future of the Olive Rush Studio and its collection seems relevant to a broader Quaker community and not just one small meeting. In March 2022, I presented a slide lecture on Olive Rush’s mural paintings for the National New Deal Preservation Association of New Mexico. A copy of that presentation, “Olive Rush’s Paintings on the Walls of New Mexico,” is posted online. You can view it at: tinyurl.com/OliveRushPresentation

Issue: On Science (November 2022)

Revolutionary Nonviolence Dear Editor: I was delighted to see an article about Lawrence and Viola Scott and their Quaker activities in the “Pages for All Ages” section of the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend.

Issue: On Science (November 2022)

Have Hope, Choose Love, Be Kind Dear Friends: This year, Gila Friends Meeting designed and produced a yard sign that we have been selling to Friends at yearly meetings. It reads, “Have hope / Choose love / Be kind.”

Issue: On Science (November 2022)

The Dwindling Younger Generation During this Annual Session of North Pacific Yearly Meeting, we have reflected on the many aspects of Quakerism which have led us to this intentional community. Young Adult Friends are led here out of gratitude for the many intangible gifts Friends offer. We are drawn to this non-authoritative community because we value equality in action. We feel grateful for intergenerational community . . . Out of care for this community and its future, we feel led to express our concerns about the way the Society of Friends is operating.

Issue: On Cooperation (September 2022)

Two Hands of Nonviolence Dear Editor: I am writing to thank David Albert for his article, “Gandhi’s Smile,” in the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend. I have been studying the life and work of Barbara Deming, and Albert’s article resonated with those studies. Like Gandhi, Deming addressed ways we can make use of the positive energy that anger brings, while not allowing ourselves to become overcome by its force. She used a “two hands” metaphor to help describe the tension that many of us feel in moments like the one we are living in now.

Issue: On Cooperation (September 2022)

The Future of the Religious Society of Friends

Dear Friends: Ben Lomond Quaker Center (California) and Elsie K. Powell House (New York) are pleased to invite you to a seven-part series of retreats that we are cosponsoring September 2022 through June 2023, concerning the health and future of the Religious Society of Friends. The year-long series is called “Testimonies to Mercy.”

Issue: On Cooperation (September 2022)

A Call to End Hostilities in Ukraine Dear Western Friends: Please consider joining Boulder Meeting in our Statement of Concern about the Ukraine War (7/17/2022). We adapted it from a recent letter by FCNL’s General Secretary Bridget Moix. We hope to share Friends’ profound commitment to peace widely.

Issue: On Cooperation (September 2022)

Thanks for History of Gun Laws To the Editor: Wow. Bill Durland’s piece on the Second Amendment and gun control was clear and educational. I must have slept through civics class. I learned a lot about different levels of the law and about the duty of the judicial system to balance the right to individual freedom against the right to be safe and secure. For example, one does not have the right to shout “Fire” in a crowded movie theater. No right is absolute and unlimited, including the right to bear arms. Bill is a gift to us Quakers and the greater society. Thank you, Bill. And thank you, Mary, for publishing it.

Issue: On Cooperation (September 2022)

All Our Histories To the editor: Mackenzie Barton-Rowledge begins her article in the May/June 2022 issue of Western Friend with her grandfather, modeling the integrity she is seeking from Quakers in North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). She calls attention to one set of family histories in NPYM, which she calls a “settler-majority” community. I am writing to remind us that there are other family histories in NPYM, too.

Issue: On Normality (July 2022)

A Sacred Space Dear Editor: I write regarding the article “Place of Privilege” by Ann Clendenin in the May/June 2022 issue of Western Friend.

Issue: On Normality (July 2022)

Normality is Ever Changing Dear Editor: Normality is an ever-changing reality. As we go through life, our perspective of what is normal changes and evolves. Everyone’s family, work, and religious backgrounds are not the same. It’s all from a different view depending on the person.

Issue: On Normality (July 2022)

In Pursuit of Reconciliation Dear Friends: In “Alternatives to Prison” (Western Friend, March/April 2022), Susan Cozzens suggests that “Quakers by and large want to live in that Light and Love that takes away the occasion of all prisons.” Taking away “the occasion of all prisons” would seem to be a prerequisite for their abolition.

Issue: On Place (May 2022)

The Meaning of Membership Dear Friends: I’m sad that so many people – including so many “recorded Friends” – misunderstand what “membership” in a meeting means.

Issue: On Place (May 2022)

No Homework Required Dear Editor: A Friend in our meeting, Patricia Hogan, started a group you might like to hear about. On the third Sunday of every month, we meet for an hour before meeting for worship to read an article from Western Friend. So that no one feels like they have to do “homework” before getting together, we read the article aloud and stop for discussion or comment at any time. This group has proven to be a way to more thoroughly digest articles and also to get to know each other better. We used to work our way through books this way, but reading articles from Western Friend has been more rewarding.

Issue: On Place (May 2022)

Compassionate Listening Alabama Dear Friends: Tim and I will join the Compassionate Listening Alabama Journey in October, if the program gets enough people to sign up by August.

Issue: On Place (May 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (5) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (4) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hope for Racial Justice Despite U.S. History Dear Friends: I am so excited that Taylor Stewart of the Oregon Remembrance Project will present “Finding Justice for Historical Injustice” in a Zoom webinar at 7:00 PM Pacific on May 6, 2022. Save the date! This presentation offers a blueprint for communities throughout the West who want to reckon with racial injustice in their histories. We can write new endings to the tragic stories of the past. Watch Extra, Extra Western Friend for details to come!

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (1) Dear Friends: In response to Anna Fritz’s article in support of in-person worship, I can only say, “That Friend speaks my mind.” I stopped sitting in front of a screen for meeting for worship when I discovered I could no longer be “present” there, nor pretend that I was. If virtual meeting for worship continues for much longer, I will invite two-to-three F(f)riends to worship in person in my home instead, in the spirit of Matthew 18:20, “When two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Facing Covid Risk in Community (1) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Facing Covid Risk in Community (2) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (3) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (2) As meetings consider how to reimagine worship, Friends have written movingly about the value of traditional in-person Quaker worship. As I consider these heartfelt thoughts, a song comes to mind from my Methodist days: “This Is My Father’s World.”

Issue: On Alternatives (March 2022)

Responding to Climate Change Greetings to Friends Everywhere: The Trustees of Quaker Institute for the Future are moved to share with Friends our concerns about the urgent need to respond to planetary climate change. The world has gone from climate change to climate crisis to climate emergency. The time in which nations and citizens of the world can yet act to mitigate the worst effects of climate change is rapidly vanishing. In the spirit of Quaker tradition, we have prepared this epistle in the hope that it may inspire Friends in solidarity with truth seeking and in their discernment on witness and action.

Issue: On Words (November 2021)

Quaker Ancestors Dear Editor: In your essay on Puritans and Quakers in the Sept/Oct 2021 Western Friend, we noticed the name of William Leddra, who was hanged on Boston Common. Leddra’s story is part of our family history. Robert Harper and his wife, Deborah Perry, are our 8th great grandparents and founders of Sandwich Meeting. As Christianity.com reports, “Robert was a prominent Quaker [in Sandwich, MA] who caught William’s body under the scaffold when the hangman cut it down. For this sign of respect toward his dead friend, Robert and his wife, were banished. Another Quaker, Edward Wharton, helped bury the body. Shortly after William’s death, King Charles II put a stop to the executions.” Robert and Deborah were also flogged for this deed. We learned this story from genealogy research in Cape Cod.

Issue: On Words (November 2021)

Goatwalking is Back! Dear Friends: For the first time in thirty years, you can buy a new copy of: Arizona Quaker Jim Corbett’s book Goatwalking.

Issue: On Cliques (September 2021)

Truth and Healing Commission for Native Peoples Dear Friends, at their June 20, 2021 meeting for worship with a concern for business, Intermountain Yearly Meeting (IMYM) approved the minute below. It calls on individual Friends and monthly meetings to urge their Congressional representatives to support a bill that seeks to create a Truth and Healing Commission for the U.S. Indian boarding schools. Senator Elizabeth Warren is expected to introduce this bill before the August recess. 

Issue: On Cliques (September 2021)

Wanted: News of Quaker Anti-Racism Dear Friends: In their monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings, Friends in the West are rising to the challenge of taking actions that enact equality and justice. We are reaching out to one another to learn what our various Quaker meetings are doing to support Black, brown, and Indigenous lives and to bring down the systems and structures that support White supremacy, within us and without us.

Issue: On Cliques (September 2021)

Moral Debts Dear Friends:

Issue: On Debt (July 2021)

Beauty Dear Editor:

Issue: On Debt (July 2021)

Thanks to a Friend of Moscow Dear Editor: I loved the article by Julie Harlow in the March/April issue of Western Friend. She really touched my heart with her honesty, commitment, and vision for authentic Quakerism. Like Julie, I was deeply involved in Soviet-American reconciliation work in the 1980s. I got to know Julie when she was taking groups of Friends from PacYM to the Soviet Union to build friendships and get to know our “enemy” as part of the citizen diplomacy movement. I felt our citizen diplomacy work helped to end the Cold War. Julie continued to follow her calling to be a Friendly presence for those in Russia who are drawn to Quakerism. Over the years, she has done amazing work through her faithfulness to her leading. I thank God for her!

Issue: On Tricks (May 2021)

Not Assuming Dear Editor: In the published version of my letter in your March/April 2021 issue, there was something you edited out that I consider essential.

Issue: On Tricks (May 2021)

End Mandatory Draft Registration In March 2020, I was crying in frustration and disappointment. The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) had just recommended to the US Congress that the Selective Service System (SSS), mandatory registration for a military draft, be expanded to include women. Was I angry because women were going to be in line to be drafted? That was part of it. But my disappointment, my sadness, was more about the missed opportunity the commission hadn’t taken - to eliminate draft registration for all.

Issue: On Tricks (May 2021)

More on Racism and Policing (2) 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?

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

More on Racism and Policing (1) 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.

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

Across the Generational Divide 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.

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

Small Steps toward Climate Justice 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. 

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

Interested and Hopeful at 100 Dear Editor: I want you to know how much I enjoy Western Friend – the Jan/Feb 2021 issue is particularly good, with some very interesting articles, such as the one on Friends House Moscow. I am about to celebrate my 100th birthday, so it’s wonderful reading hopeful articles, such as “Cassandra” and “Bunnytown.” Anyway, Western Friend is a great READ.

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

Correction of a Quaker Baby Dear Editor: I’ve studied the cover of the Jan/Feb 2021 issue for many minutes, even inverted it. I used a magnifying glass on the reflections in the eyes. I still cannot figure out how one can tell that the pictured child is a Quaker baby.   What’s the giveaway?

Issue: On Relevance (March 2021)

A History of John Woolman School Dear Friends: A history of John Woolman School is in the works. Catherine Lenox, who grew up in the Santa Cruz Meeting and attended John Woolman School in the ‘60s, is the primary author. To ensure there will be sufficient funds to complete the project, Catherine asked me to set up a campaign to pre-sell copies of the book and seek sponsorships. All funds raised beyond expenses will be donated to John Woolman School / Sierra Friends Center. We will use Kickstarter.com for the campaign, beginning January 15th. If you would like a link to the campaign when it starts, please write to me at [email protected].

