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Quakers and Gun Violence

In the United States, gun violence is not a mere veneer on the surface of an otherwise peaceful society, but something deep and dark, with roots in the colonization of the continent and the founding of the nation, in ethnic cleansing, enslavement and the seizure of land from Mexico. White settlers, armed to the teeth, faced the constant prospect of insurrection by Native peoples and enslaved populations, as well as violence on contested borders.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Water Camp

On January 12, 2019, Western Friend conducted an interview with several members of the Quaker Oaks Farm (QOF) community. Located in the Central Valley of California, Quaker Oaks Farm is an environmental and cultural learning center that is supported by Visalia Friends Meeting. Since 2013, QOF has hosted annual service-learning camps, which have brought together youth and adults from Wukchumni, Mexican-American, and Quaker communities in the Central Valley and beyond.

On Water (March 2019)

Black. Christian. Anarchist.

I am an African American whose encounter with God is more an attitude than belief system, a certain swagger and daring in the face of what black liberation theologian James Cone would refer to as “obvious failure.” By all quantitative standards, the post-Reconstruction experience of African Americans would meet the definition of failure. Today, the median wealth of single Black women is – prepare yourself – five dollars. In San Francisco, African Americans are only five percent of the population. If all religious practice is a response to a set of particular historical circumstances what can speak to this collective misery? The African American religious experience is ultimately about the quest for freedom and self-determination.

On Control (July 2019)

Making Peace a Reality

OUR principle is, and our practices have always been, to seek peace and ensue it; to follow after righteousness and the knowledge of God; seeking the good and welfare, and doing that which tends to the peace of all. . . All bloody principles and practices, as to our own particulars, we utterly deny; with all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatsoever; this is our testimony to the whole world world.

On Control (July 2019)

Expanding the Concept and Practice of Nonviolence (abridged)

The following text is an abridged version of a recently discovered, previously unpublished article. The full version is published online at: westernfriend.org/media/expanding-nonviolence

On Neighbors (September 2019)

Seek to Truly See

I was in my last semester of grad school, sitting in a café, repressing a broken heart, and working on my thesis. After several hours of non-stop reading and writing, I started to feel a deep sense of despair. My head spun. My breath became heavier. I paused and took a step back from myself. Right then I did an online search for “Maintaining an everyday relationship with God.” Before I saw the results, something told me, “Look up.” Right out the window, I saw two young men in black pants and short-sleeved white shirts: Mormon missionaries. I rushed outside and said to them, “Hey there, I need to talk to you!”

On Neighbors (September 2019)

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)

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)

More Powerful than the Grave

As a hospital chaplain, I met Mrs. Corrigan in an office adjacent to her oncologist’s office. She had just been talking with him about her terminal illness and about non-curative, comfort-care plans. Mrs. Corrigan was facing the end of her life from a metastatic form of cancer. As a patient now living at home, she had previously undergone many surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy. She had indicated that she wanted to see a chaplain for a series of spiritual care visits.

On Separation (November 2019)