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The Messy Ethics of Giving Why do Quakers soft-pedal the importance of financial giving?  It’s true, our unprogrammed meetings don’t need as much as conventional churches since they typically lack paid staff and large buildings.  But beyond those differences, we seem to be quite uneasy in even bringing up the topic.

On Wealth (May 2020)

A Vision from 2050 Thirty years ago this spring, we faced a global pandemic. Over the course of just a few weeks, all of our schools shut down, restaurants and bars closed, movie theaters went dark, and tens of thousands of businesses were shuttered because of a contagious virus. We watched real-life horror stories: people dying in hospital hallways, morgues beyond capacity, and a health care system completely unequipped to meet the needs of working doctors and nurses. The formal economy tanked.

On Wealth (May 2020)

Facilitating Group Learning (review) Adults learn best through well-managed conflict, especially in multicultural groups, says George Lakey, one of the most prominent practitioners of satyagraha – the force of truth as the universe arcs toward justice. Originally published in 2010, this second edition of Lakey’s pathbreaking book appears to be aimed at college and university instructors, but it brims with insights for educators of adults in many other settings: training for social justice and social service work, professional and technical training, and even religious education that values experience as well as book learning. Our best efforts as Friends take the form of leading each other toward truthful insights through respectful, cooperative arguments over ideas. George Lakey shows us how to follow this leading.

On Teachers (September 2020)

Building Bridges (abridged) [The following text was excerpted from Kenya Casanova-Sales’s complete keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/building-bridges]

On Teachers (September 2020)

Staying Connected with Our Children The school year is about to begin. Parents and school districts are making decisions about what is best for children in the midst of a pandemic, anxiously weighing health risks against social and mental health benefits, deciding between distance learning and in-person, socially distanced learning. We are facing these same kinds of decisions in our Quaker meetings, as we yearn for social connection and consider our options. As we consider our adult needs and capacities, let’s also remember to ask ourselves: What are we doing to stay connected with our Quaker children and families? How are we attentive to their spiritual needs?

On Teachers (September 2020)

Vision for the Day to Be Peace I ask of thee of river, Peace, Peace, Peace. When I learn to live serenely, cares will cease. From the hills I gather courage, vision for the day to be. Strength to lead and faith to follow, All are given unto me. Peace I ask of thee of river, Peace, Peace, Peace.                     by Gwyneth Walker

On Vision (January 2021)

Integrity Investment Shelley’s Story: Imagine a billion dollars being taken out of fossil fuel development and more than a billion being put into renewable energy. This is exactly what the University of California (UC) did in 2020. What did it take for UC to divest from fossil fuels in such a big way?

On Vision (January 2021)

Cassandra 2020 Part faux Republican presidential campaign, part art project, with its candidate drawn from Greek mythology, Cassandra 2020 resists categorization. It has taken the form of community conversations, performance protest, video art, and guerilla sign-drops. It has been supported by a constant flux of contributors and co-creators, many of whom are also Quaker. It has sparked amusement, concern, scorn, joy, connection, and most importantly, curiosity.

On Vision (January 2021)

Vaccines and Community The coronavirus pandemic marches through its surges and plateaus, changing with congregating behavior, pandemic fatigue, and doubts about the seriousness of Covid-19 disease. At this writing in January, new virus variants are appearing with mutations that increase the efficiency of transmission, which means more deaths. The more transmission there is, the more the virus will mutate to escape immunity. The history of influenza is repeating itself. The distribution of two effective Covid-19 vaccines is far short of demand at this time. Even though production and distribution are solvable, practical problems, they are not getting the resources necessary. While cosmetics production remains at full strength in the U.S., vaccine supplies depend on imports. While the country continues to manufacture obsolete fighter jets, it has not built nursing schools to meet our pressing need for healthcare workers over the last fifty years.

On Relevance (March 2021)

An Unfinished Revolution [This text has been excerpted from the author’s upcoming book, An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021).]  

On Relevance (March 2021)