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Of Quakers and Corporations George Fox and the early Quakers made their witnesses to authentic and original Christianity public by their testimonies. The English word, testimony, derives from the Latin word for “witness,” which is primarily an outward expression “to the whole world … actions and words, intended to proclaim, demonstrate and convince” (from The Quaker Peace Testimony, Friends House, London, 1993).

On Superiority (July 2013)

The Messy Ethics of Giving Why do Quakers soft-pedal the importance of financial giving?  It’s true, our unprogrammed meetings don’t need as much as conventional churches since they typically lack paid staff and large buildings.  But beyond those differences, we seem to be quite uneasy in even bringing up the topic.

On Wealth (May 2020)

Friends for Racial Equity I had struggled before over whether to speak during worship, but this was different. It was near the close of worship, and a long-time member was sharing a folk tale from childhood. The story clearly moved him, and I can only imagine it was intended as a gift, a tender ministry for all of us in worship. But it was not a gift, at least not of the kind intended. The tale was of an enduring struggle between two iconic opposing figures – one evil, one good. On another morning, I might have let such a story drift in and out of my awareness, a familiar premise with no hint of a surprise ending. Instead, as I listened, I felt my body stiffen; [pullquote]I was paralyzed and mortified. Here it was, in a folk tale, in worship: racist ministry.[/pullquote]

On Cliques (September 2021)

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)

Money and Soul (abridged) As I thought about where to start this talk, my mind went to a moment many years ago, when my friend, Nadine Hoover, challenged me to write my own statement of conscience. She had been spending a lot of time with young men who were struggling with the issue of conscientious objection. As they worked together on their statements of conscience, trying to articulate why they were choosing that path, she realized this was a process we should all be engaged in. After all, conscience is not limited to people of a certain gender or a certain age. So I confronted the question: “To what do I conscientiously object, and why?”

On Home (September 2017)