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Fifty Years of Right Sharing A few months ago, I visited a Friends church in Indianapolis. They have a tradition that, for the first few minutes of each worship service, the children go up to the front row for a brief lesson.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Overcome Our Judgmentalism Dear Editor: I read the article “Queer Quaker Kinship” with sadness (Western Friend, Nov/Dec 2017). Mainly I’m sad to be reminded of what LGBTQ people suffer, even within our own Society of Friends. But I have another sorrow as a person who has been called to encourage greater understanding among all four branches of Friends: Liberal (that’s us), Conservative, Friends Church, and Evangelical.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Agree to Disagree Dear Editor: I enjoyed your editorial in the last issue of Western Friend (Sept/Oct 2017), especially this: “Each Friends’ community must decide for itself what range of behaviors it can tolerate within its spiritual home. Some will feel called to walk closely beside those who ‘walk disorderly;’ some will feel called to try talking some sense into that guy in the castle; still others will feel called to stay home and bake bread.” I read that to my husband, because he’s the one who feels “called to stay home and bake bread.” Except for being the recording secretary for our El Paso meeting, he turns down every Quaker job he’s been asked to do – in spite of his considerable talents in reporting, writing, and editing! I don’t understand this, but he doesn’t understand my need to “go, do, and be,” either.

On Garbage (November 2017)

On Garbage Henry Ford, the father of mass production, is famously known for declaring, “History is bunk.” Thus, he relegated “History” to “the trash heap of history.” (The word “bunk” comes from the Dutch word for “rubbish,” bunkum.) Histories exist to make sense of people’s lives, to reveal the meanings of humanity. Assembly lines exist to maximize the output of people’s lives, to boost the means of production. Between history and industry, humanity and mass production, tensions are too often resolved by treating the sacred as garbage.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Women Doing Life An interview with Lora Lempert

On Captivity (January 2018)

Pandemic Bonds Dear Friends: I encourage you to become familiar with the emergence of Pandemic Bonds. Similar to government bonds for state and local infrastructure development, Pandemic Bonds are vehicles for investing in structures of global preparation for outbreaks of diseases like ebola or SARS. These bonds are not yet offered publicly to small investors, but they could be. I think Quaker leadership could be important here, and Western Friends might help provide it. Friends could advocate for the extension of Pandemic Bonds to the market for small investors, nonprofit organizations, pension funds, and foundations. To learn more, see: https://universalistfriends.org/weblog/quaker-bonds

On Music (March 2018)

Loving Stolen Land We travel East each year to see my husband’s family in Pennsylvania, where we spend two weeks in the verdant, fertile, sticky forests and fields of the eastern states – eating fresh blackberries on the trail by the stream, fresh corn from the roadside stands, peaches that drip juice down your chin. It is glorious. The water, the leaves, the grass, the flowers bursting forth from every crack – life in every crack and corner.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Somewhere in My Youth Mike Paul Michaels began his life among the littler folk in 1963 at Pacific Oaks Children’s School, founded by Friends. His journey has included teaching and living among children and their families in five cultures on three continents. He attends Friends House Worship Group in Santa Rosa, CA, and is a member of Orange Grove Meeting in Pasadena, CA (PYM).

On Expansion (May 2018)

On Expansion Dear Friends: To be poor in spirit is not the same as to be poor materially or socially. Even so, material wealth and social authority tend to obstruct our view of the long arc of history that bends towards a world of justice and kindness. Although anyone is capable of recognizing justice and kindness as fundamental purposes of humanity – even persons with wealth and authority –  all too often, wealth and authority masquerade as justice and kindness themselves, a tricky sort of bait-and-switch that distracts us from keeping our eyes on the road.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Hiking Naked (review) Hiking Naked is a memoir that explores ways that Friends in the medical field stretch themselves beyond their emotional limits, and how Iris Graville attempted to bring herself back into balance. Graville is a mother of two, a wife, and a nurse who works for the Health Department in Belleview, Washington. Her job is serious, and the stakes are high for the people in underserved communities she works with, so she gives herself fully to her job – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. By the time we join her, she is dealing with burnout.

On Expansion (May 2018)