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

Friends and Toxic Conformity Dear Friends: We gaped as almost 100 congressmen, state attorneys general, and governors signed an amicus brief to a futile lawsuit in Texas, attempting to monkey wrench the recent presidential election. A recent radio piece on NPR, “A Conspiracy of Silence” (Hidden Brain, 12/6/2020), put forth an explanation: Being social creatures, every one of us has to “go along to get along” at times.

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

Urgency for Peace Dear Friends: Since becoming a Quaker, I have realized the importance and urgency of having peace. We have been programmed to believe that violence is the only way to get someone to stop aggression. But in order to have true peace, we must stop responding in kind. Violence only leads to more violence, and if you go to war to fight for peace, you might win the war, but you’ve only subdued the “enemy.” There will still be thoughts of revenge, so that’s not really peace. (Consider how the Southerners feel about Dixie.)

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

Correction for Nov/Dec 2020 Dear Editor: In the Community Forum [“letters” section] of your Nov/Dec 2020 issue, the book White Like Me is mentioned. That book is by White author Tim Wise. White author Debby Irving’s book is called Waking Up White.

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

Unspectacular Solutions Dear Friends: Two articles in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue express concerns about policing and both would benefit from tempering in their respective meeting communities. “Get Out of the Way” alleges unfair discrimination by the author’s meeting, in part based on its reticence to display a “Black Lives Matter” poster and a “defund the police” banner while giving support to other social justice causes. Similarly, the author of “Abolish the Police” states, “As Friends, our Society has a long history of participating in social movements to challenge oppression; but in our recent experience, Friends have seemed very hesitant and resistant to embracing police and prison abolition.”

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

A Good Push Dear Editor: Thank you for this latest issue of Western Friend, “On Rules.” I’m only half-way through, but I’ve appreciated every article. Eleanor Dart and David Tucker gave good viewpoints on their topics. And then I got to Valerie Ireland and Lori Patterson, and I was truly moved to tears, which is really unusual for me. I don’t know if you will get some flak for Lori’s article, but it was a really good push for me. I have a lot to learn, and these present-day Quakers, sharing their struggles with present-day issues, are really great. I know Valerie Ireland, so it felt like she was just sitting in my living room explaining what it’s like these days to work in inner-city schools. Really important to hear. I don’t know Lori, but I very much appreciated her challenge to us white folk.

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

Not Impossible Standards Dear Editor: Thanks to Sharon Doyle for her interesting and informative article in the Nov/Dec 2020 Western Friend about the evolution of the peace testimony. She walked us through centuries with a thumbnail sketch that managed to contain the essence of our inconsistencies, both successes and failures. I have a truer and humbler appreciation for our past. It strikes me that I had similar feelings after reading Fit for Freedom, Not for Friendship. Somehow, I feel that I don’t have an impossible standard to live up to, that Quakers then are like Quakers now: We have some brave, insightful trail-blazers, and the rest of us are trailing along behind, finding excuses until our lack of integrity finally becomes clear, and we see the Light.

Issue: On Vision (January 2021)

The Fourth Bowl Dear Editor: To “The Parable of the Bowls” by Debbie Townsend in the September/October 2020 Western Friend, I would add this:

Issue: On Rules (November 2020)

Beyond Hatred and Scapegoating Dear Friends: In the last edition of Western Friend, the last paragraph of the “Daily Justice and Injustice” article was incomplete — I had not gotten my final edit back to Mary in time. So please consider this to be a correction to that article, which I call “WWJWD: What Would John Woolman DO?” 

Issue: On Rules (November 2020)

A Fitting Punishment Dear Friends: Drought and forest fires all over the West. Two simultaneous hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. The North Pole going ice-free. Each summer hotter than the summer before.

Issue: On Rules (November 2020)

2050 Predictions (1) Dear Editor: I came away from Hayley Hathaway’s upbeat “A Vision of 2050” in the May/June issue thinking, “Sounds great, but does she really believe in what she says here? Or is this just forced hopefulness, so your readers do not despair, facing not just the present, but the future, too?” Sleeping on it, I realized that most 2050 predictions are negative – to be honest to the “facts,” but also to motivate us.  ~~~

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

2050 Predictions (2) My article certainly was an experiment in speculative fiction. I think that trying to create a strong, inspiring vision is one of the most important first steps in making change. Many of our movements have failed because we assumed that general support from most of the populous was enough to make big policy changes, when in fact, it’s usually a small, very dedicated, creative, and strategic group of single-minded folks that make change. I’m motivated by Sunrise Movement and how they are learning from and teaching lessons from the past, while also carrying forward their unique perspectives as young people who literally have no choice but to “Fight for our Lives.”  ~~~

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Santa Fe Friends House Dear Editor: In response to Tyger Wright’s letter, “Growth Versus Preservation,” July/August 2020, I must express my distress at the impression it leaves that Friends in Santa Fe are insensitive to Quaker values and our inheritance from our beloved Olive Rush. As a visitor to our Meeting, Wright can be forgiven for not understanding the larger context, but our situation is far more complex than the “either/or” choice implied in her letter. The Meeting has struggled with this issue for four decades; the resulting divisions continue to cost us a great deal.

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Friendly Spousal Abuse (3) Dear Editor: I think Anonymous “speaks to the condition of many.” I want to share some bits of advice that might help. You can find others in your position to talk with in chat rooms, both on the phone and online. Also, make sure to get acquainted with services you might need before you are in the position of needing them.

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Friendly Spousal Abuse (2) Dear Editor: The author of “Secrets in the Friendly Home” describes a life uncannily like the one would still be living without a late-life separation and divorce.

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Friendly Spousal Abuse (1) Dear Anonymous: This is to recognize your courage to write for the July/August issue, regarding the secret of your hidden life among Friends. Dear One, you are heard, your pain is acknowledged. You are not alone.

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

48 Windows Are Being Fitted Dear Friends: My story, “48 Windows,” ran in Western Friend, May/June 2020. Through the readership, I received donations from twenty individuals and one Meeting – Kalamazoo Friends Meeting in Michigan. With your support, we raised about $4,000, enough for thirty windows that have now been fitted.

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Corrections Regarding the July/August 2020 issue: Roni Burrows is not a member of Tempe Friends Meeting. Susan Cozzens is a member of Eastside Friends Meeting in Bellevue, WA.  ~~~

Issue: On Teachers (September 2020)

Growth Versus Preservation Dear Editor: Thank you to Bettina Raphael and Western Friend for the worthy tribute to the life and legacy of Olive Rush (March/April 2020).

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

Alice Herz Was Remarkable Dear Editor: I was notified that one of our members, Sam Hays, sent you information about Alice Herz, in response to the poem that Carlos Valentin III wrote about her (“Ten Days,” Jan/Feb 2019) and regarding information I recently discovered in Detroit Friends Meeting’s old files. Sam informed you that Alice was asked to leave the meeting, but I felt the need to let you know that there are more facts about this situation that we may not be able to grasp from the limited data we have. We are making assumptions and probably lack of a true understanding of the situation.

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

I Am Sorry Dear Friends: Quakers embrace the inward light to illuminate the dark corners of our own hearts. I have been generous and helpful and empathetic on many occasions. But an underlying selfishness has been sort of hidden there all this time. So, I want to make amends right now and admit to something I failed to do forty years ago.

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

No Map to Sustainability (1) Dear Editor: The article by William Ashworth of Ashland, OR, in the May/June 2020 Western Friend is a perfect example of righteous, individual fossil fuel purity that judges the rest of us gas users as sinners. No analysis on how we transition to get whole society off fossil fuels. No accounting for all the fossil fuels that went into making his Chevy Bolt EV.

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

Engaged Mysticism Dear Editor: Thich Nhat Hahn’s Engaged Buddhism offers a worthy moment of reflection on the notion that Buddhist practice is “merely to be” (“From the Editor’s Desk,” May/June 2020). There are innumerable stories of Buddhist “responsiveness” from Maha Ghosananda’s engagement of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to the enduring presence of Japanese Buddhist monks and nuns at the School of the America’s vigils at Ft. Benning, Georgia; from the epic nonviolent resistance to Chinese occupation in Tibet to anti-nuclear and anti-war vigils around the world. The list goes on. . . One of the Bodhisattva vows is to end suffering, even as suffering is never ending.

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

No Map to Sustainability (2) Dear Editor: Friend Bob Langfelder is correct that my article is not a roadmap to get a whole society off fossil fuels. It was not meant to be. No map is necessary before a journey is undertaken. My purpose was to encourage Friends to undertake the journey.

Issue: On Secrets (July 2020)

A Shift in Our Priorities Dear Friends: In March, when the 2020 Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference was postponed, the planning committee was originally going to ask the plenary speakers, of whom I was one, to write something about how the topic of their plenary related to the COVID-19 pandemic. I'd been nearly constantly thinking about that –Earthcare in a time of COVID-19 – anyway.

Issue: On Wealth (May 2020)

The Devil is Down in the Dumps Dear Editor: Elizabeth Boardman’s piece in the March/April issue has given me great joy. Her article, “The Fancy Sunday Hat,” takes me back to my own childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. At age four or five, I learned a song in our Methodist Church Sunday School that has served me well through almost nine decades.

Issue: On Wealth (May 2020)

Thank You Dear Western Friend: I can't tell you how much it means to me to be able to join Quaker meetings for Sunday worship! As a relatively Isolated Quaker at the Oregon coast, your easy website connection, not only for my home meeting of Eugene Friends, but for many meetings, is such an anticipated delight now on First Days. I look forward to it all week and relish being able to see Friends I haven't been in physical proximity to for years. I also appreciate the Extra! Extra! that comes out to keep up with other Quaker events and concerns. I can only hope that other Isolated Quakers who are scattered throughout the West will take advantage of the unique opportunities presented to us by the current requirement that virtually everyone must practice physical distancing. I wish this kind of Friendly connectivity for Isolated folks could continue, way beyond when this virus fades and we are back to normal life. We Isolated Friends will need other Quakers then, as well as now. Thanks to Western Friend for doing this extra work during our time of physical distancing. You continue to be a blessing to us all as you continue to fulfill your mission of bringing Friends in the West together – now through Zoom!

