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A Different Gender Story Numerous people around the world do not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth, yet the media tend to focus on one story: There is a teenager who always knew that something was off in their life from a young age. They came to realize that they are transgender (only ever falling under the gender binary of male or female) and then come out to their parents, who either accept them or take some time to do so. This story is told again and again; there’s nothing invalid about it. But it is important to look at other stories as well, to see the full picture of what it is to not be cisgender. Since I am currently in the middle of my own personal journey towards finding my gender, I am sharing my story here as one that does not fit the stereotype.

On Insight (March 2017)

Tangible Somehow, my idea of a kid picking up a small plastic grocery bag of neighborhood litter proceeded to a $10,000 anonymous donation and a fulfilling volunteer occupation. Incidentally, I didn’t work this hard at any of my paid positions throughout my “real” working life.

On Balance (May 2017)

Quaker PopOffsets Wanna buy baby?” I was eleven years old and traveling with my family in Latin America. We were climbing up a dirt path in the humid heat when we passed a young woman, perhaps only five or six years older than I was. She was holding an infant in her arms.

On Balance (May 2017)

Resource on Friends and Politics Dear Editor: How perfect! We are about to have a retreat here in Flagstaff with a focus on the question of Friends and politics. We were going to try to put together a compilation of quotations from “historic Friends” on this topic. And we have found on your website that you have done it for us. You are always so timely and in tune with Meetings in the West! I hope we can share with Western Friend what comes out of this retreat.

On Balance (May 2017)

An Under-Appreciated Point Dear Editor: As an engineer who went to seminary, I often find myself defending both Science and Faith. Like Jim Humphrey (“Here Sleep Dragons,” March/April 2017), I’m a “pro-science guy” who agrees that science often gets distorted by materialism. And like Brylie Oxley (“Time Crystals,” same issue), I am fascinated by discoveries, like time crystals, that open our minds to the awesome structure of reality.

On Balance (May 2017)

Absurd Dear Editor: Regarding your attempt at calculating the carbon offset amount mandated by your and others’ air travel (WF, Nov./Dec.,’16) I am somewhat puzzled by the whole enterprise. Yes, we all participate in the machinery of ongoing environmental degradation and the apparently accelerating pace of climate catastrophe. But isn’t it misleading, even absurd to try to calculate this out in dollars-and-cents terms as if we could pay out toward our fiscal responsibility at an imaginary teller window somewhere? Really, how could mere humans have any real conception of the actual load placed on the biosphere by our various collective activities? And doesn’t reducing that responsibility to a dollar amount imply that we can simply pay for it, in whatever amount we reckon the damage to be, and then go back to our usual practices without another thought?

On Balance (May 2017)

Trapped in the Temporary Part One: Chios, Greece, May 2017 – Each morning we wake to the contrasts of this place. A sea of luminous blue, rugged mountains, and clear skies – these surround a lively tourist strip along the water, with its overpriced but friendly cafes and restaurants. From the vantage point of a cafe chair, it is hard to imagine the underside of this place. If one ventures just a bit further down the coast, though, one finds a long strip of UN tents and “containers” – large plastic boxes that serve as tiny temporary houses – awkwardly set beside the remains of an old castle wall.

On Politics (July 2017)

Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration The following article was excerpted from the text of a presentation that Bill Durland made to the Colorado Regional Society of Friends, April 23, 2017. To read the full text of this presentation, see: westernfriend.org/media/resistance-resilience-and-restoration-unabridged.

On Politics (July 2017)

Run for Public Office! Run for public office! It’s the best way a single person can influence the decisions that affect the citizens of your community. You and your opinions will be taken seriously. You will influence public opinion. If you win the election, your vote won’t be just one out of thousands. It will be one out of five-to-nine members on a governing board. More than being taken seriously, your ideas will be sought.

On Politics (July 2017)