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Dangerous Tipping Point

Dear Editor: I just finished reading the latest issue of Western Friend [Nov/Dec 2015]. The subject of Quakers and economics is something I have thought about a great deal. I often think, “Well, you don’t get bonus points for good intentions and bad outcomes.” The Quakers, at least in the past, were better than others at linking good intentions to good outcomes.

On Countries (January 2016)

A Sustainable Life - Review

Doug Gwyn has established himself among Friends as a scholar, teacher, and writer of consequence. He has helped us through several decades to appreciate and vitalize our peculiar ways of being.

On Countries (January 2016)

On Beginning

“This isn’t working. We need to start over.” Virtually nobody ever wants to hear that. Our natural tendency is to protect our accomplishments and hang onto what we’ve got, even if that might not be good for us. Our brains are not designed to assess risk accurately. We underrate the risks of the mundane (cars, bathrooms) and overrate the risks of the dramatic (airplanes, tornadoes). The Known typically appears safer than The Unknown.

On Beginning (March 2016)

Be Not Afraid

Dear Friends: When an angel, according to biblical records, encounters a living human being, the first thing the angel says is. “Fear not!” or “Be not afraid!” or words to that effect.

On Beginning (March 2016)

Endless Beginning

“In the beginning . . . ” This phrase opens both Genesis – the first book of the Bible – and the Gospel of John. To say, “Let’s begin at the beginning,” is to say “Okay, let’s get to the heart of the matter, let’s get to the root of this.”

On Beginning (March 2016)

My Quest to Change the Education System

A normal school day in a traditional public school is full of many issues that go against Quaker values. These issues tend to have a negative impact on students and, therefore, the world surrounding them. The issues include, but aren’t limited to, the ineffective use of textbooks in the classroom, students unconsciously being taught to hate certain subjects, students losing their love of learning, rushing in the classroom, over-reliance on standardized testing, and the ineffective use of homework. These issues and many others led me, a student, to focus on transforming the education system to make it better for both students and teachers.

On Beginning (March 2016)

On Limits

As almost any four-year-old child could tell you, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a great big box, you’ll need to cut holes in it before you can make it into a house. Or as “the old man” (Lao Tsu) said, “Profit comes from what is there; usefulness from what is not there.”

On Limits (May 2016)

Religion and Politics

Because this year is an important election year, we have revisited our faith traditions regarding the right relation of religion and politics. We have undertaken this process as a means to inform and guide our own practice; but we also wish to share our understandings with the public at large, with the hope that they may bring clarity to a dimension of political life that has vexed and confused many citizens in recent years.

On Limits (May 2016)