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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.

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.

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.

On Secrets (July 2020)

Radical Vulnerability Revisited In moving from Claremont to Los Angeles this year, one of the hardest transitions has been to try to get used to the little signs that my new neighbors post in front of their houses: PROTECTED BY XXX SECURITY SYSTEM – ARMED RESPONSE. After ten months, I still flinch each time I see these signs. They weigh on my heart as constant reminders that we don’t quite trust each other, that we’re not quite ready to be in community.

On Secrets (July 2020)

On Secrets Humans cannot actually view reality from a god’s-eye perspective, despite all the scriptures that have been written by some to help direct others in the name of God. At most, humans can intuit glimmers of insights that might align with a god’s-eye view. Consider the lilies of the field. The god’s-eye view continuously perceives and cherishes the individual agency of each and every creature in the cosmos, animate and inanimate. The god’s-eye view honors the spider in the corner and says, “There You are,” and traps it and releases it, rather than just squishing it. The spider has its own honor and agency, as much as it has its own role in the order of our planet.

On Secrets (July 2020)

International Friends School The International Friends School (IFS) has a guiding spirit. This spirt teaches us, ultimately, that consistent renewals of joyfulness and love provide the sturdiest framework for everything we will experience in life. The smallest acts of love and joy – pulling beets, helping someone after a bike scrape, hanging towels to dry in the sun with a friend – are meaningful. Together with other gestures, behaviors, and practices, these have the power to change the world, as they multiply and create a generation of people who are world-wise and heart-strong. This spirit is evident every day at IFS, a dynamic new school that is intentional in design, molded by Quaker testimonies and practices, and braided gently together by love and joy.

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.”  ~~~

On Teachers (September 2020)

Staying Connected with Our Children The school year is about to begin. Parents and school districts are making decisions about what is best for children in the midst of a pandemic, anxiously weighing health risks against social and mental health benefits, deciding between distance learning and in-person, socially distanced learning. We are facing these same kinds of decisions in our Quaker meetings, as we yearn for social connection and consider our options. As we consider our adult needs and capacities, let’s also remember to ask ourselves: What are we doing to stay connected with our Quaker children and families? How are we attentive to their spiritual needs?

On Teachers (September 2020)

Liturgies of Empire, Liturgies of Resistance (abridged) [The following text was drawn from a complete transcript of C. Wess Daniels’s keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/liturgies-empire-and-resistance]

On Teachers (September 2020)

Practicing Radical Inclusivity (abridged) [The following text was excerpted from Mica Estrada’s complete keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/practicing-radical-inclusivity]

On Teachers (September 2020)