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Rekindling the Fire Looking towards the future of Quakerism, we see that the power to rekindle our fire for social justice lies within our local meetings. Supporting individuals to pursue the spirit’s leadings to work for peace and social justice will strengthen the Religious Society of Friends overall and connect us back to our historical roots.

On Power (March 2013)

On Power Dear Friends: We marvel at incarnation, at the way that Life walks the earth in carne, in these bags of flesh we call bodies. By some mysterious grace we are given the power to live and to think and to act. Then gravity holds us down. Biochemistry drives us. History and community constrain us. Information limits our imagination. A tangle of powers confronts us with a chaos of demands. It’s enough to drive you to drink. It’s enough to drive whole civilizations mad.

On Power (March 2013)

On Patriotism Dear Friends: Our First Amendment right to free expression is sometimes called the “crown jewel” of the Bill of Rights. That somewhat oxymoronic metaphor – a fundamental democratic principle sparkling like a diamond in the coffers of a monarch – reveals an uneasy tension between our democratic freedoms and the worldly powers that guard them. Yet even though any government must place some limits on individual freedom, the expectation is that those limits will benefit the common good. In the document that established Pennsylvania’s first legislature in 1682, William Penn wrote, “The glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and end of government, and therefore government in itself is a venerable ordinance of God.”

On Patriotism (January 2014)

Do Quakers Mean Business? Recently a Methodist church invited me to a book study. They had been reading books on ethically based business, including Deborah Cadbury’s Chocolate Wars, and had grown wildly curious about these peculiar Quakers and their century and a half of confectionary success. The group leader tabulated a list of famous Quaker business leaders – not only in cocoa, but also in ironwork, railways, footwear, chinaware, household goods, pharmaceuticals, and banking. Why, she asked, was the list so long? Why were there so many Friendly industrial innovators? Why so many business names they now recognized as Quaker – from Cadbury chocolates to Barclays bank to Clarks shoes? What was it about this relatively small, seemingly austere, and ethically demanding faith that drove such a disproportionate share of business enterprise?

On Production (May 2014)

Quakers, Sport, and Being in the Zone It is surprising to me that so few Friends do sports. For me, doing a sport and going to Quaker meeting are of the same intention and compulsion. If I don’t do something physical for a few days, my body hurts. If I don’t center regularly into meditation, either in a group or by myself, I feel out of sorts. For me, Quaker meeting and sports are both essential parts of an authentic life.

On Pride (July 2014)

Nayler and Fox Dear Editor: It was good to see your piece on James Nayler in “Pages for All Ages.” Friends today do not always recognize that in the first years of the Quaker movement, Nayler was as important a preacher and as central to the movement as George Fox himself, certainly in the eyes of many London Friends.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)