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On Words Language is a technology, a means of employing experience-based knowledge for practical purposes. Words are torches that beam from mind to mind, prompting individuals to turn their attentions in the same direction and to coordinate their efforts for survival. Many species rely on communication systems in this way. Homo sapiens, however, is a species that seems to have undergone a freakishly powerful cognitive mutation about 70,000 years ago. We became enabled then to speak of fictions.

On Words (November 2021)

Responding to Climate Change Greetings to Friends Everywhere: The Trustees of Quaker Institute for the Future are moved to share with Friends our concerns about the urgent need to respond to planetary climate change. The world has gone from climate change to climate crisis to climate emergency. The time in which nations and citizens of the world can yet act to mitigate the worst effects of climate change is rapidly vanishing. In the spirit of Quaker tradition, we have prepared this epistle in the hope that it may inspire Friends in solidarity with truth seeking and in their discernment on witness and action.

On Words (November 2021)

Quakerism: The Basics (review) Two of our Western Friends, Marge and Carl Abbott, long-time members of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon, have teamed up to offer a book providing a clear, simple, and accessible overview of the Society of Friends. While the book serves as an introduction for newcomers, it also offers to all of us, new or old, an excellent review of our faith and history.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Evangelism “Evangelical” is now officially a dirty word with progressive people of faith. This story has been decades in the making and is now accepted fact: The Evangelical wing of modern American Christianity is all about White Nationalism. I am here to tell you: It ain’t necessarily so, even though it sure looks that way.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (2) As meetings consider how to reimagine worship, Friends have written movingly about the value of traditional in-person Quaker worship. As I consider these heartfelt thoughts, a song comes to mind from my Methodist days: “This Is My Father’s World.”

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (4) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Place of Privilege (abridged) [The following article was abridged from a version published online at:  https://westernfriend.org/place-privilege-unabridged]

On Place (May 2022)

Immersed in Prayer (review) Over two dozen people share their thoughts and stories about their prayer lives in this collection edited by Michael Resman. Immersed in Prayer: Stories from Lives of Prayer arose from a project of the editors of the publication What Canst Thou Say, who developed sixteen queries about prayer life, which they sent to their subscribers and Quaker organizations. They ranged from “What happens when you pray?” to “What ways did you find to work around your impediments to prayer?” The sixteen queries form the structure of this book.

On Place (May 2022)