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Presence and Place When I tell people I was on Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, the day before the massive eruption that left fifty-seven dead, the first question they ask is, “Why?”

On Place (May 2022)

On Place A person can be nice to someone in order to cheat them, but they cannot be kind to them to cheat them; that would not be kind. When Micah taught, “Do justice; love kindness; walk humbly with your God,” the lesson was not to love persons, but to love an attitude towards persons. An attitude that honors the self-respect of every creature and accepts indebtedness to the common good (and hence, indebtedness to the particular creature one is facing) – this is kindness. When engaging in acts of healing, kindness is not over-cautious about insult or injury. The hard truth and the surgeon’s scalpel both cut when they are needed. Recovery is hard work, but healing is only possible when corruption is excised. Also, to enter into another’s healing is always an act of reciprocity.

On Place (May 2022)

Growing into the Light Is youth “wasted on the young,” as some have said? No, it is not. I have learned through my experience and that of others that we carry our youthful amazement within us all our life. It simply gets buried under our adult concerns.

On Normality (July 2022)

It’s OK to Talk about Quakerism Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about our Quakerism with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. In my (so far unpublished) research on expressing Quaker spirituality in the workplace, I interviewed one person who said that when a co-worker found out he was a Quaker, he was stunned. “I worked next to you for five years and had no idea you were a Quaker.”

On Normality (July 2022)

God’s Loving Eyes We are seen by God’s loving eyes.  The greatest spiritual battle begins – and never ends – with the reclaiming of our chosenness. Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.                         – Henri Nouwen (1993)

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)

Scientific and Moral Reasoning I am a Quaker and a scientist. To be more precise, I am a Quaker and a computer scientist. Some would dispute whether my field is a true science, but what I do is pretty scientific, with gathering of empirical data and testing of hypotheses.

On Science (November 2022)

Palestine, October 2022 As we have done before, my wife Janet and I traveled recently in Palestine. We joined a two-week journey in October with the British organization Quaker Voluntary Action. [pullquote]We visited Tel Aviv, Jifna (a small village near Ramallah in the West Bank), and Jerusalem.[/pullquote] As a group of eleven, we visited a settlement, harvested olives, roamed the Old City in Jerusalem, visited Ramallah Friends School, shared meeting for worship twice at Ramallah Friends Meeting, and – in worship and conversation – faced the predicament of this “much too promised land,” as Aaron David Miller has described it.

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)

“Bulletin” and “Lincoln” My world both shrinks and grows. One day, a glorious god’s-ray aimed directly at my heart;  then a declining, dying Dodo.

On Conflict (January 2023)