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On Needs I need a miracle. I cannot bring into the world all the good that I want, no matter how much it is needed. But by some miracle, I can learn to play my part.

On Needs (May 2015)

Overcoming Need Six months after Sister Alegría (née Beth Blodgett) and I moved to Honduras in 2006 and began to live our Methodist-Quaker monastic life, cell phone service came to this remote region of the country. Almost overnight it seemed, everyone had cell phones, and it wasn’t long before people were declaring them “necessary.” When someone asked why we didn’t have one, we explained that phone calls would interrupt our contemplative lifestyle. “But what if one of you gets hurt? How will you get help?” “Then the other will walk to the road and will notify the next car that goes by” – just as anyone would have done a year ago before there was cell phone service! Cell phones can be useful, and Sister Alegría and I make phone calls most weeks by borrowing phones or renting them, but they are not necessities. We don’t need them.

On Needs (May 2015)

Simple Acts, Basic Needs I recently realized some of my small everyday acts both meet my own needs, and give testimony to the Quaker value of simplicity.  Here are two examples:

On Needs (May 2015)

SPICES and Human Population Growth Friends are not known for large families. However, it is my experience that many members of the Religious Society of Friends are like most people in the USA – we are generally unaware of the connections between what we hold dear and the growing number of people in the world. Human population growth is an “elephant in the room,” which we typically avoid or ignore.

On Needs (May 2015)

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)

On Difference A six-year-old girl in South Carolina wrote a letter this summer. “Dear Daddy: I know you were shot at the Church and you went to Heaven. I love you so much! I know you love me and I know that you know that I love you too . . . Your baby girl and grasshopper.” Take more time to feel the sadness of that. Take more time to feel the wrongness of that.

On Difference (July 2015)

The Light Within, Then And Now - Review

Rex Ambler is a British theologian, teacher, and writer. In several previous small volumes, he has made major contributions to Friends’ theology (for example, The End of Words) and spirituality (Light To Live By). The Light Within: Then and Now (Pendle Hill Pamphlet 425, 2013) extends that precedent.

On Difference (July 2015)

Focus and Immersion in Present Experience Waiting for sunrise on a desert morning this March, my focus came to the inward Truth only. I had walked in darkness with a quiet dog to a saddle between two hills in the middle of the Mojave Desert Preserve. In wild lands, especially in dry lands, I find less cumber between God and me. I can feel a presence in my middle. With Light arriving, I reflect on my feelings and what I’m led to do. Guidance from the Holy is clearer in these times of presence.

On Play (September 2015)

Family Differences Dear Editor: I applaud Pablo Stanfield for his excellent article, “Those Other Friends.” My first experience with a Friends World Committee on Consultation conference was back in the 70s, in Wichita, Kansas. It was then that I realized Quakers are good about working towards peace outside our family of “Friends,” but we are not very good at working towards peace within our own family. Quaker Evangelicals threatened to boycott that conference if an LGBT presence was allowed. Finally, we found a compromise and were allowed to hold an LGBT discussion, as long as it was not on the campus of Friends University.

On Play (September 2015)

The Abundant Benefits of Play Play is one of the most lauded – yet undervalued – parts of our lives. In the work I do with artists and creative professionals, I help each person develop or revive a practice of regular play. I have seen these practices transform people’s relationships, increase their incomes, and improve their abilities to give their gifts to the world while staying healthy and grounded. Yet even though I continually encourage others to play more, I often find myself surprised by the power of play to restore my own calm, compassion, and creativity.

On Play (September 2015)