Western Friend logo

Search

A search result that is a person’s name followed by “(person)” often links to a list of articles written by that person.

Not So Fast Dear Editor: I want to thank Kat Northrup for her article, “Race and Quakerism,” in May/June 2018 Western Friend. She has articulated very well my own observations and concerns. I was struck by this comment: “[The] uncomfortable feeling of disingenuous tokenism . . . is a hard feeling to avoid, unless one is already familiar with how highly the Quaker community values honesty.” I think in this case, Northrup is letting Quakers off the hook too easily. Valuing honesty is not the same as being honest. My range of Quaker experience is limited, but I have observed many who are quick to find the mote in another’s eye and maybe slower to examine their own (sometimes unconscious) biases and motivations. I wonder sometimes if, when we speak of “diversity,” we mean we want to be with people just like us, only with different color skins. Those of us who have found a spiritual home in a Quaker faith community want to share it. But can we share it with those who do not have the same social and political concerns that we have? Can those of us who identify as Christians, as followers of the teachings of Jesus, feel comfortable talking about our relationship with God and Scripture?

On Children (September 2018)

White + “There’s nothing wrong with dating a black guy,” blonde-haired, blue-eyed Julie Boyle said to her friends in our seventh-grade classroom. “My cousin is dating one, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

On Mixture (November 2018)

The Strengthening Power of Discomfort A friend of mine bicycled 2,700 miles this summer along the Continental Divide. In an article she wrote for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner (8/12/2018), she said, “When doing endurance races, I have a question I ask myself when I want to quit: ‘Am I in danger or just uncomfortable?’ If I’m just uncomfortable, I tell myself to keep going. Things will get better. And they usually do.”

On Mixture (November 2018)

Our Racism Dear Editor: From cover to cover, the September/October 2018 edition of Western Friend made plain the grievous suffering caused by racism. Our racism.

On Mixture (November 2018)

Insufficient Awe Dear Friends: I’ve come to think of the phrase “save the planet” as the ultimate in hubris. Do we know what the planet actually is, this roughly spherical celestial object that is 24,000 miles in circumference, spinning at 1,000 miles per hour, orbiting the Sun? The planet we call Earth has a molten layer just below the surface that occasionally comes to the surface in the form of lava that destroys everything in its path as it creates new land masses or erupts suddenly with boulders flung hundreds of feet upward. Huge chunks of land mass are moving around on the surface, creating mountains, sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly with violent movements that shake everything to the point of collapse. The surface is largely covered by huge bodies of water that are moved by the tremendous force of the Moon’s gravity eight or more feet up and back twice a day. The planet is surrounded by a layer of gases that are the right mix to support our particular life form, but the movements can be so powerful as to blow over trees and hurl water against the land. And then there is the planet’s timescale. At one time dinosaurs lived on the surface of the planet, and then they and most other creatures were entirely wiped out. Sixty-six million years later, here we are, with our “ancient” history three thousand years ago.

On Mixture (November 2018)

Gun Control and/or Civil War? It is currently popular to call for “gun control” in the United States, especially in the wake of senseless mass shootings that have rocked the nation. However, most proposed “gun control” legislation has at its center the punishment of blameless people for the violent acts of a few. That is, these measures restrict or prohibit gun availability to citizens who have broken no laws, have harmed no one, and have merely exercised their rights under the Constitution to buy and own weapons. Promoters of strict “gun control” often seem to vilify gun owners as a sub-class of humans who do not merit recognition, rights, or respect. This polarizing attitude makes effective communication almost impossible.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Locking the Gates of War On Father’s Day, June 17, 2018, thirty people gathered at noon for a vigil near the Naval Magazine Indian Island weapons transfer depot on Port Townsend Bay in Washington State. The depot is the largest weapons transfer facility on the West Coast.

On Weapons (January 2019)

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)

Free Films on Nonviolence Dear Friends: Great News!! Five excellent films on the power of nonviolent action and nonviolent movements are now available for free all over the world in twenty different languages. These are powerful films and will hopefully educate and inspire people to build powerful nonviolent actions and campaigns for peace, justice, and environmental sanity in their own communities and cities. Please share this message and this link widely: www.nonviolent-conflict.org/icncfilms/

On Weapons (January 2019)