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Faith and Discernment in Times of Crisis When our lives and organizations go according to plan, decisions flow naturally from our commitments. We experience little controversy. Our friends and families don’t question the direction we are headed. We don’t spend our days agonizing over choices.

On Mixture (November 2018)

Two Quaker Observers to COP24 2018 was a year of climate records. The fourth warmest year since the beginning of the industrial revolution, it featured intense drought and wildfires in western North America, a devastating hurricane season in the Southeast, unprecedented flooding in southern Asia, and continued loss of Arctic sea ice. It was also the year that the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that humanity had twelve years to stave off global climate catastrophe.

On Puzzles (April 2019)

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? * I became a convinced Friend the first time I walked into a Quaker meeting for worship. I was twenty-one, and I experienced the best of what Quaker worship can be. Compared with my previous experience of religion –  a “stand up, sit down” experience of being “preached at” – I said to myself, “this is the real thing.” That was fifty years ago.

On Puzzles (April 2019)

Wake-up Call to Earthcare Dear Friends: I believe that the Society of Friends is going through a transition in our relationship with Earthcare. In the mid-1980’s, many Friends felt a strong leading to live their lives in harmony with nature and to work for policies and programs that supported these lifestyles. In addition to thousands of lightbulbs switched to compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and generating tons of recycling and home-grown veggies, we also created Quaker institutions that pushed for broader societal change. One of these was Quaker Earthcare Witness, then called “Friends Committee on Unity with Nature,” which was formed in 1987 to connect Friends with an Earthcare leading and to advocate for a sustainable world.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Win-Win-Win-Wins Not long into the COVID-19 lockdown of April 2020, I attended a video-conference headlined by Dahni Jones, an entrepreneur and former NFL linebacker. Jones brought his trademark energy and smile to his presentation, and he left me with a singular thought: “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

On Rules (November 2020)

Do Quakers Mean Business? Recently a Methodist church invited me to a book study. They had been reading books on ethically based business, including Deborah Cadbury’s Chocolate Wars, and had grown wildly curious about these peculiar Quakers and their century and a half of confectionary success. The group leader tabulated a list of famous Quaker business leaders – not only in cocoa, but also in ironwork, railways, footwear, chinaware, household goods, pharmaceuticals, and banking. Why, she asked, was the list so long? Why were there so many Friendly industrial innovators? Why so many business names they now recognized as Quaker – from Cadbury chocolates to Barclays bank to Clarks shoes? What was it about this relatively small, seemingly austere, and ethically demanding faith that drove such a disproportionate share of business enterprise?

On Production (May 2014)

Creating Real Security American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) recently published a pamphlet titled, Shared Security: Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy (April 2013). At Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting in Berkeley, California, a small group considered this pamphlet and then organized a larger meeting to talk about this topic after Meeting for Worship on September 29, 2013.  Twenty-eight people attended. For the meeting, we prepared a one-page handout with some quotes from the AFSC/FCNL pamphlet. The text of that handout is included at the end of this article. [The pamphlet is also reviewed on page 32 of this magazine. – Editor]

On Patriotism (January 2014)