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Delights and Downfalls with Words

I admit it, I’m a word nerd. I grew up with Scrabble and Boggle, then progressed to New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles. At one point, I even wrote my own twelve-page dictionary of invented, adapted, and deliberately mangled words and meanings.

On Words (November 2021)

Listening for the Yearly Epistle

“We’re not really watching,” said a member of the Watching Committee several years ago.  “What we’re really doing is listening.” Not only was the term “listening” more accurate in describing the work of composing an epistle for our yearly meeting, it also struck a friendlier chord. Earlier generations of Friends no doubt had good reasons for the names they chose, but for us “Watching Committee” suggested an oppressive sense of authority as in “Big Brother is watching you.” So, we proposed, and Intermountain Yearly Meeting later approved, the name change to “Listening Committee.”

On Words (November 2021)

Membership is Important

Quaker membership is important. Mutual commitment matters. Membership is a relationship, not an achievement.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Individual Decision or Mutual Discernment

The test for membership should not be doctrinal agreement, nor adherence to certain testimonies, but evidence of sincere seeking and striving for Truth, together with an understanding of the lines along which Friends are seeking that Truth.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Evangelism

“Evangelical” is now officially a dirty word with progressive people of faith. This story has been decades in the making and is now accepted fact: The Evangelical wing of modern American Christianity is all about White Nationalism. I am here to tell you: It ain’t necessarily so, even though it sure looks that way.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Facing Covid Risk in Community (2)

[This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Individual and Collective Anti-Racism

I was in my twenties when I came to Quaker faith and practice, and learned a new normal. It was the first time I saw social justice concerns centered by a faith community. Spiritual development was nurtured and encouraged for all ages and was treated as a personal responsibility, something one did for oneself and for the community. Although I had been raised in a religious home, this was my first exposure to faith as a way of life, not just individually, but communally. Quakers didn’t just “go to church together,” we shared the world and made sense of it as best we could together.

On Normality (July 2022)