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Council of Elders Dear Editor: I am part of the Council of Elders, a volunteer organization in the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon, committed to promoting civil discourse. We started this organization after hearing about Better Angels (www.better-angels.org), a nation-wide organization that sprang up after the politically polarized  2016 elections. We invited them to do a workshop with us, which inspired my excitement and hope.

On Water (March 2019)

Minute on Immigration Equality, community and integrity are foundations of Quaker belief. Therefore, as immigrants and refugees in our community encounter trials such as family separation, incarceration, internment and deportation, Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is called to put these beliefs into action. We will support these neighbors in their daily lives, providing aid, companionship, friendship and safety in whatever ways we are able.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Be a CASA Be a CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate

On Puzzles (April 2019)

That of God in Research In the September/October 2018 issue of Western Friend, “On Children,” I wrote about my experiences as a Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker. Much of what I described about investigating child abuse concerned “control.” For example, my Quaker practices of listening in silence and discernment helped me “learn the rules so you can break them properly,“ as the Dalai Lama recommends. “The rules” in this case were Washington State’s Child Protection Laws and the policies of CPS, which attempt to control the behavior of parents by enforcing norms to restrict physical discipline of children and to achieve minimum levels of care. Those enforcement structures are the stick. The carrots used to control families are the programs that CPS offers to help them, as well as the refuge in foster homes that CPS offers to children when parents fail. Unfortunately, social workers can cause harm when they fail to use judgment and discernment in applying the laws appropriately in each unique situation. As Parker Palmer so beautifully describes, one of the paradoxes of life is that both control and spontaneous creativity are necessary for human flourishing.

On Control (July 2019)

Prayer I don’t know if you are real and I don’t want to be fooled anymore, letting myself be born into beliefs that are both wrong and profoundly harmful – two-edged sword slicing my insides as it tears stranger into enemy.

On Control (July 2019)

Quaker Culture: Impossibility Do you see war as a giant, iniquitous, futile, unchristian system? Then hurl yourself against it, in full blindness to the seeming impossibility of the task. . . There are no impossibles to those who, in supreme dedication, are rooted deep in the Eternal Love.

On Control (July 2019)