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Everything is Connected (abridged) Excerpts from the keynote presentation to North Pacific Yearly Meeting; July 27, 2017; University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington

On Home (September 2017)

Raising Children in a Quaker Home Quakerism is a spiritual journey. It is a search for understanding. It is a search to find The Way. This search expands into our parenting. Parenting is a search for understanding of how to live with and guide our children.

On Home (September 2017)

Chickens on the Cheap Ever since we moved to rural Honduras in 2006, Sister Alegría and I had wanted chickens. Our imaginations became reality when, in 2012, friends gave us some pullets and a young rooster. We quickly discovered that raising fowl wasn’t so straightforward. The second night the birds were here, perching in the branches of a tree, a possum helped himself to the rooster! Some months later, a vampire bat killed one of the hens. Eventually, our friend Mateo built a henhouse in the backyard so the chickens could sleep protected from nighttime predators.

On Garbage (November 2017)

A Call to Radical Vulnerability and Love (abridged), Two When I was twenty-seven, I went through a life-changing transition catalyzed by Archbishop Oscar Romero, John Woolman, Thomas Kelly, Dorothy Day, and the people of El Salvador. I was lead to many parts of the world, working with children and families suffering from war, from poverty, from U.S. imperialism. Then over the years, I began to find that the message that was continually coming to me during worship as ministry was one that I felt would make Friends too uncomfortable, perhaps even angry. So I began to withdraw from the Quaker community.

On Children (September 2018)

The Long View In the mid-1730s, John Bartram, a Quaker living near Philadelphia, wrote the following in his journal: “One day I was very busy in holding my plough (for thee seest I am but a ploughman), and being weary, I ran under the shade of a tree to repose myself. I cast my eyes on a daisy; I plucked it mechanically, and viewed it with more curiosity than common country farmers are wont to do, and observed therein very many distinct parts, some perpendicular, some horizontal. What a shame, said my mind, or something that inspired my mind, that thee shouldst have employed so many years in tilling the earth, and destroying so many flowers and plants, without being acquainted with their structures and their uses!”

On Mixture (November 2018)

A New Story for Earth “Tell me a story.” How often we said that as children! “Tell me a story.” Narrative has the power to shape our world; indeed it is how we understand the world and our place in it. “Tell me a story.”

On Separation (November 2019)

Testimonies of Separation I have litigated divorce, paternity, custody, child support, and Order of Protection cases in Arizona for over three years. My work has largely been funded by a grant for crime victims’ rights. Almost all of the patterns described in this article appeared many times in many cases and do not refer to particular cases or individuals.  I have omitted all identifying information and, where necessary, have changed particularizing details to preserve confidentiality.

On Separation (November 2019)

Conflict or Pseudocommunity Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) is an eleven-month service program for people aged 21-30 who are ready to enter into an experiment in community centered on Quaker values. Fellows have full-time social justice employment and participate in an intentional program of spiritual deepening. We are in our eighth year and have houses in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Portland OR, and Minneapolis. I served as a Fellow in Boston in 2016-2017, and since then, I have been on staff as the Recruitment Coordinator and am engaged in equity work.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Quaker Culture: Wealth [In seventeenth century England], nonconformists like Quakers were barred from universities, professions and public office, and so turned to trading and industry instead. . . The work ethic of the Quakers and their simplicity of speech and life quickly led to prosperity and property, and that property soon included ownership of the industrial base of factories and transport and their financial underpinnings through banking. In other words, despite the almost otherworldliness of their conscience and spiritual practices, the Quakers were instinctive capitalists. . .  The ethics of this are clear: once it is impossible for a family to own their immediate means of production, the owners of such means have various ethical obligations to their workers. The history of Quaker businesses demonstrates [their] keen sense of that obligation.

On Wealth (May 2020)

On Teachers More than once, I have been humbled by being called racist. My first reaction, however, was not humility. My first reaction was to feel offended and misunderstood. Surely my accuser didn’t know me or my motives or my history. Surely, they were using the term “racist” too broadly – sloppy, really. A more precise definition would be more strategic for The Struggle (You’re welcome!), and would provide the added benefit of keeping me on the right side of history.

On Teachers (September 2020)