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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.

On Normality (July 2022)

A Guide to Faithfulness Groups (review) I notice a steady growth of intentional spiritual practice among independent Friends. In the past two decades, programs such as “Way of the Spirit” and “Experiment with Light” have been established and started to thrive. More independent Friends are venturing into chaplaincy or other ministries that were once considered unsuitable for unprogrammed Quakers. Guidance for daily devotional practice and prayer is now offered in recent editions of our books of discipline. I’ve found my spiritual life benefitting from some of this shift in culture that’s developed in our local meeting and around our yearly meeting.

On Normality (July 2022)

Positively Quaker My smartphone bristles with news every day. I mostly ignore it, knowing the news items trend toward the sensational and quirky, not balanced reporting. But recently, the words “Toxic Positivity” appeared as a headline, and that got me to thinking.

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.

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.”

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.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Uplifted in Witness Together What stays essential and what needs to change in the Religious Society of Friends? I remember thinking when I was a teen that many older Friends seemed to have lost the ability to listen. Fortunately, older Friends in my own local meeting believed in us young Friends.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

On Cooperation We are bags full of muscle and bone. And although we can see the leather of the bags, we can only guess at the contents, the memories and desires that propel any life, including our own.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Mountain Time Edifice of rock and ice born of molten silicates       thrust from below the earth’s rocky skin, built of clouds of rock ash and rivers of liquid stone, patiently etched by streams of ice fed by winter storms.

On Science (November 2022)

On Science The allegory of the cave, attributed to Socrates by Plato in The Republic (375 BCE), depicts human knowledge as emerging from a struggle between our senses and our reason. In this story, prisoners are chained inside a cave so that they are only able to see one wall. A fire behind them projects shadows onto the wall, and all the prisoners’ knowledge derives from those shadows, known through their senses.

On Science (November 2022)