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Beyond Red and Blue The creatures in the ocean were dying. An old woman sneaked up to the shoreline and quietly picked up a few emaciated fish – red ones and blue ones. She put them in her pockets and took them away. She nurtured them back to health in a clean pond where they thrived and propagated. When she had a large number of each, she took them back to the sea. Everything turned purple and flourished.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Race and Quakerism The first time I was confronted with my identity as a “Brown Woman” was my first trip to North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). I had never experienced such a direct external approach to my skin color before. My family celebrated my adoption day as a family holiday. We went back to India to see my heritage history, and I was raised with some Indian cultural education, but my racial background wasn’t ever the first characteristic that came to mind when examining my personal identity. The welcome I received because of my brown skin from the Quakers was both amazingly compassionate and entirely unsettling. At that time, I had only just begun to explore this part of my identity. As an extension of this experience, I began to pay more attention to race relations within the Quaker community, and the struggles of different races around the U.S.

On Expansion (May 2018)

A Scientist’s View on Space and Spirituality The earliest moment I remember struggling with the overlap of outer space and religion was when I was watching a Space Shuttle launch. I noticed that the shuttle didn’t go through a part of the atmosphere that was called “Heaven.” In that moment, I had a very difficult internal argument – I couldn’t decide which to believe in, space travel or God. Years later, I’m now a college student studying Aerospace Engineering, and I’m still struggling with that decision.

On Expansion (May 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.

On Children (September 2018)

#MeToo and Quaker Men A year ago, when the phrase #MeToo went viral, it created an opening for women to talk about negative patriarchal experiences that they have been forced to put up with for years, and it drew widespread attention to sexual assault and harassment of women in all walks of life. #MeToo actually began in 2006, when social activist and community organizer Tarana Burke created the phrase “Me Too” on the Myspace social network. Her goal was to promote “empowerment through empathy” among women of color who had experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities. Burke was inspired to use the phrase after finding herself unable to respond to a thirteen-year-old girl who had confided in her that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke later wished she had simply told the girl, “Me too.” On October 15, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano made a very public invitation to women everywhere to spread the #MeToo meme on Twitter. She later gave Burke credit for the meme.

On Mixture (November 2018)

Self-Compassion and Quakers Like many others, I was drawn to the Religious Society of Friends by its compassionate work with people in need. As an undergraduate in the 1960s, I witnessed that compassion first-hand by participating in several AFSC projects, including visiting mental-hospital patients in the Bay Area and working with disadvantaged children during Freedom Summer in Memphis, Tennessee. Those experiences inspired my later career as a child psychologist. Yet almost from the beginning, I have found it difficult to live up to Friends’ idealism; and over the years, I have grown to perceive among Friends a hidden, unmet need – for self-compassion.

On Mixture (November 2018)

Two Quaker Observers to COP24 2018 was a year of climate records. The fourth warmest year since the beginning of the industrial revolution, it featured intense drought and wildfires in western North America, a devastating hurricane season in the Southeast, unprecedented flooding in southern Asia, and continued loss of Arctic sea ice. It was also the year that the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that humanity had twelve years to stave off global climate catastrophe.

On Puzzles (April 2019)

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? * I became a convinced Friend the first time I walked into a Quaker meeting for worship. I was twenty-one, and I experienced the best of what Quaker worship can be. Compared with my previous experience of religion –  a “stand up, sit down” experience of being “preached at” – I said to myself, “this is the real thing.” That was fifty years ago.

On Puzzles (April 2019)

A Word from the Lost (review) Nayler – this name brings to mind, if not in much detail, the ride into Bristol and the quotation, “There is a spirit that I feel . . .” David Lewis’s book is a fine remedy for this common shortfall in knowledge about James Nayler. It is a brief but remarkably rich account of a Nayler text, Love to the Lost, and its context. Lewis’s book is a theological exploration of Nayler’s writing and much more – including historical, biographical, and political accounts that bring the religious and personal dimensions of Nayler into meaningful connection.

On Mediation (January 2020)