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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)

On Children In her autobiography, Life on Two Levels (1978), Quaker dynamo Josephine Duveneck tells of a year when she provided a foster home in Los Altos Hills, CA, to a seven-year-old Jewish boy from Germany, while Hitler was rising to power in Europe. “What a sweet little personality he was . . . He had been to school just before the time when Jewish children were banned, hence he was thoroughly indoctrinated with Nazi ideology. . . He told me that Adolph Hitler was the greatest man since Jesus Christ. I did not try to disillusion him. Soon, with the help of our horses, his hero worship was [redirected]. At Peninsula School, he learned English and also found out how to play games instead of how to march. I remember vividly the day when the portrait of Hitler that he had tacked up on his closet door had disappeared, and a poster with Franklin Roosevelt’s photograph on it took its place.”

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)

Bullet Points On the “open wound” of border between Nogales, Arizona, U.S.A., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico (actually one city, divided), a steel-tube fence stretches thirty feet high and miles to the east and west – beyond our seeing. Dozens of people entered a restricted zone beside that wall and enacted a die-in last November, to remember 123 migrants who died in the nearby desert during the previous twelve months, as a result of U.S. “preventive deterrence” border policies. The die-in also honored the lives of people killed or disappeared by U.S.-trained, U.S.-equipped, military and police forces in Latin America.

On Weapons (January 2019)

A Brief History of Friends Peace Teams Val Liveoak recently shared with Western Friend the text of her keynote presentation to 2018 PeaceQuest, which is online at: westernfriend.org/media/friends-peace-teams-our-history. The following is a compilation of some excerpts from that text.

On Weapons (January 2019)

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)

Quaker Time – A Friendly Logic Puzzle Plaintown Friends is a small monthly meeting that has spent several recent business meetings laboring over a concern about late arrivals to worship. The meeting struggled for unity. “Late arrivals disrupt the Silence.” “Tardiness is disrespectful to those who are already gathered.” “We should lock the doors after worship has begun.” “It’s all I can do to get my kids out the door in the morning. If we must be prompt, we can’t attend.”

On Puzzles (April 2019)