Issue: On Wealth (May 2020)

What Canst Thou Say? Dear Friends: One of our newer Reno Friends has brought a simple quarterly publication to my attention, and I think some Western Friend readers might find it of interest, either as readers or contributors. You can find it online under its title, What Canst Thou Say? (whatcanstthousay.org). It focuses on experiences we might consider Divine, in virtually any sense. One of the articles currently posted on the website was written by Bob Barns (Grass Valley FM), whom many of us knew.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

Systemic Racism Dear Editor: I am a white male who has enjoyed some reasonable advantages, earned by exploiting opportunities that are often denied inappropriately to people of another race or gender, and I have also experienced prejudice myself, based on less obvious classifications. Even so, systemic racism is a real problem, even if not all challenges faced by people of color are based on race.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

A Needless Dualism Dear Editor: I appreciated Matt Boswell of Sierra-Cascade’s article on Martha and Mary. How gracious, profound, inspired, and true that these two women’s approaches to Jesus and life were both important and valid. A both-and, not an either-or. Thanks, Matt, for deconstructing yet another needless dualism.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

Beautiful Article about Minding the Earth Dear Editor: “A New Story for Earth” by Mary Ann Percy, in the November/December issue, is one of the best articles that I have ever read. I happened to read it right after our meeting held our second-hour discussion one First Day, concerning what each of us can do to be more mindful of the earth (and promised to try). I think we might discuss this article in another second hour soon. It ties a lot of big questions and big concepts together really well, and it is beautifully written.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

Finally Dear Editor: In the November/December issue of Western Friend, I found several articles of particular importance, beginning with “Learning and Living a New Story for Earth” and continuing with “More Powerful than the Grave” and “The Light: Then and Now.” Each of these intrigued me in ways I have wished for in Western Friend for a long time. I felt compelled to read, and rewarded. Thank you for publishing them.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

Ordering - Long Distance Walking Dear Editor: A big thank you to Rob Pearson for his delightful review of Rebecca Henderson’s book, Long distance Walking in New Mexico and Colorado, in the September/October 2019 issue of Western Friend. To obtain a copy of this book, here’s how: Send a check for $20, made out to Coletta Reid & Associates, to Pelican Lee, 730-F Columbia St., Santa Fe NM 87505.

Issue: On Mediation (January 2020)

David Johnson at PYM Dear Friends Everywhere:

Issue: On Control (July 2019)

Peace Teams for the U.S. Dear Editor: The articles in Jan/Feb 2019 issue, “On Weapons,” speak my mind and enrich my thinking, each in its own way. In particular, after reading Timothy Jarvis’s call for finding a way to work on moving our local police forces back to a “Serve and Protect” mindset and then Val Liveoak’s history of Friends Peace Teams, I found myself wondering if it is time for bringing the work of the Peace Teams to the United States. Perhaps this could provide a framework for Friends who are called to change the relationship between police and communities across this country.

Issue: On Puzzles (April 2019)

Games for You, Perhaps Dear Friends: A few years ago, a friend of mine came to his first-ever Quaker Meeting. Salim is an Indian actor, a Sufi, a Reiki master. I was nervous in case the ministry didn’t speak to him. But he came out of that meeting having loved the silence and feeling that the ministry had flowed organically from it. “But,” he said, “you’re all so incredibly serious. What you need is a Quaker mirthquake.”

Issue: On Puzzles (April 2019)

Greeting Cards for You, Perhaps Dear Friends: Albuquerque Meeting supported our friend Emma in sanctuary for twenty-one months. [See the July/August 2017 issue of Western Friend.]

Issue: On Puzzles (April 2019)

Air Travel Dear Editor: I observe faithful Quakers often desire to travel to far countries by jet to follow their leadings. Surely there is merit in this, but how does that merit weigh against the harm to our atmosphere caused by jet emissions? Air travel harms our Earth, and jet emissions will contribute to the destruction of this world, which is not ours to harm. Please be mindful in the accomplishment of leadings. Look at transportation alternatives. Work locally or remotely if possible. Finally, if you must fly, here are tips to reduce the impacts: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/climate/airplane-pollution-global-warming.html

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Council of Elders Dear Editor: I am part of the Council of Elders, a volunteer organization in the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon, committed to promoting civil discourse. We started this organization after hearing about Better Angels (www.better-angels.org), a nation-wide organization that sprang up after the politically polarized  2016 elections. We invited them to do a workshop with us, which inspired my excitement and hope.

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Minutes are Important I came to California and PYM over three years ago. PYM is my seventh yearly meeting. One of the delights for me of yearly meeting is wrestling with a seasoned minute brought forth by some group. Often I knew of the concern, sometimes had even agonized about the concern, but now there was a minute. Often it had passed through many hands as groups of people struggled to find the right words, the right tone, to state a truth that came from leadings of the Spirit. I have experienced the power of a feeling of Presence, of being “covered,” of feeling Spirit there in the room when we united on a minute. Also a thankfulness. My feeling that something needed to be said in the public sphere had happened. With joy, I would unite.

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Appalling Content (2) Dear Friends: We needed to learn the struggle of Quaker Alice Herz, who died in 1965. Without warning, we are plunged into her story by the poem “Ten Days,” found in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Western Friend.

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Appalling Content (1) Dear Editor: I am saddened by your increasing use of web sites for you publication. Like nearly half of Americans, I cannot afford a computer system and, as we age out, that number will increase. This is a new form of classism and exclusion. My understanding of Quakerism is to be in the world but not of it – and to strive for simplicity.

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Camp Woolman Dear Friends: We are proud to be entering our fourteenth year of Camp Woolman.  Our campers play silly games, make friends, garden, backpack in diverse landscapes, learn about peace and community, and drop all pretenses to let their inner light shine through. Our community is uniquely close-knit

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

Money and Soul Dear Friends: I have just read Pendle Hill Pamphlet #450, Pamela Haines’s “Money and Soul,” and I encourage Friends to read it. It’s based on a talk that the author gave at Intermountain Yearly Meeting in 2017 (which was published by Western Friend; see: westernfriend.org/article/money-and-soul-abridged). Haines packs much that is central to economic justice into this little pamphlet – both on the institutional/systemic and the individual levels. The latter often seems more difficult to discuss. Because of its clarity and hopeful tone, this pamphlet would be a useful resource for study groups and worship-sharing groups in all our meetings.

Issue: On Water (March 2019)

On Quakers and Guns (abridged) The following note was excerpted from a longer message. The original is published here in Western Friend’s online library.

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

The Earth will be Fine Dear Editor: Many thanks to Kate McClellan for her letter in the November/December 2018 Western Friend. I appreciated her pointing out that the climate crisis and other environmental crises are not really going to affect the earth fundamentally, but only the biosphere of the earth (which includes us, homo sapiens). The earth will be just fine with or without us. We are not really trying to save the earth; we are trying to save ourselves. What an arrogant species we are!

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

Free Films on Nonviolence Dear Friends: Great News!! Five excellent films on the power of nonviolent action and nonviolent movements are now available for free all over the world in twenty different languages. These are powerful films and will hopefully educate and inspire people to build powerful nonviolent actions and campaigns for peace, justice, and environmental sanity in their own communities and cities. Please share this message and this link widely: www.nonviolent-conflict.org/icncfilms/

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

Teachable Moment Dear Friends: David Zarembka’s concerns about the September/October 2018 cover of Western Friend were eye-openers for me. I appreciate the “teachable moment” his thoughts provided, through his letter to the editor in the November/December issue. I now have a better understanding of another hidden bias to be mindful of as we move forward.

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

Free eBook: Remixing Faith Dear Friends: Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to refine and summarize some of my thinking as it pertains to the concepts of convergent Friends, remix, and renewing faith traditions. I worked to distill down some of the ideas that I think are most important, and I have put them together in an eBook to share with Friends. This book is complete with lots of pictures and illustrations that add to the reading experience. I wanted to share this book with all of you, to make it as accessible as possible, so it is free to download as an eBook or PDF. Please find this book, Remixing Faith, at: gatheringinlight.com/2018/11/20/new-ebook-remixing-faith-now-available/

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

Public Meeting for Worship Dear Friends: On November 11, 2018, San Francisco Friends came to unity on holding a public meeting for worship every Wednesday at 5 PM at UN Plaza. Worship takes place across from the new “mobile command” police station. Worship lasts for 30 minutes and anyone moved by the Spirit is welcome to speak a Word, the same as our Sunday meeting for worship.

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

The Weapons We Carry (abridged) The following note was excerpted from a longer message. The original is published here in Western Friend’s online library.

Issue: On Weapons (January 2019)

Offensive 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 a quick intense emotional reaction.” This is often extremely humiliating pictures of poor, starving Africans, frequently children. 

Issue: On Mixture (November 2018)

Remembering 1936 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 her endless imaginative goodness. So, I’m glad you quoted her, for it refreshes my memory of a golden year at the ranch.

Issue: On Mixture (November 2018)

Insufficient Awe 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 as it creates new land masses or erupts suddenly with boulders flung hundreds of feet upward. Huge chunks of land mass are moving around on the surface, creating mountains, sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly with violent movements that shake everything to the point of collapse. The surface is largely covered by huge bodies of water that are moved by the tremendous force of the Moon’s gravity eight or more feet up and back twice a day. The planet is surrounded by a layer of gases that are the right mix to support our particular life form, but the movements can be so powerful as to blow over trees and hurl water against the land. And then there is the planet’s timescale. At one time dinosaurs lived on the surface of the planet, and then they and most other creatures were entirely wiped out. Sixty-six million years later, here we are, with our “ancient” history three thousand years ago.

Issue: On Mixture (November 2018)

Our Racism Dear Editor: From cover to cover, the September/October 2018 edition of Western Friend made plain the grievous suffering caused by racism. Our racism.

Issue: On Mixture (November 2018)

Not So Fast Dear Editor: I want to thank Kat Northrup for her article, “Race and Quakerism,” in May/June 2018 Western Friend. She has articulated very well my own observations and concerns. I was struck by this comment: “[The] uncomfortable feeling of disingenuous tokenism . . . is a hard feeling to avoid, unless one is already familiar with how highly the Quaker community values honesty.” I think in this case, Northrup is letting Quakers off the hook too easily. Valuing honesty is not the same as being honest. My range of Quaker experience is limited, but I have observed many who are quick to find the mote in another’s eye and maybe slower to examine their own (sometimes unconscious) biases and motivations. I wonder sometimes if, when we speak of “diversity,” we mean we want to be with people just like us, only with different color skins. Those of us who have found a spiritual home in a Quaker faith community want to share it. But can we share it with those who do not have the same social and political concerns that we have? Can those of us who identify as Christians, as followers of the teachings of Jesus, feel comfortable talking about our relationship with God and Scripture?

Issue: On Children (September 2018)

Trust is Key Dear Editor: I enjoyed Robert Levering’s interview in the July/August issue, “A Great Place to Work,” because amongst all the negativity and suspicion today, it is uplifting to know that many corporations are great (not perfect) places to work. He identified trust between employee and management as the key ingredient. Trust develops at many depths, but perhaps at some level, there is a connection between good corporate governance and Quaker worship values. William Taber (Four Doors to Meeting for Worship) expressed it well: “….trust [is] a synonym of faith, for it takes trust to go out into the deep water.” Wading into any community generally involves some deep water. I’m grateful to Robert for rediscovering trust as essential.

