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God (or Not) among Quakers [This article was excerpted from a more detailed original, which is published online at: https://westernfriend.org/media/concepts-god-or-not]

On Conflict (January 2023)

That of God in Research In the September/October 2018 issue of Western Friend, “On Children,” I wrote about my experiences as a Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker. Much of what I described about investigating child abuse concerned “control.” For example, my Quaker practices of listening in silence and discernment helped me “learn the rules so you can break them properly,“ as the Dalai Lama recommends. “The rules” in this case were Washington State’s Child Protection Laws and the policies of CPS, which attempt to control the behavior of parents by enforcing norms to restrict physical discipline of children and to achieve minimum levels of care. Those enforcement structures are the stick. The carrots used to control families are the programs that CPS offers to help them, as well as the refuge in foster homes that CPS offers to children when parents fail. Unfortunately, social workers can cause harm when they fail to use judgment and discernment in applying the laws appropriately in each unique situation. As Parker Palmer so beautifully describes, one of the paradoxes of life is that both control and spontaneous creativity are necessary for human flourishing.

On Control (July 2019)

God is in the Flowers Dear Editor: Please reprint this message from Adam Keawe Inau Manolo Camp, “God is in the Flowers: Marriage Equality and the Queen,” originally published by Peter Apo, Board of Trustees, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, PeterApo.com.

On Time (March 2014)

God, Words and Us (review) Words come easily, but don’t always help build connections among people. Labels like “Christian,” “atheist,” or “nontheist” can actually block understanding. God, Words and Us explores a Quaker approach to getting past “words as obstacles” and a process for building connections.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Telling the Truth about God (review) Rhiannon Grant’s small book Telling the Truth about God (2019) is immediately engaging in its conversational style. She draws from her experience leading workshops at Woodbrooke in England and offers brief introductory chapters for both Friends and non-Friends. To the Quaker reader, she expresses the hope that, after the reading, “you feel that you are better able to tell the truth about God as you understand it.”

On Perception (March 2023)

An Invitation to Play with God “In Godly Play, the invitation is given not for play in general but for play with the language of God and God’s people; our sacred stories, parables, liturgical actions and silences. Through this powerful language, through our wondering, through the community of players gathered together, we hear the deepest invitation of all: an invitation to come play with God.”        – Jerome W Berryman, The Complete Guide to Godly Play (2002)

On Play (September 2015)

Beautiful Article about Minding the Earth Dear Editor: “A New Story for Earth” by Mary Ann Percy, in the November/December issue, is one of the best articles that I have ever read. I happened to read it right after our meeting held our second-hour discussion one First Day, concerning what each of us can do to be more mindful of the earth (and promised to try). I think we might discuss this article in another second hour soon. It ties a lot of big questions and big concepts together really well, and it is beautifully written.

On Mediation (January 2020)