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Quaker Losses I Would Like to See We cling to old ways, even when they inhibit our spiritual growth. Sometimes we do not remember why the old ways were put in place, which means their use has lost its validity.

On Loss (May 2023)

My Slaves Many listeners get the wrong idea from hearing me talk about the fact that so many of us in 2023 own child slaves in the Congo, children who are mining cobalt for our electric vehicles and coltan for our cellphones, computers, and other electronic contraptions. Upon hearing this, most American slaveholders (like me) tend to think of cruel and evil plantation masters, sole proprietors who use their slaves to enhance their personal wealth. Such ideas are based on the way cotton was raised in the South before the Civil War, then sold to mills in the North and to England. Merchants would personally buy and sell human chattel when opportunities arose or when personal economic setbacks forced them. Ancillary enterprises also benefitted, of course, like the production of manacles and chains. Slave catchers had a healthy business, too.

On Loss (May 2023)

Dignity and Civic Life We can envision a universal parameter of dignity for individuals: Each person is owed fundamental respect simply by virtue of being human. We can also appreciate the importance of ensuring dignified treatment of the myriad of groups that comprise our society, and in particular, those that have been exploited, marginalized, and disempowered. For Friends, the importance of human dignity rests on a strong spiritual basis:

On Dignity (July 2023)

Organize Dear Editor: Thanks for another great issue of Western Friend. I was inspired/provoked to write this response to a couple of the articles you published in the May/June 2023 issue.

On Dignity (July 2023)

The U.S., Russia, and China Dear Friends: The United States, Russia and China are closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuba Missile crisis in 1962. If there is a full-scale nuclear war, billions of people will be killed immediately and whole cities destroyed and the debris in the atmosphere would lead to nuclear winter in which over seven billion people would die of starvation.

On Dignity (July 2023)

Necessary Questions Dear Friends: The fearlessness in Quaker tradition (including the pamphleteer) is speaking truth to power. As a Quaker, I am reminded of the words of Mary Dyer, who said, “We came not to cause discord, but to live in peace.”

On Dignity (July 2023)

God’s Part in Our Art (review) In her 2021 book, God’s Part in Our Art: Making Friends with the Creative Spirit, Linda Seger uses examples from numerous artistic professions, as well as her own personal stories, to show the process and joy of being an artist. I found this book to be deeply enjoyable and spirituality grounding, even though I don’t practice an art form myself. It spoke to me as a person who tries to approach life generally in a creative way.

On Dignity (July 2023)

On Dignity In meeting for worship on the occasion of heaven, we love to see everyone acting exactly like themselves. When we meet on the occasions of daily life, we often can’t quite remember where our true selves are. It’s a gift of grace to be in your right body, in your right mind, at the right place and time. And it’s a gift of grace to be in a community that encourages you to play your part for the truth, rather than for approval.

On Dignity (July 2023)