Issue: On Children (September 2018)

The 9/11 Truth Movement Dear Friends: The event known today simply as “9/11” happened in 2001, 17 years ago – some would say so long ago that it is not important today. For the three of us, 9/11 is an ongoing Concern. We use the term “Concern” in the Quaker sense of a spiritual leading that constitutes an imperative to action. None of us has a reputation for irrationality or dogmatism. We have been convinced by a significant body of serious and competent scientists, engineers, architects, and others who form the scientific core of what has become known as the “9/11 Truth Movement,” and we have participated in that movement.

Issue: On Children (September 2018)

Revitalize Unions Dear Editor: Regarding Kiernan Colby’s article in the July/August issue, “Unite for Dignity and Respect,” I want to bring to Friends’ attention successful organizing in Missouri over the last year. The Missouri campaign mobilized over 300,100 people to sign petitions to put an initiative on the ballot to block implementation of “right-to-work” legislation in the state. Union members then knocked on thousands of doors, engaged in one-on-one conversations across the state, and successfully mobilized voters to pass the initiative at the polls on August 7, thus turning back efforts in Missouri to gut private-sector unions.

Issue: On Children (September 2018)

Please Proofread More Carefully Dear Editor: I was startled by several errors in the May/June 2018 issue of Western Friend.

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

NPYM Faith & Practice in Uganda Dear Friends: At the rise of meeting in Olympia this past Sunday [May 6], I heard from David Albert that our recently published NPYM Faith & Practice is being used by a newly formed worship group in eastern Uganda. By report, the Ugandans find it a valuable guide in their formation as Friends. I’m astonished and delighted.

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Thank you, Thank you Dear Editor: The May/June issue, “On Expansion,” is wonderful. I read every article this morning and can’t wait to share the articles “Race and Quakerism” and “Journey to the Heart of Worship” with my meeting – as well as the pullout section for young people. Kat Northrup’s article was helpful to me in the way that she listed and explained so well the stumbling blocks we confront when reaching across racial differences. John Kretzman’s article will be helpful to all members and attenders of our meeting as we seek to deepen our worship experience. Two weeks ago, we had fifteen children at a Family Worship and hike to Mel’s Pond on the Sierra Friends Center campus! I plan to share the pullout section with some of those children. Thank you, thank you.

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Beyond Enemy Thinking in the U.S. Dear Editor: I just re-read “Beyond Enemy Thinking” by Meagan Fischer in the May/June 2018 edition. As I did so, I realized that her message about relations between LGBTI people in Latin America and non-local advocate organizations has much wider implications. My mind continually turned to how we view “others” in our country today. How frustrated I can be with my fellow Americans whose beliefs and goals are so different from my Quaker understanding of how we are meant to live with others in this world.

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Seeking Dear Editor: Seeking is woven tightly, Lightly, into our original vocation as Friends. One does not seek what one already knows, but rather, the unknown. Someplace new. The Light within us is brightened by that in others and way becomes clearer. I believe the journey is as sacred as the destination and asking directions is akin to seeking cairns. Together. Ram Dass says, “All we’re doing is walking each other home.” I would add . . . “to a place we’ve never been before.”

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Gratitude for Role Models To the editor: Thank you for sharing excerpts from Lee and Asia Bennett’s presentation at Horizon House in the May/June issue. What a meaning-filled, interesting and spiritually rich journey these two “socially inexperienced young people” have shared for more than sixty years, since marrying halfway through their sophomore year in college! I had the pleasure of knowing Asia while we were both involved with the AFSC, and I recall her leadership with much affection and gratitude.

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Epistle on Immigration Epistle on Immigration from Amigas del Señor Monastary, May 22, 2018

Issue: On Bosses (July 2018)

Wake-up Call to Earthcare Dear Friends: I believe that the Society of Friends is going through a transition in our relationship with Earthcare. In the mid-1980’s, many Friends felt a strong leading to live their lives in harmony with nature and to work for policies and programs that supported these lifestyles. In addition to thousands of lightbulbs switched to compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and generating tons of recycling and home-grown veggies, we also created Quaker institutions that pushed for broader societal change. One of these was Quaker Earthcare Witness, then called “Friends Committee on Unity with Nature,” which was formed in 1987 to connect Friends with an Earthcare leading and to advocate for a sustainable world.

Issue: On Expansion (May 2018)

A Deal with Water Dear Friends:  Do I have a deal for you!

Issue: On Expansion (May 2018)

Together Dear Editor: The other day I was driving home from dropping my children off at school, my toddler humming in his car-seat behind me. I was listening to a discussion on NPR about the 156 women who testified against Larry Nassar, a doctor who gained the trust of children and their families, and then used that trust to sexually abuse countless children. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I was stifling sobs. There is so much pain in the world. We hurt one another, we hurt the world around us, we hurt.

Issue: On Music (March 2018)

Comforting Myths Dear Friends: The introduction to the Western Friend issue “On Captivity” reminds us that Friends practice a method for discerning Truth that we believe can transcend secular notions. At best, we measure ourselves against eternal values, transmitted and purified by a fierce and searching inward Light, rather than by personal standards, contemporary norms, or social movements.

Issue: On Music (March 2018)

Pandemic Bonds Dear Friends: I encourage you to become familiar with the emergence of Pandemic Bonds. Similar to government bonds for state and local infrastructure development, Pandemic Bonds are vehicles for investing in structures of global preparation for outbreaks of diseases like ebola or SARS. These bonds are not yet offered publicly to small investors, but they could be. I think Quaker leadership could be important here, and Western Friends might help provide it. Friends could advocate for the extension of Pandemic Bonds to the market for small investors, nonprofit organizations, pension funds, and foundations. To learn more, see: https://universalistfriends.org/weblog/quaker-bonds

Issue: On Music (March 2018)

Refrigeration Dear Editor: I am so delighted that Western Friend published the 2017 IMYM keynote talk on finances (September/October 2017). Financial management is a spiritual practice, at least as taught by my teacher, Jesus of Nazareth. Citizens of the United States are profligate wasters of world resources. One of the reasons for this is rank ignorance.

Issue: On Music (March 2018)

“Amost Right” is Not “Right” Dear Editor: I deeply appreciate your publishing my poem “On Garbage” in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Western Friend, but I was disappointed that a word was omitted from the penultimate line. It should have read:

Issue: On Captivity (January 2018)

Agree to Disagree Dear Editor: I enjoyed your editorial in the last issue of Western Friend (Sept/Oct 2017), especially this: “Each Friends’ community must decide for itself what range of behaviors it can tolerate within its spiritual home. Some will feel called to walk closely beside those who ‘walk disorderly;’ some will feel called to try talking some sense into that guy in the castle; still others will feel called to stay home and bake bread.” I read that to my husband, because he’s the one who feels “called to stay home and bake bread.” Except for being the recording secretary for our El Paso meeting, he turns down every Quaker job he’s been asked to do – in spite of his considerable talents in reporting, writing, and editing! I don’t understand this, but he doesn’t understand my need to “go, do, and be,” either.

Issue: On Garbage (November 2017)

Importance of Quaker History On October 26 I took part in an interesting phone workshop on Quaker history sponsored by the Western Friend. It was the first online workshop I have ever taken part in, and I want to commend Mary Klein for organizing it and for providing excellent background readings and good questions to ponder. It worked extremely well. I was able to hear and see everyone clearly.  

Issue: On Garbage (November 2017)

War is Criminal Activity Dear Friends: During WW II, on February 14, 1945, I walked with my childhood friend from our school in Prague and he invited me to go to his house to play. For some reason, I decided rather to go home. When I came to the door of our apartment, suddenly an explosion occurred on the street I had been walking on just one or two minutes earlier. Had I been slightly delayed, an air bomb would have killed me. The following day I learned that another bomb had killed my friend on his way home. That day I escaped death twice.

Issue: On Garbage (November 2017)

Overcome Our Judgmentalism Dear Editor: I read the article “Queer Quaker Kinship” with sadness (Western Friend, Nov/Dec 2017). Mainly I’m sad to be reminded of what LGBTQ people suffer, even within our own Society of Friends. But I have another sorrow as a person who has been called to encourage greater understanding among all four branches of Friends: Liberal (that’s us), Conservative, Friends Church, and Evangelical.

Issue: On Garbage (November 2017)

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)

About "Pages for All Ages" (2017) Dear Editor: Thank you so much for your work. With grandchildren who do not attend Quaker meeting, I especially appreciate the section for young people to share.

Issue: On Home (September 2017)

Stop this Insanity Dear Friends: Crimes against humanity are being committed by our government in our name and with our tax dollars: We are bombing people in seven primarily Muslim countries. We are killing tens of thousands of people in the Middle East (most of them civilians) and creating millions of refugees. We are spending one trillion dollars a year on wars and preparations for wars while cutting funds for almost everything else. We are spending one trillion dollars for modernizing our nuclear weapons and the missiles that carry them. We are threatening nuclear wars with Russia and Korea.

Issue: On Home (September 2017)

A Small Church with a Big Heart Dear Friends: Klamath Falls (Oregon) Friends Church is a big supporter of Friendly Water for the World. Beginning in 2015, they have been supporting three community groups who have ensured clean water for some 60,000 people and have become entirely self-sufficient in the process. The three groups are now among the largest philanthropists in eastern Rwanda, providing food for the hungry, health insurance, shoes, and books for children entering school. The members of the three groups work four days a week on clean water efforts; on the fifth day they work in sewing and in traditional crafts, such as basket weaving.

Issue: On Home (September 2017)

Alternate Realities Dear Editor: I was fascinated by Brylie Oxley’s article, “Time Crystals,” in the March/April 2017 issue of Western Friend. I’ve wondered before about reincarnation, but maybe it’s time crystals instead!

Issue: On Politics (July 2017)

Politeuomai

Dear Friends: The following excerpt is from the Progressive Christian Voter’s Guide, which is free online at chalicepress.com. [You can find the link to this booklet in Western Friend’s online library.]

Issue: On Politics (July 2017)

Illuminating Typo Dear Editor: Life can be like driving a car at night – you see only what is in the narrow beam of the headlights, but somehow finish the journey. Better and safer would be “wide-angle” headlights. But, as you typoed in your last “From the editor’s desk,” best would be those “wide-angeled” views illuminating the moral compass on the dash.

Issue: On Politics (July 2017)

Investing in Friends’ Visions Dear Editor: I read with great interest your interview with Jeff Perkins, the Executive Director of Friends Fiduciary (“The Tension of Money and Faith” in the May/June 2017 issue). Having only recently learned of this non-profit group that is available for Quaker organizations, I was eager to learn more about their common faith and set of values that align with Friends.

Issue: On Politics (July 2017)

Conflict in Meetings Dear Friends: Conflict in our meetings is often not resolved in a manner satisfactory to all involved. Frequently, some individuals or groups are left on their own to swallow changes they are not ready for. This happens even though much willingness to being open to a way forward has been experienced within the meeting. It happens whether the conflict is instigated by the behavior and/or beliefs of one individual or by Friends who are promoting new perspectives.

