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Quaker Culture: Challenge We are sometimes told that the only way to change society is to change its members individually. But this is not only unduly pessimistic; it involves a disregard of man’s nature as a social being and what is implied by our membership one of another. Because man is a social being, the spiritual level of a whole society can be lifted permanently by a few dedicated individuals, and a great reform such as the abolition of slavery can be brought about even though in other respects the ethical development of the mass of its members remains substantially unchanged. This fact is at the same time an encouragement and a challenge to all who are working for human progress.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Sabbath Economics Sabbath economics offers an alternative approach to dominant paradigms of economic theory and practice. Theologian-educator Ched Myers coined the term “Sabbath economics” in the 1990s, drawing from the Torah standard of social and economic justice and based on God’s call to “keep the Sabbath” by alternating good work with periods of rest.

On Debt (July 2021)

Creating Resilience for Climate Justice (abridged) [The following text was drawn from a complete manuscript of Cherice Bock’s keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/creating-resilience-climate-justice-unabridged]

On Cliques (September 2021)

Friends for Racial Equity I had struggled before over whether to speak during worship, but this was different. It was near the close of worship, and a long-time member was sharing a folk tale from childhood. The story clearly moved him, and I can only imagine it was intended as a gift, a tender ministry for all of us in worship. But it was not a gift, at least not of the kind intended. The tale was of an enduring struggle between two iconic opposing figures – one evil, one good. On another morning, I might have let such a story drift in and out of my awareness, a familiar premise with no hint of a surprise ending. Instead, as I listened, I felt my body stiffen; [pullquote]I was paralyzed and mortified. Here it was, in a folk tale, in worship: racist ministry.[/pullquote]

On Cliques (September 2021)

Quakers Do What! Why? (review) I am convinced again, Friends! Credit goes to Quakers Do What! Why?, a 72-page booklet from Quaker Quicks, written by Rhiannon Grant. In it, she takes the reader through a wide range of beliefs and practices of unprogrammed Quakers, using a friendly, conversational style. For example, the first chapter is titled: “Wait – Quakers still exist?” This book is great for people interested in exploring what it means to be Quaker as well as being full of great reminders for seasoned Friends. 

On Words (November 2021)

Alternatives to Childbearing John’s son, Adam, spoke glowingly of his father at John’s memorial service. Adam and his sibling were adopted when they were small. Adam knew what his life would have been like if they hadn’t been taken away by social services from their alcoholic mother.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (5) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Nurturing Integrity on Colonized Land My grandfather descended from a family of farmers – homesteaders, given cheap land after the government committed genocide to clear it for white families like mine. When my grandfather married my grandmother, he was welcomed into her family’s business: the lumber mill, turning forests into 2x4s.

On Place (May 2022)

In Pursuit of Reconciliation Dear Friends: In “Alternatives to Prison” (Western Friend, March/April 2022), Susan Cozzens suggests that “Quakers by and large want to live in that Light and Love that takes away the occasion of all prisons.” Taking away “the occasion of all prisons” would seem to be a prerequisite for their abolition.

On Place (May 2022)