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Olive Rush and Her Legacy In 1966, the small Quaker meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was bequeathed its current home, the historic house and garden of the painter Olive Rush. It is already an unlikely occurrence for a Quaker meeting to have a patron, and even more so, for the benefactor to be an artist, given Friends’ long history of disparaging the arts as frivolous and vain. Thus, Santa Fe Meeting’s relationship with our “patron” is unique and has been a source of pride, as well as of controversy.

On Art (March 2020)

Playing Violent Games in Peace In his recent article, “ISIS’s Call of Duty,” Jay Caspian Kang describes similarities between ISIS recruitment films and first-person-shooter games – similarities that are likely intentional (The New Yorker, September 18, 2014). Kang’s article is one of many that play into a larger debate about the role of violent videogames and other violent media in our culture. This debate has continued unresolved for decades, and both sides often succumb to strong emotions and hyperbolic statements. I feel this leads to a shutdown in communication between groups, and that is the issue I would like to address in this article.

On Temptation (November 2014)

Those Other Quakers The majority of liberal Friends in the West share similar traits: First, very few of us grew up among Quakers; we arrived as adults, often fleeing dogmas or religious paths that we now reject. Second, many of us feel a sense of “homecoming” in Friendly traditions like our Peace Testimony, silent expectant worship, and the general spirit of tolerance in our meetings.

On Difference (July 2015)

Faith and Sewage Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi (translated into English in 1993) has been my theme book for years. While it was written with toilet trainees and their eager caregivers in mind, I have other reasons to display the book prominently in my office. I work for a program in our local health department, the program that monitors water quality in streams, lakes, and groundwater, the program responsible for ensuring that the septic systems in our county are adequately treating the sewage that flows through them. That’s where “everyone poops” comes in.

On Garbage (November 2017)