Western Friend logo

Search

The Message is the Message Marshall McLuhan, the late Canadian media philosopher, famously proclaimed, “The medium is the message.” For Quakers, the silent presence found in worship has no medium for its message. The message IS the message.

On Media (September 2016)

Open the Channel To celebrate the release of my third solo album, I played a big concert (of course). This was in 2016. I remember the nearly sold-out crowd gathering in the swanky Portland club and me, sitting in the back stairwell behind the stage, trying desperately not to barf, trying to ground back into my shaking-with-adrenaline body. Part of my difficulty lay in knowing that the people buying cocktails and chatting with their friends were there for a little Saturday night entertainment, while I was there to do battle – a spiritual warrior, fighting my way through self-doubt, fear, and a broken culture’s demands that I be small and obedient and perfect.

On Control (July 2019)

More Powerful than the Grave As a hospital chaplain, I met Mrs. Corrigan in an office adjacent to her oncologist’s office. She had just been talking with him about her terminal illness and about non-curative, comfort-care plans. Mrs. Corrigan was facing the end of her life from a metastatic form of cancer. As a patient now living at home, she had previously undergone many surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy. She had indicated that she wanted to see a chaplain for a series of spiritual care visits.

On Separation (November 2019)

On Teachers More than once, I have been humbled by being called racist. My first reaction, however, was not humility. My first reaction was to feel offended and misunderstood. Surely my accuser didn’t know me or my motives or my history. Surely, they were using the term “racist” too broadly – sloppy, really. A more precise definition would be more strategic for The Struggle (You’re welcome!), and would provide the added benefit of keeping me on the right side of history.

On Teachers (September 2020)