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Richmond Anti-Draft Declaration of 1948

Friends are exhorted to adhere faithfully to [our] testimony against all wars and fightings, and in no way to unite with any warlike measure such as a Selective Service Draft or Universal Military Training . . . A living concern having been expressed that Friends’ practices be consistent with their professions, Friends are urged: 

On Cliques (September 2021)

Friends for Racial Equity

I had struggled before over whether to speak during worship, but this was different. It was near the close of worship, and a long-time member was sharing a folk tale from childhood. The story clearly moved him, and I can only imagine it was intended as a gift, a tender ministry for all of us in worship. But it was not a gift, at least not of the kind intended. The tale was of an enduring struggle between two iconic opposing figures – one evil, one good. On another morning, I might have let such a story drift in and out of my awareness, a familiar premise with no hint of a surprise ending. Instead, as I listened, I felt my body stiffen; [pullquote]I was paralyzed and mortified. Here it was, in a folk tale, in worship: racist ministry.[/pullquote]

On Cliques (September 2021)

Unfamiliar Arid Country

“Before going into unfamiliar arid country,” the late Jim Corbett wrote, “study maps that show the location of water.”

On Words (November 2021)

On Words

Language is a technology, a means of employing experience-based knowledge for practical purposes. Words are torches that beam from mind to mind, prompting individuals to turn their attentions in the same direction and to coordinate their efforts for survival. Many species rely on communication systems in this way. Homo sapiens, however, is a species that seems to have undergone a freakishly powerful cognitive mutation about 70,000 years ago. We became enabled then to speak of fictions.

On Words (November 2021)

Quakers Do What! Why? (review)

I am convinced again, Friends! Credit goes to Quakers Do What! Why?, a 72-page booklet from Quaker Quicks, written by Rhiannon Grant. In it, she takes the reader through a wide range of beliefs and practices of unprogrammed Quakers, using a friendly, conversational style. For example, the first chapter is titled: “Wait – Quakers still exist?” This book is great for people interested in exploring what it means to be Quaker as well as being full of great reminders for seasoned Friends. 

On Words (November 2021)

The Ground from which Miracles Spring

I didn’t want to join the committee. As a “released Friend,” my role is to follow the leadings of my music ministry out in the world, freed from responsibility for the business of Multnomah Monthly Meeting. But I have found myself reckoning lately with a firehose of Spirit blasting a message through me that has nothing to do with songs or cello. In September 2021, this message came out in an epistle, which was published October 30 in Western Friend’s weekly email newsletter. This epistle, “Returning to the Body,” arose from my experience serving on Multnomah’s ad-hoc committee concerned with the question of how to worship in this age of pandemic. [See: https://westernfriend.org/returning-body]

On Freedom (January 2022)

On Freedom

A thrill is in the air when a storm is on the way. Some creatures run and shout and seek the highest vantage point. Others look for the nearest root cellar. Reckless versus responsible, selfless versus selfish – any reaction to danger can be seen in various lights. Some good neighbors rush to warn the rest to hurry up and take cover. Some keep busy in the cellar, shoring up the weight-bearing timbers.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Let Our Lives Speak

Within the circumstances of our lives, the Light meets us. As we recognize the Light’s presence in the events of our lives, we see the lived testimony of the Light in our experience.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

That Clear and Certain Sound (review)

What rings true? Something with “that clear and certain sound.”

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (5)

[This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)