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On Cooperation We are bags full of muscle and bone. And although we can see the leather of the bags, we can only guess at the contents, the memories and desires that propel any life, including our own.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Mountain Time Edifice of rock and ice born of molten silicates       thrust from below the earth’s rocky skin, built of clouds of rock ash and rivers of liquid stone, patiently etched by streams of ice fed by winter storms.

On Science (November 2022)

Peace – One Yard at a Time Gila Friends Meeting reactivated our Peace and Social Concerns Committee a couple of years ago, after several years of inaction. Many “social concerns” had begun attracting our attention, and we wanted to act on them. Then during one of our committee meetings, someone asked about the “peace” part of our mission. What would we do about “peace”? And thus, it began.

On Conflict (January 2023)

Community v. Crisis Recently, I had an opportunity to learn about the  fragility of our country’s current health care system and its social safety net. At the same time, I renewed my appreciation for my community and my Friends meeting.

On Conflict (January 2023)

Messages to Meetings (review) For Christians, epistolary writing (letter writing) dates back to the Apostles and early church fathers, who visited fledgling Christian communities to offer support, encouragement, and correction, which they later continued by way of writing. In like manner, Brian Drayton, a traveling Quaker minister, has written letters to Quaker meetings he has served. He explains that he wrote these out of a sense of “unfinished business” and “motions of love.” Messages to Meetings is a collection of some of these letters, some relevant blog posts, and even notes from some of Drayton’s vocal ministry.

On Conflict (January 2023)

In Solidarity with Migrants Annunciation House is a non-profit organization that sustains a network of shelters, facilities, and services for migrants in El Paso, Texas. When I applied to be a volunteer, I had no expectations or even knowledge of what lay ahead, no idea what I was getting into. I only knew I wanted to help migrants.

On Perception (March 2023)

Bittersweet Wisdom We all have something to say about loss, because all of us have experienced it – yearning for what used to be, but is no more. And perhaps, as our years pass, we wrestle with the issue of loss even more, having chewed some of the gristle of life, as it were, not just the low-hanging fruit.

On Loss (May 2023)

New Voices: Contemporary Writers . . . Holocaust (Review) New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust, edited by Howard Debs and Matthew Silverman, was released this April by Vallentine Mitchell, a publisher of books in the fields of Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Holocaust studies. It is a collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from dozens of writers and poets, including Marge Piercy, Ellen Bass, Tim Seibles, and Tony Barnstone, but it is not in a strict sense an anthology. That is, the volume is not a collection of existent works, but rather a creation of new works produced together to help update our understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.

On Loss (May 2023)

On Loss Many Friends in the West today trace our religious ancestry back to the arrival of Joel and Hannah Bean in California in 1882. The monthly meeting that the Beans enlivened in San Jose eventually became the root stock of three new yearly meetings – Pacific, North Pacific, and Intermountain (to oversimplify). Thirty years earlier, Joel and Hannah had traveled with the pioneer “Bean wagon train” that relocated dozens of Beans from New England to the brand new “free state” of Iowa. The Beans were central in the formation of Iowa Yearly Meeting, and Joel and Hannah clerked its two constituent meetings (men’s and women’s) for about ten years.

On Loss (May 2023)

Spiritually Clean – A Social Laundromat Ministry For a few years, San Francisco Quaker meeting has been meeting Christ outside its doors, literally. The voiceless, forgotten, and politically marginalized gather outside our building to seek refuge. We welcome them to service on Sundays, make sandwiches and food, and charge their phones on Fridays, and that’s all needed. Another quiet ministry is the washing of laundry – which a few Friends take back to their places to wash and return.

On Dignity (July 2023)