Issue: On Politics (July 2017)

Absurd Dear Editor: Regarding your attempt at calculating the carbon offset amount mandated by your and others’ air travel (WF, Nov./Dec.,’16) I am somewhat puzzled by the whole enterprise. Yes, we all participate in the machinery of ongoing environmental degradation and the apparently accelerating pace of climate catastrophe. But isn’t it misleading, even absurd to try to calculate this out in dollars-and-cents terms as if we could pay out toward our fiscal responsibility at an imaginary teller window somewhere? Really, how could mere humans have any real conception of the actual load placed on the biosphere by our various collective activities? And doesn’t reducing that responsibility to a dollar amount imply that we can simply pay for it, in whatever amount we reckon the damage to be, and then go back to our usual practices without another thought?

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

A Brilliant Contribution Dear Editor: Thank-you for publishing Jim Humphrey’s “Here Sleep Dragons” in the March/April 2017 issue of Western Friend. I’ve long regarded the Quaker faith as both timeless and prescient, and a most fitting expression of 21st Century Christianity in which science, mysticism and justice advocacy meet and affirm each other. I admire Mr. Humphrey’s intimate and transcendent account of our human condition, which relates the evolution of scientific breakthroughs and worldviews, and considers conscious agency within an incomprehensibly complex and co-creative world. His is a deeply inspired rendering of contemporary pragmatic Quaker mysticism, describing a participatory universe of which we are each and all an expression, and a faith “that resides both in action and belief.”

Issue: On Balance (May 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)

An Under-Appreciated Point Dear Editor: As an engineer who went to seminary, I often find myself defending both Science and Faith. Like Jim Humphrey (“Here Sleep Dragons,” March/April 2017), I’m a “pro-science guy” who agrees that science often gets distorted by materialism. And like Brylie Oxley (“Time Crystals,” same issue), I am fascinated by discoveries, like time crystals, that open our minds to the awesome structure of reality.

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

Silence as a Bully Pulpit Dear Editor: I wanted to thank you for undertaking a group discussion by videoconference. I listened to the entire hour. One type of “bullying” that did not come up is the personal use of the silence as a bully pulpit (I call it “Quaker open Mic”). I have participated in a number of meetings in different parts of the West. A weighty Friend in one meeting produced a sermonette each First Day. An individual in another meeting usurped extensive periods of the silence with his personal opinions and attitudes on current topics. People new to meeting groups tend to follow the example of older members or attenders. I think this is one of the more troublesome features of unstructured silence.

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

Resource on Friends and Politics Dear Editor: How perfect! We are about to have a retreat here in Flagstaff with a focus on the question of Friends and politics. We were going to try to put together a compilation of quotations from “historic Friends” on this topic. And we have found on your website that you have done it for us. You are always so timely and in tune with Meetings in the West! I hope we can share with Western Friend what comes out of this retreat.

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

Time to Rise to the Call Dear Editor: A couple of songs come to mind for me now: “This Little Light of Mine” and “Give Me Oil in My Lamp.” It is time to re-consider the complacent comfort zone of our lives up to this point, and rise to the call to live our Light in the world.

Issue: On Insight (March 2017)

A Prayer for Public Officials Dear Friends: As a Christian community, the Cleveland Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) are led by our witness of God to love everyone. All persons are equally worthy of love, respect and justice, and this includes those with whom we do not agree.

Issue: On Insight (March 2017)

Spring Service Learning Camp Dear Friends, especially Friends ages 12-18: You are invited to attend our Spring Youth Service Learning Camp at Quaker Oaks Farm in Visalia, CA, from April 10-14, 2017 (Monday – Friday). Come explore and learn about the Land, Water, and Indigenous People of Pa’an. We will trace the source of our water upstream and consider how we can all be Water Protectors. We will work together to plant Pollinator Habitat to restore the Earth. We will share our histories, and we will love one another across seeming divides – all through fun, interactive activities. For more information, see: https://quakeroaksfarm.org.

Issue: On Insight (March 2017)

The Adventures of QuakerMan Dear Editor: In a time when even Superman, Batman, Ironman, and Spiderman slug it out amongst themselves, I’ve been thinking about a new comic strip: The Adventures of QuakerMan. Cape, a big “Q” on the chest, able to leap over the ocean of darkness is a single bound, etc. A hero who flies in (no, actually – arrives by public transit) to solve the latest threat to peace and mutual understanding, using X-Ray Discernment and a tenacity greater than steel. An illegal immigrant whose homeland has been destroyed by military insurgents, he was hidden as a child in the American Midwest during the Sanctuary Movement and was raised by a loving family, who taught him about Truth, Justice and the Antiestablishmentarian Way.

Issue: On Insight (March 2017)

A New Appreciation for Sports Dear Editor: Thank you for the Jan/Feb 2017 issue, “On Competition.” Each of the articles gave me something new to think about. I know Jay Thatcher, so I especially enjoyed what he had written. But aside from the personal connection, I found his essay, “Prophets on the Field of Play,” profound. Weeks later, I continue to re-read it and think about his ideas.

Issue: On Insight (March 2017)

War Tax Resisters’ Penalty Fund Dear Friends: It’s tax time, again, as we move towards April 15 with so much uncertainty in the future of this country and around the world. As a Quaker and war tax resister, I’ve appreciated the good works and financial support provided for resisters through the War Tax Resisters’ Penalty Fund (WTRPF).

Issue: On Competition (January 2017)

Partisanship and Quaker Meetings Dear Editor: When I was a kid, I thought elections were exciting! All the speeches, the ads, the canvas voting booths going up all along the school hallways. Lately, I have come to hate election season. I find that the yelling, name-calling, anger, and general distrust of one another is distressing to me. And yes, it affects our Quaker meetings as well.

Issue: On Competition (January 2017)

Hope from Palestine Dear Friends: He said he came not to bring peace but a sword. And Fox saw the ocean of darkness before he saw the ocean of light.

Issue: On Competition (January 2017)

Peace Tax Fund Advocates Needed Dear Friends: The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund is seeking a volunteer in each congressional district to communicate with their representative about the Peace Tax Fund Bill and urge its passage. Time commitment is two to four hours a month.

Issue: On Flesh (November 2016)

We have no one to blame but ourselves. Old white people elected a person who ran on a racist, xenophobic, misogynist platform as president of the United States. That’s us baby boomers. That’s me. How did this happen? Maybe we need to stop pointing fingers and wringing our hands and get honest about how this happened and what we’re going to do to take back our democracy.

Issue: On Flesh (November 2016)

Carbon Offsets for Western Friend

Many new initiatives to promote "carbon offsets" have emerged since the letter below was published.

Issue: On Flesh (November 2016)

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)

Speaking Fluent Wishy-Washy Dear Editor: I loved William Matchett’s delicately profound “Notes on Quaker Speech.” I share his sentiment that locutions like “Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business” are tortured and twee. It has been said that Friends abolished creeds, but couldn’t exterminate the creedal impulse. So if Friends are resistant to propound any set of beliefs, it must be all the more tempting for us to cherish certain phrases that signify group identity instead. Sadly, I’ve met people who equated “understanding Quakerism” with “speaking fluent wishy-washy.” In the interest of spiritually immediate language, here are a few more Quaker phrases I wouldn’t mind never hearing again.

Issue: On Media (September 2016)

Support for the Standing Rock Sioux To Friends Everywhere: Our Meeting strongly supports the Standing Rock Sioux in opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and in insisting that their legal and treaty rights be fully honored and not be violated.

Issue: On Media (September 2016)

We Complete Each Other Dear Editor: Thanks to Friend Searl for helpfully reminding us that there need be no schism between Friends led to inward devotion and Friends led to outward activism (“The Illusion of a Split,” May/June 2016). Quakers like Thomas Kelly have long noted that inwardness and outwardness interdepend like roots and fruits. And, although it is essential to cultivate both inward reflection and outward action in one’s personal life, it as also good to remember that we need not all be alike and need not each be gifted in everything. Not every activist will be gifted as a pastoral companion. Not every contemplative Friend will be gifted as a prophetic witness. We are a community, completing each other, not an army of clones striving to be alike. John Woolman and Anthony Benezet both influenced the anti-slavery movement, yet their gifts and spiritual expressions were very different. One’s Truth was directed more outward, the other more inward. Together, they did more than either alone, and the vocal ministry of both existed within a community full of silent gifts of which we seldom hear. Let’s strive for community (commonunity), not uniformity. Together, we are far more than any one gift.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Well Done! Dear Editor: Thanks so much for the excellent article on Elizabeth Fry in the May/June issue. Well done! As some of your readers know, I travel widely among Friends, dressed as Betsy Fry, and talk about her life. This is one of the best short biographies I’ve ever read. “Betsy” will be at Palo Alto Friends Harvest Fest in September, so come see her/me there.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Simple Foods Dear Editor: I appreciate Jane Snyder’s article about simplicity (“Rich People Won’t Eat It,” May/June 2016), and I’m sure living in Portlandia would make anyone suspicious of foodies.  However, I don’t think she is very knowledgeable about the health effects.  Gluten intolerance is a very serious health issue for many people who do not have celiac disease.  And there are people who are lactose intolerant.  If you’re looking to meet the needs of a diverse group, you don’t have to buy gluten-free bread or dairy substitutes.  These tend to be overly processed foods, which is the big problem with our corporate-sponsored food supply.  Plant-based meals such as lentil soup, pea soup, salad with oil and vinegar dressing, potatoes and rice are all options for a meal that feeds a large group while also being healthy and meeting most dietary limitations.  You can put cheeses or other dressings on the side for those who want them.  Buying organic and local may be a little more expensive but has some environmental value.  Just because poor people don’t have as many options and are lured by cheap processed foods (or as Michael Pollan calls them, “edible food-like substances”) doesn’t make it a better diet.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Simple Foods, More on Dear Editor: I write in response to “Rich People Won’t Eat It” by Jane Snyder. Modern Quakers in the communities I am familiar with (PYM and Australia YM) have a wide range of dietary needs and preferences – probably much wider than the general population. I posit that, far from joining modern fads, Quakers are actually ahead of the wider society in tuning into our bodies. We are (or were, and hopefully are returning to be) a somatic religion, which means we tune in to our bodies. Food intolerance can arise not just from medical issues, such as being celiac, but also as a result of trauma and environmental sensitivities, which highlight the plight of our earth. Others make careful choices on what they eat from deeply held ethical positions.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Practical Mystics Dear Editor: We Quakers have been called practical mystics. The title of our handbook makes it plain: Faith and Practice. Our prayer and our witness are a tightly woven fabric. Inseparable yet unique. The warp and woof of our witness. We cannot have one without the other. This is our charism. And our challenge.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Quaker PopOffsets (letter)

Dear Editor: Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) has just approved a new program, Quaker PopOffsets. It’s patterned after a similar program in Britain, which collects contributions and then disperses the money to programs that either educate about family planning or provide family-planning services. Because a “non-person” has no carbon emissions, this is a very effective way to offset one’s carbon emissions. I would also like to ask you to share with Western Friend readers the minute in support of Planned Parenthood that Intermountain Yearly Meeting approved at our annual session this June. Thanks.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Essential Teachings Dear Editor: I would like to comment on the book review of The Essential Elias Hicks (May/June 2016). The reviewer has misunderstood the title as indicating that Elias Hicks was himself essential. Rather, the title indicates that the book demonstrates the essence of what Hicks believed and preached. It’s the essence of Hicks, not the opinion that Hicks was essential. Friend Paul Buckley designed his book to reveal the essence of Hicks’ ministry.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Fresh Dear Editor: In appreciation for the May/June theme, “On Limits,” and each writer’s thoughtful response, I offer fresh words penned by Naomi Shihab Nye, a poetic expression of limits. She gives you her permission to publish this poem.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Information on Public Education: Ask the Students Dear Editor: I was not surprised to find that my article in the March/ April issue of Western Friend, “My Quest to Change the Education System,” was controversial to some Friends. Regarding Gary Miller’s letter to the editor, I would like to write my own response in my defense.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

Discretion Needed Friends Everywhere: In the last few months, there have been many notices of ill Friends on various lists, and the responses of other Friends have raised a concern for me. What is the appropriate detail of medical information to be shared on an email list about a member or attender at Meeting? I know that some Friends participate in various aspects of hospice, and they could share from their professional roles to help those of us on the sidelines understand where our role as members of Meeting for “holding in the light” is getting into the area of private information and where our advice, especially on open email lists, is not appropriate.

