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On Separation The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference. The opposite of faith isn’t doubt; it’s certainty. Even though “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Article 1 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights), human dignity is not, in fact, universally respected, but is instead routinely trampled under the urgency to build, achieve, instruct, repair, etc. People rarely exercise much patience for actions or attitudes that don’t fit into their own plans.

On Separation (November 2019)

Listening Beyond Words I travel to Moscow each year to participate in the annual meeting of the International Board of Friends House Moscow and visit the programs we support. I also attend Moscow Meeting for Worship. It generally draws a visitor or two plus the usual core of three-to-five regulars, including a Russian Orthodox priest who uses Quaker materials in discussion groups in his church.

On Separation (November 2019)

Better than a Club When I was a kid, I told my little sister that we were forming a club. The two of us held a meeting to discuss possible club names and what kinds of things we would do as members of this club. We decided we would call it “The Do-Gooders Club,” and we would do good things. Creative, right? I’m not sure where things went after that.

On Mediation (January 2020)

A Needless Dualism Dear Editor: I appreciated Matt Boswell of Sierra-Cascade’s article on Martha and Mary. How gracious, profound, inspired, and true that these two women’s approaches to Jesus and life were both important and valid. A both-and, not an either-or. Thanks, Matt, for deconstructing yet another needless dualism.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Visual Ministry Something about the process of capturing, editing, printing, and viewing images often leads me to think beyond the subject itself, to search what other meanings might be suggested by the subject matter, the lighting, the mood, or arrangement of items in the composition. When the process is internal, I think of it as offering visual queries. Sometimes, when I hang prints in the meetinghouse for others to see, I imagine the process as being visual ministry.

On Art (March 2020)

On Art I love to quote Frank Zappa on this, “Your life is a ribbon of time that you get to decorate.” Early Friends were rightly wary of decoration. They dissented from “high church” practices of pomp and circumstance, oratory and argumentation, frankincense and anointing oils. They were rightly wary of self-proclaimed prophets, state-funded theocrats, and peddlers of political revolutions and snake oil. In probably the first written expression of Quaker faith and practice, the Elders at Balby advised, “[As] any are moved of the Lord to speak the Word of the Lord . . . [it should] be done in faithfulness, without adding or diminishing.” (1656) Then just a few decades later, London Yearly Meeting extended this idea further and gave their “tender and Christian advice that Friends take care to keep to truth and plainness, in language, habit, deportment and behavior . . . and to avoid . . . all vain and superfluous fashions of the world.” (1691)

On Art (March 2020)

Frontline Housing for Healthcare March 2020 was daunting for everyone, but especially for frontline healthcare providers: doctors, nurses, CNAs, social workers, paramedics, and chaplains. In addition to the daily stressors of ever-changing workplace policies, harrowing statistics, and not enough PPE (personal protective equipment), frontline workers in the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Regions have had to contend with the juxtaposition of their usual daily tasks and constant vigilance towards the ever-increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospitals and nursing homes where they work.

On Wealth (May 2020)