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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)

God’s Loving Eyes

We are seen by God’s loving eyes.  The greatest spiritual battle begins – and never ends – with the reclaiming of our chosenness. Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.                         – Henri Nouwen (1993)

On Cooperation (September 2022)

The Life and Religious Labors of Lloyd Lee Wilson (review)

To be precise, the title of this book is: Memoir of the Life and Religious Labors of Lloyd Lee Wilson, a Minister of the Gospel of the Religious Society of Friends, Particularly of North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative), to describe the workings of the Lord in the various stages of my life, showing how God is at work in all things for good, whether we perceive it so or not, and how our surrender to divine providence allows God’s work to be done in and through us for the advancement of the Realm of God.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Toward a Science of Nonviolent Action

[The original version of this article, with footnotes and more detail, is published online at: westernfriend.org/media/toward-science-nonviolent-action-unabridged]

On Science (November 2022)

Toward a Life-Centered Economy (review)

Inspired – simply put, this is the feeling I’m left with after reading Toward a Life-Centered Economy. This volume is the twelfth “focus book” from The Quaker Institute for the Future, a spirit-lead research organization working to “envision a global future in which humanity is in right relationship with the commonwealth of life.” The book explores the mindset of unlimited growth, which drives our current global economic system, along with the impending repercussions of that mindset on our global ecosystem. Further, this book spells out the inability of our ecosystem to support our current intense patterns of human consumption, and it offers advice about what we can do to change humanity’s impact.

On Science (November 2022)

Persistence

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) is a major military base on the island where I live. One of the noisiest planes in the world is stationed here, the EA-18G Growler. When deployed during bombing missions, the Growler works from an aircraft carrier deck and provides electronic jamming of enemy radar. While stationed on Whidbey, Growler pilots practice their maneuvers for landing on aircraft carriers. This practice involves multiple approaches to a small landing strip in central Whidbey, where the planes do touch-and-go exercises, sometimes for hours at a time, both night and day.

On Conflict (January 2023)

A Rattler’s Tale (review)

This children’s book by Nancy Marshall of Phoenix Friends Meeting was published in September 2021. Several Friends from Intermountain Yearly Meeting have written to praise it:

On Conflict (January 2023)

Close-up on The Lord’s Prayer

This is my path: a struggle to learn to be willing to surrender to the Holy Spirit, to finally go home. I have been on this path for years, struggling with the idea of an “other,” an incomprehensible energy. Recognizing the necessity of surrendering to something greater than myself – and interior to me – has taken a long time. I have learned that transformation is about choice, action, willingness to surrender, and knowing that I am never alone.

On Perception (March 2023)

Living Grief, Finding Connection

As climate disasters, species extinctions, and the relentless unraveling of the Web of Life on Earth become ever more impossible to ignore, eco-anxiety becomes ever more widespread. There’s now a name for this unique mental anguish – solastalgia – a term created by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht in the early 2000s. Unrelenting hurricane seasons, devastating forest fires, smoke- and smog-filled air, prolonged drought, extreme heat, clear-cutting – all these can trigger solastalgia. Buddhist deep ecologist, eco-philosopher and activist Joanna Macy expresses this well in The Bestiary:

On Loss (May 2023)

A Meaningful Weekend

Dear Editor: I know Western Friend has focused on what our yearly and regional meetings can do to sustain and enhance their respective communities and wanted to share a bit about the spring meeting of Arizona Half Yearly Meeting (AHYM) this past March. We were blessed to have Francisco Burgos from Pendle Hill as our keynote speaker.

On Loss (May 2023)