Issue: On Heritage (July 2016)

No Tengas Miedo Dear Editor: We just received the March-April issue of Western Friend, “On Beginnings.” Thanks for including my “recipe” for peanut butter cookies! One clarification: Multnomah Meeting does not “support” Amigas del Señor in any financial or legal way. Rather, we “spiritually share in a Covenant of Caring.” It is a promise to stay in touch and hold one another in the Light.

Issue: On Limits (May 2016)

Limited Facts Dear Editor: I was disappointed in Ms. Enoch’s article in the March/April issue of Western Friend, “My Quest to Change the Education System.” I am a Quaker, who has served on local public school boards for over twenty-five years. Some of what she reported is misleading at best.

Issue: On Limits (May 2016)

Friendly Advertisements Dear Friends: Advertisers in Western Friend need your reader support. They pay for ads to support Western Friend and to bring opportunities to your attention.

Issue: On Limits (May 2016)

Faith Questions First Dear Editor: I just came home from our Midyear

Issue: On Limits (May 2016)

Deeply Conscious Art Dear Friends: I know of no organized group of socially aware individuals other than Friends who may be able to help me with this request.

Issue: On Limits (May 2016)

Be Not Afraid Dear Friends: When an angel, according to biblical records, encounters a living human being, the first thing the angel says is. “Fear not!” or “Be not afraid!” or words to that effect.

Issue: On Beginning (March 2016)

Emergency Preparedness Dear Editor: Two items have come to my attention recently for Meetings to consider. Could Western Friend share these with monthly meetings? 1) La Jolla Meeting’s Youth Protection Minute and 2) Emergency Plan Template for Faith Based Organizations. Thanks.

Issue: On Beginning (March 2016)

How Are Friends Helping? Dear Friends: We would like to survey Friends meetings of Pacific Yearly Meeting in California to find out how these meetings are serving and helping their communities.

Issue: On Beginning (March 2016)

The Need to Express Care Dear Friends: I hear a lot of discussion about how to increase membership in Friends communities around my state, where we have a few birthright Friends who were instrumental in the foundation of Friends meetings here. They have had a major influence on how things are done here, including the injunction against “chasing” people who attend or join our meetings.

Issue: On Beginning (March 2016)

Dangerous Tipping Point Dear Editor: I just finished reading the latest issue of Western Friend [Nov/Dec 2015]. The subject of Quakers and economics is something I have thought about a great deal. I often think, “Well, you don’t get bonus points for good intentions and bad outcomes.” The Quakers, at least in the past, were better than others at linking good intentions to good outcomes.

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

Responses to Fears of Terrorism Dear Editor: Recently a friend (notice the lower case), asked me to explain “the Quaker position” on the current “Islamist attacks” (his words, not mine). I am curious to learn other Friends’ thoughts about this question. I am sure that if you got three Quakers together, you would get four different answers.

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

Bolivian Becas Give Dear Friends: This year my meeting, Phoenix Monthly Meeting, decided to sponsor a Bolivian university student for three years, at $750 per year, through the Bolivian Quaker Education Fund. (See bqef.org .) This decision came after we seasoned the idea in our Peace and Social Concerns Committee and with interest from our First Day School. This expenditure – of an annual “beca” or scholarship – is now the largest item in our budget, other than property expenses.

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

Some Math Dear Friends: I want like to share with you an item I read in The Advocate (New Orleans newspaper) and my own mathematical reflections on it.  On November 19, 2015, the Advocate reported that the U.S. drops an average of 2,228 bombs a month in Syria and Iraq, at a cost of $11.1 million a day.

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

Print or Publish? Dear Friends: Early Friends thought of themselves as “Publishers of Truth.” Friends were, and are, prolific writers. Today, as self-publication becomes easier, Friends might learn a bit more about publishing.

Issue: On Money (November 2015)

Children as Soldiers

Dear Friends:  Please consider this article I wrote for Epoch Times, September 10, 2015 on “children as soldiers.” UNICEF estimates that about 300,000 children under 18 are currently involved in more than thirty conflicts across the globe. Although there are no exact figures, the average age is 16 in government forces, younger in armed rebel groups. Some soldiers are as young as eight years old. Please consider this issue, and let your conscience be your guide. Read the article here.

Issue: On Money (November 2015)

Easily Amused Dear Editor: I just yesterday received my printed copy of the September/October issue of Western Friend. Being newer to the Society of Friends, I wonder occasionally if my self-confident, nearly unrelenting sole-proprietor personality – an anti-violent celebration of life in friendship, healthier living, and occasional long streams of profanity – is contradictory to the seemingly tranquil serenity of the Society of Friends! I am inspired by your “From the Editor’s Desk” statements, especially, “Let’s play the Massively Multiplayer Offline Game called The Valley of the Shadow of Death.” Your statement appeals to both my sense of humor and spirituality. I suppose I need not explain your appeal to my sense of spirituality. In terms of humor, I am imagining the juxtaposition of your statement with a speaker in high places (such as major media, financial, or political spokesperson), offering a public suggestion – with the enthusiasm of a pre-teen cartoon character – to play a multiplayer offline game. Perhaps I am easily amused!

Issue: On Money (November 2015)

On Play (letter) Dear Editor:  It was wonderful to see an entire issue of Western Friend devoted to play! (Sept/Oct 2015) As a retired childcare director who believes in the value of play for young children, I am thrilled.

Issue: On Money (November 2015)

Little People Dear Editor:  We were excited to see your photos on the front and back covers of the new Western Friend (Sept/Oct 2015), showing the little Fisher Price people. Our grandson, who will be two in November, LOVES the ones that belonged to our son, his father. Recently, he put them facing each other and turned to us explaining, “Talking.” The next week, when I played a CD of a singer we’d heard at the Farmers Market, he lined them up to listen. Many of them represent us! In your photos, the one in the cap is his “Dada.” This is all done with no input from us, and we find it amazing and wonderful. Here’s a pic of Zander’s arrangement of his “people” listening. Cheers for play!

Issue: On Money (November 2015)

Video on the Doctrine of Discovery Dear Editor: I read the July/August issue of Western Friend, “On Difference,” with great interest, especially the pieces concerning the history of Native peoples in the U.S. I would like to recommend to your readers a video of apresentation given by Steve Newcomb of the Indigenous Law Institute in Arizona, In it, he explains very powerfully and clearly “The Doctrine of Discovery,” which was declared by the Popes in the 15th and 16th centuries to legitimize the domination of non-Christian people.

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

The Right Mix of Gifts Dear Editor: Thanks to Friend Kirby Urner for throwing light on the sometimes troubled relations between Meetings, their Nominating Committees, and their Peace and Social Concerns Committees (“Sticking Out Like Sore Thumbs,” July/August 2015). My Meeting has felt this tension, and I’ve talked to other Meetings that have as well.

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

Gaza Devastation Continues Dear Editor: July 8, 2015, is the one-year anniversary of “Operation Protective Edge,” the most recent devastation of Gaza by Israel. According to the United Nations, about 2,200 Gazan people were killed during the onslaught, 65% of them civilians. I think it is high time that Friends discuss more vigorously and publicly the issues surrounding Israel and the Palestinians.

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

Family Differences Dear Editor: I applaud Pablo Stanfield for his excellent article, “Those Other Friends.” My first experience with a Friends World Committee on Consultation conference was back in the 70s, in Wichita, Kansas. It was then that I realized Quakers are good about working towards peace outside our family of “Friends,” but we are not very good at working towards peace within our own family. Quaker Evangelicals threatened to boycott that conference if an LGBT presence was allowed. Finally, we found a compromise and were allowed to hold an LGBT discussion, as long as it was not on the campus of Friends University.

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

Monday Morning Quarterbacks Dear Editor: I want to thank Mr. Urner for a very provocative article, “Sticking Out Like Sore Thumbs.” I, too, have often asked myself:  What happened to the progressive movement? I want to focus on what we might have done better, rather than resting on our laurels.

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

The 43 Disappeared Students To Friends Everywhere: September 26th marks the first anniversary of the horrific enforced disappearance of 43 students from the rural Ayotzinapa teaching college in Guerrero, Mexico. We carry a heavy weight, as hopes for justice seem increasingly dim. Yet we continue to raise our voices alongside the parents and classmates in remembrance.

Issue: On Play (September 2015)

First Day School Lesson Plans Dear Editor: As I have said before, I love the “Pages for All Ages.” Reading all the themes that you have planned in the months ahead (money, beginning, limits, etc.), this one comes to mind for me: “First Day School Lesson Plans.” I am sending you a few that I have developed, which you can share with other Friends, and I’ll share more with you soon. I have this fantasy that if we are prepared, children will show up!

Issue: On Difference (July 2015)

Integrity as Discipline Dear Editor: I was glad to see Richard Grossman address the population crisis in your May/June 2015 issue, both for the sake of this grave topic, and also because he organizes his arguments around the SPICE acronym for describing key Quaker values, or “testimonies:” Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, and Equality (and Grossman adds Stewardship). Some Friends object to SPICE on the grounds that it would not have been recognizable to George Fox, but I regard the formula as a very succinct and very accurate description of our concerns since at least the nineteenth century.

Issue: On Difference (July 2015)

Shareholder Activism versus Divestment Dear Editor: I read with interest the article “Quakers, Climate, and Money” in the May/June 2015 issue of Western Friend. I am always happy when Friends concern themselves as individuals with the future that climate change will bring, and take action. I would like your readers to know, however, that in deciding how to handle invested assets, they may find useful information by reading about the movement for divestment from fossil fuel companies that is going on worldwide. The Friend who wrote the article may find additional information that could change his opinion about the values of shareholder activism vs. divestment.

