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Not the Final Word

Part of my dad’s job with the American Friends Service Committee was to take speakers around to various college campuses, churches, and summer institutes. As a kid, I sometimes went along and got to meet such spiritual giants as peace activist A.J. Muste and civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin and Ralph Abernathy. During spring vacation in 1956, my dad decided to take my brother Paul and me to Montgomery, where the bus boycott was four months old.

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.

On Difference (July 2015)

My Quest to Change the Education System

A normal school day in a traditional public school is full of many issues that go against Quaker values. These issues tend to have a negative impact on students and, therefore, the world surrounding them. The issues include, but aren’t limited to, the ineffective use of textbooks in the classroom, students unconsciously being taught to hate certain subjects, students losing their love of learning, rushing in the classroom, over-reliance on standardized testing, and the ineffective use of homework. These issues and many others led me, a student, to focus on transforming the education system to make it better for both students and teachers.

On Beginning (March 2016)

Surmounting Limits in Quakerism

When I asked Mary Klein if she would publish an article about the 2016 meeting of Friends World Committee on Consultation, she suggested that I write one for the issue on “Limits.” My initial response was: “Is she kidding?” I was grateful for her offer, but something in me bristles at the word “limits.”

On Limits (May 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.

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.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Body-Mind-Spirit Preparation

Over the last few years, I have been clarifying a spiritual practice that has been a part of my life for some time, but which I have only recently been able to articulate. My time as clerk of my monthly meeting these last couple of years has helped me to understand it as a necessary part of what I do to keep myself spiritually balanced and present.

On Flesh (November 2016)

Cooperation & Competition - A Nordic Balance

As a young adult Friend I was greatly influenced by Elise and Kenneth Boulding, long-time members of Boulder Meeting. I remember Kenneth mentioning, with a twinkle in his eye, “Boulding’s First Law.” (Kenneth made his living as an economist.) “Whatever has happened,” he told me, “is possible.”

On Competition (January 2017)

Two children’s picture books about mindfulness - Review

Charlotte and the Quiet Place (2015) is a story for ages five to nine, set in one of the noisier places in North America: New York City. Charlotte and her dog find a quiet space in a park, where she notices her breathing and inner quiet. She learns how to re-create that space in other parts of her world, closing her eyes, breathing deeply, and taking her mind back to that park.

On Insight (March 2017)