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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)

Disclosures and Wonder Recently, I joined a new group on social media and was asked to introduce myself, to say a bit about where I was from, and to share a little-known fact about myself. Immediately, I started sorting through personal details. Should I pick something big – share about my family, say, or my work? Or open with something small – my favorite ice cream flavor?

On Secrets (July 2020)

Illusions and Miracles Military forces in the 18th and 19th centuries employed a deceptive tactic called “the Quaker gun trick.” This involved using wooden cannon replicas, sometimes painted black, to trick an adversary into withdrawal or surrender – without a shot being fired. We are not talking Peace Testimony here, but perhaps Friendly Trickery – deception for the greater good of de-escalation.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Transcendence and Community

At the close of our business meeting last August, I felt a lack of Light in the room.

On Division (January 2024)

Mysticism and Magic When I was in college, I took a class called Medieval Mysticism.  I had high expectations for that class.  I wanted something much more than an academic experience.  I wanted something much more than a grade on my transcript.  Yes!  I wanted to hear the voice of God in my ears.  I wanted to see a vision.  I wanted to feel the presence of God in a way that would change my life forever.

On Deception (November 2013)

Accomplishments and Luck Dear Friends: I have long understood pride as the deadliest sin of seven. I also know that it can be appropriate. Pride is sinful only in the sense of an overweening self-glorification. It characterizes someone who behaves as though he is convinced he is worth more than other people.

On Pride (July 2014)

Martha and Mary There is a short story in Luke’s gospel about two sisters, Martha and Mary. One way people have often found meaning in this story is to see Martha and Mary as representative of two “ways” of spirituality – the contemplative way (Mary) and the active way (Martha). The idea being not that one is more important than the other but that they are both essential, each “way” to be held in balance, enriching the other.

On Separation (November 2019)

Money and Soul Dear Friends: I have just read Pendle Hill Pamphlet #450, Pamela Haines’s “Money and Soul,” and I encourage Friends to read it. It’s based on a talk that the author gave at Intermountain Yearly Meeting in 2017 (which was published by Western Friend; see: westernfriend.org/article/money-and-soul-abridged). Haines packs much that is central to economic justice into this little pamphlet – both on the institutional/systemic and the individual levels. The latter often seems more difficult to discuss. Because of its clarity and hopeful tone, this pamphlet would be a useful resource for study groups and worship-sharing groups in all our meetings.

On Water (March 2019)