Issue: On Difference (July 2015)

Child Refugees from Central America Dear Editor: I met Lynnette Arnold last year at Pacific Yearly Meeting when she called for interested Friends to meet to discuss the problems of the overwhelming numbers of children fleeing to the U.S. from Central America. For Lynette, this concern has evolved into serving as the convener of a sub-committee of the PYM Latin American Concerns Committee (with monthly conference calls), two trips to a detention center for families in Karnes, Texas, and fasting recently in solidarity with a hunger strike by detained mothers. Lynnette is a member of the Santa Barbara Meeting and is currently completing a PhD in Linguistics at UC Santa Barbara. We met at the Santa Barbara Meetinghouse where she was fasting, and I am sending you my record of my interview. Please share this with “Friends Everywhere.”

Issue: On Difference (July 2015)

Toward Unity with Evangelicals Dear Friends: So there I was in the fellowship hall of the Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Orange County, California. My role was that of the official observer from Pacific Yearly Meeting. This was my fifth year attending the annual conference of the Evangelical Friends Church Southwest and I saw some encouraging changes. When I attended my first session in 2006, these fellow Quakers struck me as more evangelical than Friends. This time (January, 2015), I felt that I was among Friends. That feeling began with hearing some Quakerly statements about the need to be diligent about listening to God’s voice, and “Jesus is Right Here, Right Now!”

Issue: On Needs (May 2015)

First Day Fun Dear Editor: I am so enjoying the kids’ section in Western Friend.  It has gotten me through more than one First Day School, and with the variety of ages in our program it’s a very big help.  I can’t wait to do the race at Easter, where everyone tries to race to the rope at the same time for a picture!

Issue: On Needs (May 2015)

Discovery: Peacework in Mexico Dear Editor:  I was greatly interested in Burton Housman’s article, “Between Two Civilizations” in the Jan/Feb issue.  I was one of seven Quakers (four Californians, one each from New York, New Mexico, and Nevada) who attended the first Quaker Social Action in Mexico Learning Tour hosted by the Casa de los Amigos team in Mexico City in January this year.  During our nine days there, we learned much about the critical humanitarian work, peace programs, and partnering done by their dedicated, bright, enthusiastic staff and volunteers.

Issue: On Needs (May 2015)

Are Committees Still the Answer? Dear Friends: Liberal unprogrammed Quaker meetings are organized or disorganized by committees. Without an identified pastor or priest, we count on the wisdom of committees.

Issue: On Needs (May 2015)

Substance Abuse Margaret Fisher’s reminder of the “traditional Quaker testimony on abstinence from alcohol” is also a reminder of the diversity of the world of Friends. Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice mentions the general concern of addictions, particularly those that are harmful to others. Serving alcohol at Meeting gatherings is not to be done, and Friends should always provide alternatives when they serve alcohol to guests in their homes. Pot is not explicitly addressed in Faith and Practice. So I see that this testimony has a few hairs that can be split.

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)

Stereotyping of Native Americans Dear Editor: It was great to read about Burton and Mary Jo Housman’s recent visit to Casa de los Amigos in Mexico City in the Jan/Feb issue. Pacific Yearly Meeting has made progress in building and maintaining ties to Friends in Mexico over the last few years. Visitation between Mexico City Friends and the rest of PYM has increased, and the participation of Mexico Friends on several major committees and programs is most welcome.

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)

Both Sides of the Aisle Dear Editor: I was pleased to see Dan Clark’s article “A Friendly Approach to Partisanship” in the Jan/Feb issue. I couldn’t agree more that Friends have a great opportunity to work with all elected officials, regardless of political party. Clark writes, “. . . the Friendly approach in these ongoing debates is to appeal to the best and highest in both our chosen officials and our fellow citizens, speaking to each other with mutual respect and without rancor.”  

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)

The Struggle for Truth Dear Friends: 9/11 does not go away. It is with us on a daily basis, and it has changed our character as a nation. It has been the rationale for unending war, the sacrifice of civil liberties, the creation of a surveillance state, and a litany of radical changes in US behavior at home and abroad.

Issue: On Knowing (March 2015)

Our Testimony on Alcohol Dear Editor: Thank you for reminding us of the traditional Quaker testimony on abstinence from alcohol. It is dismaying to see it increasingly forgotten in our meetings. It is one thing to recognize that outlawing alcohol and drugs leads to violent crime and mass incarceration. It is another to conclude that the use of chemical substances is desirable or even benign. When we are laughing about the casual use of wine or pot, we might want to ponder this question: Would we make a small sacrifice to help those in need? Are we able to forego a minor indulgence for the sake of those whom disease has made powerless? Because whether we are aware of it or not, we are surrounded by people who are caught with their families in a downward spiral of addiction.

Issue: On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Nayler and Fox Dear Editor: It was good to see your piece on James Nayler in “Pages for All Ages.” Friends today do not always recognize that in the first years of the Quaker movement, Nayler was as important a preacher and as central to the movement as George Fox himself, certainly in the eyes of many London Friends.

Issue: On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Family Planning Dear Editor: When I saw Friend Richard Grossman’s letter to the editor on reproduction (Nov-Dec 2014), my heart leapt for joy. I am a contemplative Methodist-Quaker nun living on the north coast of Honduras, and I volunteer once a week at the Public Health Clinic in Limón, Colón. My experiences as a pediatrician are typical of any part-time health care provider in rural Honduras.

Issue: On Reconciliation (January 2015)

The Button Talk Dear Friends: The Sunday before North Pacific  Yearly Meeting, we were making buttons. A few of our more popular versions are: “I’m a Quaker. No, Not Like the Oatmeal;” “Never Underestimate a Feisty Old Quaker;” and “Caution: Raised Quaker.” We sell these buttons and give half of the proceeds to Western Friend. This is something we do as a family – mother and son. Western Friend is not part of it.

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

Who is this “We”? Dear Editor: Robert Griswold’s article in the July/August 2014 issue of Western Friend discusses ego development without any references and starts off all about “we.” Since he is not referring to any research or current psychological literature, I assume he is sharing his opinion of how ego development worked in his own life.

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

Self-Respect Dear Editor: When my “article” called Pride was edited to appear as a “letter,” I felt an essential something was missing. Someone once remarked “You must be very proud of your children.” I responded, “No. For them I feel love, respect, enjoyment, sympathy. Not Pride, which I have long understood as the deadliest sin.”

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

Actions for Palestine Dear Friends: Britain Yearly Meeting has just published an amazing statement encouraging the recognition of Palestine as a state and an arms embargo on all sides. Can Friends in the US do something similar? We could start by supporting AFSC’s work in this area. (See: http://afsc.org/resource/gaza-under-siege.) Here are excerpts from BYM’s call to recognize Palestine:

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

Actions for Honduras Dear Editor:  Friends want to know what to do about violence in Central America. I have lived in Honduras long enough to make some recommendations. Friends can ask the President and Congress to close the School of the Americas, to support House bill HR2989, to stop foreign “aid” that contributes to violence, and to support foreign aid that is positive. Here are some parts of a letter that I just sent to President Obama:

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

Have You Been in “The Zone”? Dear Friends:  After my article in Western Friend, “Quakers, Sport, and Being in the Zone” (July/August 2014) and a Western Friend video-conference on the same topic, I have two questions for Friends:

Issue: On Family (September 2014)

Accomplishments and Luck Dear Friends: I have long understood pride as the deadliest sin of seven. I also know that it can be appropriate. Pride is sinful only in the sense of an overweening self-glorification. It characterizes someone who behaves as though he is convinced he is worth more than other people.

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

Confusion of Language Genesis tells of the confusing of language while the people of Babylon were building a tower of extreme height. There is evidence of confused communication in modern times. My words apparently do not always convey the same meaning that I had in mind, upon reception by the intended receiver.

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

Quaker Disrespect Dear Western Friend: Thank you for publishing Rob Pierson’s article in the last issue of your magazine. The article is substantial, but does not cover what I experience as some Quakers’ suspicion of any companies, even small ones, including non-profits – ones that practice prudent business processes and employ management, ones that may ask their Boards to use Robert’s Rules rather than “consensus.”

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

A Much Larger Puzzle Dear Friends: In its last issue, Western Friend published a letter to grandchildren everywhere talking about the environmental conditions we are leaving to our grandchildren. While I am grateful to WF for publishing that letter, I am concerned about editorial changes that were made that I was not given the opportunity to review before it went to press. The issue I have with these changes is that they misrepresent what I was trying to say in two important ways. First, the final version gives the impression that all our environmental and social problems revolve around the use of fossil fuels. Our overuse of fossil fuels is just one piece of a much larger puzzle that involves how we manage resources, not just which resource we use. Second, the published letter was edited in ways that oversimplified what I was saying about hope and the factors driving us towards what may be an environmental cliff. In addition to being a grandfather, I am also a geologist and a college educator. This means that I often talk with people who feel that environmentalists are misinformed sentimentalists who are naive about science, economics, politics, and human nature. Because some of the people I eventually hope to reach are adults like my students and colleagues, as well as “just plain folks,” it is important to me that the hope and optimism expressed in it takes into account the complex and harsh realities of our situation. Otherwise we grandparents concerned about the world our grandchildren might inherit from us will be discounted as just another gaggle of naive idealists. We cannot afford to be regarded in this way if we are to have any hope of changing our present course.

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

Who Profits? Dear Editor: Matthew Lowen’s book review of Prison Profiteers (May/June 2014) was a good and disturbing reminder. The Prison Industrial Complex is all about financial profiting; and nothing about crime reduction, intervention, and rehabilitation. It is about building more and larger prisons, and longer sentencing; and nothing about justice in sentencing.

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

A Hollow Power Dear Friends: On a plane to Seattle last December, I struck up a long conversation with a young white man. We touched on nearly everything. Eventually he told me that he was studying law, but hated it. He especially hated his classmates’ obsession with money (due in part to the huge debts they would face upon graduation). 

Issue: On Pride (July 2014)

To Grandchildren Everywhere Dear Grandchildren: I am writing this letter for you to read twenty years from now. I write it as an act of hope. By the time you read this, world will look very different. While I am concerned about the life we are leaving you, I have faith in the unexpected (reality always has a way of messing up our best forecasts). I also have faith in That-of-God residing in each of us, which gives us our capacity for compassion, sacrifice, creativity, and wisdom.

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

Walk Against Fracking to Friends General Conference Dear Friends: The FGC Gathering this year (6/29 –7/5) will be conveniently located near Appalachia, Ohio, and the headquarters of PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PNC is the #1 funder of fracking in Pennsylvania. Ohio is an important state for PNC in terms of its depositors.

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

Woolman Students Inspire Dear Friends: The recent Woolman Semester graduation events at Sierra Friends Center were truly inspiring. Two dozen students presented their capstone projects, and the topics ranged widely, from wildfires to baseball to addiction, and they all reflected the Woolman Semester focus on “peace, justice and sustainability.” The graduates’ valedictory talks were also diverse, with common threads of emotional growth, intellectual awakening, lifelong friendships, safe space, and personal responsibility weaving them together.

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

Let's Stretch Our Quaker Process Dear Friends: One task that we surely have is to change the world for the better.  But we are far from good at this. How do our yearly meetings help?

