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An FCNL Education in Civic Engagement

Future generations will likely study the events of this year and scratch their heads. Just considering a global pandemic (and the failure of our leaders to address it) and racial injustice reaching a fever pitch, one can almost envision an entire college course examining the calamities of 2020. Add to that the voter suppression, gun violence, hunger, poverty, wars, and extinctions of plants and animals that were already in play before 2020’s headline events, and it almost sounds like a fiction course.

On Teachers (September 2020)

Epistle of the Friends of Color Retreat 2020

To Friends Everywhere: We begin by remembering our ancestors who were strong enough to make a way for us. Friends of Color and their families met for Pre-Gathering Retreat on 26 Day through 28 Day Sixth Month 2020. This is the eighth year Friends of Color have met for our Pre- Gathering Retreat.  First-timers felt welcomed and validated.   This year, we met virtually with our largest attendance yet. There were 47 attendees, ranging in age from 11 months through 77 years from Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and the United States of America.

On Teachers (September 2020)

On Teachers

More than once, I have been humbled by being called racist. My first reaction, however, was not humility. My first reaction was to feel offended and misunderstood. Surely my accuser didn’t know me or my motives or my history. Surely, they were using the term “racist” too broadly – sloppy, really. A more precise definition would be more strategic for The Struggle (You’re welcome!), and would provide the added benefit of keeping me on the right side of history.

On Teachers (September 2020)

This Is the Work

I am a twenty-year veteran teacher. I’ve always taught the littlest ones – first grade, kindergarten, and preschool for four-year-olds, otherwise known as early childhood education or ECE. I teach ECE today in a predominantly black district – Denver Pubic Schools – at Hallett Academy, where 99% of the students are black.

On Rules (November 2020)

Integrity Investment

Shelley’s Story: Imagine a billion dollars being taken out of fossil fuel development and more than a billion being put into renewable energy. This is exactly what the University of California (UC) did in 2020. What did it take for UC to divest from fossil fuels in such a big way?

On Vision (January 2021)

In a Quaker Minute

Most people know several different ways for drawing a large group of people to a decision. I’ve experienced many: Robert’s Rules, the Lakota talking circle, the old-fashioned town-hall meeting, the top-down company-wide memo, a method I’ll call “spokes and wheels,” as well as Quaker meeting for business. These give us “outward forms” for grappling with messy social processes. None of them are sacred, although the sacred may work through them. Do I think some methods excel above others? Yes. Do I think we should change Quaker process? No! However, if I could change one thing in the Quaker mind it would be the errant belief that, in order to be good process, it must proceed at a glacial pace.

On Relevance (March 2021)

The Quaker Spa

I’m no expert on Quaker history, but I’m familiar with the basic outlines. One general observation I can make about Quaker history is this: Early Friends started by getting imprisoned often for breaking the rules, and then they continued as rule-breakers throughout the centuries. Quakers have broken both government laws and cultural conventions. This pattern of rule-breaking emerges from the same source as our testimonies do: Quaker worship.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Faith on the Border

Pima Friends Meeting in Tucson, Arizona, is 60 miles (106 kilometers) from the International Border with Mexico. Our meeting is widely known for the leadership that our member Jim Corbett gave to the sanctuary movement in the 1980s, helping refugees from the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala find sanctuary in U.S. churches.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Across the Generational Divide

Dear Editor: In response to Rebekah Percy’s article in your Jan/Feb 2021 issue, I will start by saying that every generation faces challenges which seem daunting. Future challenges, remaining to be withstood, will always look more daunting than past problems that have been resolved, even if they have only been resolved in ways that have kicked the can down the road.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Sabbath Economics

Sabbath economics offers an alternative approach to dominant paradigms of economic theory and practice. Theologian-educator Ched Myers coined the term “Sabbath economics” in the 1990s, drawing from the Torah standard of social and economic justice and based on God’s call to “keep the Sabbath” by alternating good work with periods of rest.

On Debt (July 2021)