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The Bonds of Animal Affection This article is in dialogue with “The Bonds of Animal Agriculture” by Friend Joe Snyder in the May-June 2013 issue of Western Friend. I commend Friend Snyder for highlighting the destructive aspects of the prevailing system of plant and animal agriculture, which fail to respect God’s creation. To my mind, Friends cannot overemphasize the seriousness of such threats to our health and global sustainability.

On Love (September 2013)

The Bonds of Animal Agriculture Since biblical times, humanity has lived by an ancient contract: We the first party (animals) give you our wool, milk, hides and meat, draw your plows and carriages, guard your houses, control your vermin, and fertilize your fields.  We the second party (humans) promise to keep you safe from predators, bind up your wounds and treat your diseases, provide you shelter from the elements, feed you even in times of famine, and provide you with a quick and humane death.  Our own human relationship with God has long been expressed in similar terms. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

On Consumption (May 2013)

The Art of Small Resurrections - Review The Art of Small Resurrections: Surviving the Texas Death Chamber by Walter Long

On Time (March 2014)

Alternative Realities I met Rachel Heisham Bieri in Missoula, Montana, four months after she had been given a terminal cancer diagnosis. She was forty-five then, only fifteen years older than I was, though she was already a grandmother. Doctors had given her two months to live.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Martyrs for Conscience’s Sake “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” These words were written by Lord Acton in 1887. Throughout the ages, we have seen this: When autocrats exercise power corruptly, heroic persons stand up to challenge them. This essay is a brief history of just a few of the countless individuals who have spoken truth to power over the past 2500 years and who sacrificed their lives for it. Let us not forget them.

On Loss (May 2023)

Quakers and Gun Violence In the United States, gun violence is not a mere veneer on the surface of an otherwise peaceful society, but something deep and dark, with roots in the colonization of the continent and the founding of the nation, in ethnic cleansing, enslavement and the seizure of land from Mexico. White settlers, armed to the teeth, faced the constant prospect of insurrection by Native peoples and enslaved populations, as well as violence on contested borders.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Race and Faith (abridged) [The following text was drawn from a complete manuscript of José Santos Woss’s keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/race-and-faith-unabridged]

On Cliques (September 2021)

Deep Hope in Optimystical Times (abridged) For decades, I’ve been talking publicly about the gathering catastrophes of climate change and social injustice, and about the decline of the Society of Friends. Sounds pretty gloomy, I know. My day job as a palliative care chaplain at a large urban hospital entails sitting at the feet of those very powerful teachers named in Buddhist tradition: old age, sickness, and death.

On Cooperation (September 2022)