Issue: On Production (May 2014)

Tax Season Dear Friends: April is the season for pondering the U.S. income tax system and the fact that about half our tax dollars are used to support the Department of Defense, even when the US is not engaged in any major conflict in the world. 

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

Enough with Paying for War Friends: It is that time of year again when we are asked to pay our federal taxes, half of which goes for war and preparations for more wars. In the last century over 180 million people died in wars. Our country continues to spend about one trillion dollars a year of our tax dollars on wars and other military expenditures – for nuclear weapons, bomber planes, drones, over one thousand military bases around the world, and for the soldiers who do the killing for us.

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

Helpful Words Dear Western Friend: I appreciate your work very much! Thank you!

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

A Seeker in Brazil Dear Western Friend:

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

Not Shakespeare Dear Editor: Whoever wrote the passage boxed on page 10 of the last issue, I have no idea, but I do know that it was not Shakespeare. Not only is there no play into which that speech would fit, but the key words – patriotic, patriotism, and citizenry – are words he never used anywhere, as reference to a concordance makes quickly clear.

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

God is in the Flowers Dear Editor: Please reprint this message from Adam Keawe Inau Manolo Camp, “God is in the Flowers: Marriage Equality and the Queen,” originally published by Peter Apo, Board of Trustees, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, PeterApo.com.

Issue: On Time (March 2014)

The Position of Clerk Dear Editor: I'm responding Talley Kenyon’s letter in the November/December 2013 issue of Western Friend. I'm sorry that Palo Alto Meeting has had trouble filling the positions of clerk and recording clerk. Believe me, Friends, they are not alone!

Issue: On Patriotism (January 2014)

Honolulu Welcome Dear Friends:  As Resident Friends at the Honolulu Friends Meeting House since July 2012, we have hosted Friends and friends of Friends from other countries, from the Mainland, and from other Hawaiian Islands.  When we gather around the breakfast table, the interactions are often very interesting and educational.

Issue: On Patriotism (January 2014)

Stages of Worship Dear Friends: What are the stages of silent worship which lead to the unity of a Collected or Gathered Meeting? The first stage is Settling into Worship, though not so comfortably that one has a hard time keeping awake. Focus on what is going on within, rather than distractions. This is known as Centering and includes awareness of similarly minded worshippers.

Issue: On Patriotism (January 2014)

Invitation to FWCC in Sacramento To Friends everywhere: What will be the future of Friends in the 21st Century?  What must we do and be to truly undo the blockages that keep the Living Water from flowing in us and through us individually and corporately?  Do we know what purposes God would have us serve?  How do we communicate across cultural and language lines?  Who will lead and how will we lead?

Issue: On Patriotism (January 2014)

Building Bridges Among Friends Dear Editor:  I am grateful that you published the "Estranged Family of Friends" by Andrew Secret (Sept/Oct 2013). I was moved by his testimony and commitment to fostering unity among different branches of Friends and agree with him with him that "cross fertilization between the traditions...could be very valuable." Amazing things have occurred in the Pacific Northwest since women of the programmed and unprogrammed traditions got together, shared their stories, and developed friendships. The Quaker Women's Theological Conferences, the involvement of Northwest Yearly Meeting in FWCC, FCNL and AFSC, etc. have had a significant impact on the spiritual life of Friends, and enhanced our witness to the world.

Issue: On Deception (November 2013)

Call to New Year's Gathering Friends:  Western Young Friends New Year's Gathering is the spiritual retreat that I look forward to the most every year. Having time to worship and look inward, reconnecting with old friends, meeting wonderful new people, and having the space to listen and be heard, to follow those emotional threads, is so important. It's something that I too rarely get in my busy life.

Issue: On Deception (November 2013)

Remembering New Years' Gatherings Dear Friends: I decided to attend Western Young Friends New Year’s Gathering from December 28, 2012 to January 2, 2013 after attending Pacific Yearly Meeting Annual Session in the summer of 2012, not wanting to wait one full year before I saw all my friends again. I feel a stronger connection with the greater community of the Religious Society of Friends than I do with Honolulu Friends Meeting alone.  

Issue: On Deception (November 2013)

Trying to find Clerks Dear Friends:  The Nominating Committee of Palo Alto Friends Meeting has faced challenges recently in filling the position of Clerk of the Meeting and Recording Clerk.  Two Friends have been sharing the Clerk position for what is now the third year.

Issue: On Deception (November 2013)

Western Friend Forward The editor and board of Western Friend hear this from our readers: While our magazine is published six times a year, many western Friends want to hear from each other more frequently than that.

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

A Letter from 1900 Editors Friends' Intelligencer:

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Western Friend Discussion Group Dear Editor:  Two of us at Orange County Friends Meeting have undertaken a “project” to stimulate thought and dialogue about Western Friend's topics.

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Oppressive History Dear Editor: This is a very good and interesting article by Laurie Childers (July/August 3013). I love the sub-title: "Eleventh Gathering of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers." This is an overwrought word, but "awesome" seems to fit.  I would dearly love to see a picture of this group.

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Walls of Myth Dear Editor: Like farm grade baling twine the theme of walls is woven tightly, cogently, through the latest Western Friend, "On Superiority." A critical and compelling point is taken. The foundations of physical walls are first laid in the thoughts between our ears. Architectural barriers could not exist if the footers were not poured early in the classroom, nurtured by mainstream media and codified into law and policy.

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Morality of Animal Agriculture To the editor: I appreciated and learned from Joe Snyder’s fine essay on the bonds of animal agriculture (May/June 2013). We have in many ways lost the balance of care, responsibility, and stewardship in our relationship with animals in what Joe calls the “monetization” of agriculture. He warns us that a simple rejection of the animal side of our food system, as some vegetarianism involves, may cause still more harm to nature, and even more death to living things. We need to hear this and develop a food system that respects our covenants with nature and sees the hazards of a simple “industrial” vegetarianism.

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Power in Children's Books Dear Friends: I went to a children’s writer’s workshop and read the manuscripts of all the participants. They were exceedingly dark, and the child protagonists were thrust into life and death situations that most of us would never face. The hero or heroine was, without exception, the child of impaired, absent, or dead parents.

Issue: On Love (September 2013)

Gun Buy-Back Dear Editor:  I thought your readers might be interested in this timely article. I've written a lot about this issue on my blog ever since we started our "turning swords into plowshares" campaign three months ago.

Issue: On Superiority (July 2013)

Tenants and Tenets Dear editor: I read with amusement the memorial minute in the May/June issue that referred to the person's "commitment to the tenants of Quakerism.” While it is quite true that many in our meetings seem to be leaseholders of our faith rather than owners and thus in great need of support from others, it would be better still if Friends understood that our faith has no tenets and that "Quakerism" as an ideology is a corruption of our faith.

Issue: On Superiority (July 2013)

A Victory with the IRS Dear Western Friend: In the time since I wrote the article about my frivolous filing penalty with the IRS, there have been some new developments. I would like to share the end of the story. I thought it had ended in August of 2012 when I agreed to pay a $500 penalty instead of the $5000 penalty. I was blue about this, but did feel that it was the best decision considering the situation. It turned out that the $500 had already been taken along with an extra $200 from our daughter's college fund. So the IRS owed me $200. I kept looking in the mailbox for it, and my partner Tim kept laughing.

Issue: On Superiority (July 2013)

Feeling the Challenge Dear Editor: I am on page 12 of the May/June issue of Western Friend, and already my husband, Edwin, and I feel the challenge. I inherited some money recently and this issue of the magazine is helping me to ask how I can invest in the 7th generation rather than just our own comfortable retirement. “Leap into Wings” is a great model for limiting transportation and electrical use. Edwin and I have a long ways to go, but slowly and with some kicking and screaming we have been following a few of our leadings, i.e. we turned off our city water and used water we gathered from the roof this past winter. I also appreciated the letter to the editor from Peg Morton in that Edwin and I were faced with paying taxes for the first time in 25 years, and I wept as I sent off the checks. All this is to say,  “Keep keeping on.” This issue has been more relevant than you know. With appreciation, Barbara Christwitz

Issue: On Superiority (July 2013)

War Tax Conversation To the Editor: I am delighted by the correspondence in Western Friend concerning war tax resistance. (I will use the term “refuser” in this statement. I like this fairly new way of expressing out war tax actions.) I have been a war tax refuser since 1980, and David Hartsough’s letter reflected well my own view. Nancy Haimes argues that war tax refusal is ineffective, maybe even counter-effective. She believes that we should devote ourselves to influencing Congress and to effective participation in the political system. I say that these are not either/or responses. Most of us who are war tax refusers also write and lobby our members of Congress. We demand a vast reduction in the U.S. military spending, and we yearn for and seek the passage of national legislation that would make war tax refusal legal. For information about the bill that is currently before Congress, go to peacetaxfund.org.

Issue: On Consumption (May 2013)

On Poetry by Nancy Richard Dear Editor: What a joy to see in your March/April issue Rick Seifert’s appreciative and thoughtful review of Nancy Gibbs Richard’s book of poems and photographs,  A Small, Steadying Sail of Love.

Issue: On Consumption (May 2013)

A Flawed Process Dear Friends: I believe that the decision to hold PYM at Mount Madonna this year was not made in good order. That haste has been rewarded with a larger price.

Issue: On Consumption (May 2013)

Vets in Our Meetings Dear Editor:  I congratulate Zachary Moon for his fine article in the Western Friend (Jan/Feb 2013). It is well written and thought provoking.

Issue: On Power (March 2013)

The Costs of War Dear Friends: The lifelong work for peace of Ted Neff, member of Davis Friends Meeting, has inspired us to write about our country’s decisions to conduct war.

Issue: On Power (March 2013)

War Tax Resisting Dear Western Friend,

Issue: On War (January 2013)

New Hope for Quaker Action

Dear Friends: The yearning to re-enliven and coalesce the forces within Quakerism to meet the challenges of our time has become a central theme of my life’s work.

Issue: On Seeds (November 2023)

New Website Skills

Dear Friends: When I saw this issue of Western Friend would be “On Seeds,” it occurred to me that one webpage on my blog website was especially appropriate.

Issue: On Seeds (November 2023)

Healing Collective Trauma

Dear Friends: After I received the Sept/Oct 2023 issue of Western Friend, “On Healers,” I read the book, Healing Collective Trauma by Thomas Huebl.

Issue: On Seeds (November 2023)

Not Just a Solution or a Vexation

Dear Editor: I have been thinking about all the non-technical elements of using Zoom for building community.

Issue: On Seeds (November 2023)

More Eyes on the Process

Greetings Everyone! For most of us, attending a U.N. climate conference like the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, November 30 - December 12, 2023, is daunting if not impossible.

Issue: On Seeds (November 2023)

Knowledge of the Lord

To Friends Everywhere: It is with joy that I present to the public again, after nearly two centuries out of print, Job Scott’s Remarks upon the Knowledge of the Lord, the Only True God.

Issue: On Seeds (November 2023)