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Ulysses (review)

Many Friends are unaware that James Joyce included a Quaker librarian, Lyster, in Ulysses. As the Religious Society of Friends gropes out of its colorless stasis, Ulysses reminds us that Friends carry a cultural presence beyond the confines of minutes, meetings, and social concerns.  Even so, [pullquote]I encourage Friends to read Ulysses not for its utility, but as a brutally honest exploration of our inner condition.[/pullquote]

On Mediation (January 2020)

Appreciative Eldering

When I first got involved in Friends Meetings, I was fortunate to have a number of role models and elders to guide my first steps into this society, which was foreign to the world I had known. I felt immediately that I was a Quaker and that I had been one for years before discovering a meeting. But learning the Quaker jargon took a while. Some of it seemed so natural because it fit so well, but some of it required absorbing new processes and new ways of looking at the community life. I did some of that learning by osmosis, some by asking questions, and some by getting help from more experienced Friends.

On Mediation (January 2020)

On Mediation

Love and truth spring forth in all times and all places – even in the hearts of chaos and corruption. We strive to follow the Good Way, but only in vain can we define it. Dust devils of DNA whirl down the generations, rampaging, making things new, making things fit, breaking eggs to make omelettes. To our surprise, we arrive in this life. Then we do our best to do the right thing, never really knowing all the good and all the damage we are causing.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Olive Rush and Her Legacy

In 1966, the small Quaker meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was bequeathed its current home, the historic house and garden of the painter Olive Rush. It is already an unlikely occurrence for a Quaker meeting to have a patron, and even more so, for the benefactor to be an artist, given Friends’ long history of disparaging the arts as frivolous and vain. Thus, Santa Fe Meeting’s relationship with our “patron” is unique and has been a source of pride, as well as of controversy.

On Art (March 2020)

Singing in Quaker Worship

Recently, I visited Herndon Friends Meeting in northern Virginia. (I live in Culver City, California, and am Clerk of Santa Monica Friends Meeting). My wife and I were visiting two of our granddaughters, and I skipped away to attend worship.

On Art (March 2020)

The Fancy Sunday Hat

We have one Friend in our Quaker meeting who often comes to worship in a highly-colored and carefully put-together outfit, including an ornate Sunday hat. This is unusual for an unprogrammed meeting.

On Art (March 2020)

Frontline Housing for Healthcare

March 2020 was daunting for everyone, but especially for frontline healthcare providers: doctors, nurses, CNAs, social workers, paramedics, and chaplains. In addition to the daily stressors of ever-changing workplace policies, harrowing statistics, and not enough PPE (personal protective equipment), frontline workers in the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Regions have had to contend with the juxtaposition of their usual daily tasks and constant vigilance towards the ever-increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospitals and nursing homes where they work.

On Wealth (May 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.

On Wealth (May 2020)

In the Living of These Days

Nothing has made me more appreciative of being alive every day than being a hospital chaplain to the sick and dying.

On Wealth (May 2020)