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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)

Alice Herz Was Remarkable Dear Editor: I was notified that one of our members, Sam Hays, sent you information about Alice Herz, in response to the poem that Carlos Valentin III wrote about her (“Ten Days,” Jan/Feb 2019) and regarding information I recently discovered in Detroit Friends Meeting’s old files. Sam informed you that Alice was asked to leave the meeting, but I felt the need to let you know that there are more facts about this situation that we may not be able to grasp from the limited data we have. We are making assumptions and probably lack of a true understanding of the situation.

On Secrets (July 2020)

Worship by Approximation Calm your mind. Breathe. Take a deep breath. Let it out. What’s on my shopping list? Breathe. Take a deep breath. What’s going on in the world? Is my family okay? Breathe. Take a deep breath.

On Secrets (July 2020)

Santa Fe Friends House Dear Editor: In response to Tyger Wright’s letter, “Growth Versus Preservation,” July/August 2020, I must express my distress at the impression it leaves that Friends in Santa Fe are insensitive to Quaker values and our inheritance from our beloved Olive Rush. As a visitor to our Meeting, Wright can be forgiven for not understanding the larger context, but our situation is far more complex than the “either/or” choice implied in her letter. The Meeting has struggled with this issue for four decades; the resulting divisions continue to cost us a great deal.

On Teachers (September 2020)

2050 Predictions (1) Dear Editor: I came away from Hayley Hathaway’s upbeat “A Vision of 2050” in the May/June issue thinking, “Sounds great, but does she really believe in what she says here? Or is this just forced hopefulness, so your readers do not despair, facing not just the present, but the future, too?” Sleeping on it, I realized that most 2050 predictions are negative – to be honest to the “facts,” but also to motivate us.  ~~~

On Teachers (September 2020)

In the Land of the Grasshopper Song (review) In 1908, Mary Ellicott Arnold and Mabel Reed, life partners from the age of sixteen, traveled from their home in New Jersey to the Klamath River area of Northern California, known locally as “the Rivers.” They went as field matrons for the then-named Office of Indian Affairs. Ostensibly, their job was to provide a civilizing influence on the native Karuk people, to be exemplars of Christian piety and domestic virtue.

On Rules (November 2020)

Anti-Racist Giving Sierra Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF) is only a few years old. Not that long ago, most of us were members of Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM). After a lengthy conflict, we were informed that we no longer had a place at the family table. To its credit, NWYM chose to acknowledge that we’d made a contribution to the yearly meeting – sometimes over many generations – and decided to share some of their accumulated wealth with us. We won’t know the dollar amount until next year, but for a fledgling yearly meeting with few expenses, whatever we receive will seem like a windfall.

On Vision (January 2021)

Unspectacular Solutions Dear Friends: Two articles in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue express concerns about policing and both would benefit from tempering in their respective meeting communities. “Get Out of the Way” alleges unfair discrimination by the author’s meeting, in part based on its reticence to display a “Black Lives Matter” poster and a “defund the police” banner while giving support to other social justice causes. Similarly, the author of “Abolish the Police” states, “As Friends, our Society has a long history of participating in social movements to challenge oppression; but in our recent experience, Friends have seemed very hesitant and resistant to embracing police and prison abolition.”

On Vision (January 2021)

Urgency for Peace Dear Friends: Since becoming a Quaker, I have realized the importance and urgency of having peace. We have been programmed to believe that violence is the only way to get someone to stop aggression. But in order to have true peace, we must stop responding in kind. Violence only leads to more violence, and if you go to war to fight for peace, you might win the war, but you’ve only subdued the “enemy.” There will still be thoughts of revenge, so that’s not really peace. (Consider how the Southerners feel about Dixie.)

On Vision (January 2021)

More on Racism and Policing (1) Dear Editor: I was dismayed at Friend Mike Clarke’s letter in your Jan/Feb 2021 issue. I am a White Friend. In my yearly meeting, we are taking anti-racist work seriously, and that involves laboring together because we White Friends are not all in the same place as each other. Friends of Color are in yet other places.

On Relevance (March 2021)