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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)

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)

The Perception of the Heart

In our highly commercial world, the way we think of the heart’s emotional capacity is mostly limited to its role in romantic love. As wonderful as romance can be, this trivializes the heart. The heart is an organ of perception. It’s where we go to make sense of feeling states we can’t quite pin down, try as we might to encapsulate them in words.

On Perception (March 2023)

Telling the Truth about God (review)

Rhiannon Grant’s small book Telling the Truth about God (2019) is immediately engaging in its conversational style. She draws from her experience leading workshops at Woodbrooke in England and offers brief introductory chapters for both Friends and non-Friends. To the Quaker reader, she expresses the hope that, after the reading, “you feel that you are better able to tell the truth about God as you understand it.”

On Perception (March 2023)

On Perception

Like circus cars ejecting impossible numbers of clowns right before our eyes, we humans emit endless parades of bright ideas into the crowded world. Then we jostle among all the world’s other creatures – animals, vegetables, minerals – and find ourselves wondering, now and then, about our own integrity, the coherence of our lives.

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)

New Voices: Contemporary Writers . . . Holocaust (Review)

New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust, edited by Howard Debs and Matthew Silverman, was released this April by Vallentine Mitchell, a publisher of books in the fields of Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Holocaust studies. It is a collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from dozens of writers and poets, including Marge Piercy, Ellen Bass, Tim Seibles, and Tony Barnstone, but it is not in a strict sense an anthology. That is, the volume is not a collection of existent works, but rather a creation of new works produced together to help update our understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.

On Loss (May 2023)

The Flint and Light of Respect

This is a testimony to the value and differences of Quaker and Indigenous ways of respect as I know them. Quaker testimonies were taught to me through words and light. Indigenous teachings were relayed with the spark of truth and few, if any, words. I find it difficult to use words to describe the latter, but I will try because I was asked to do so.

On Dignity (July 2023)