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Quaker Culture: Corporate Worship The purpose of meeting on Sunday morning is corporate worship. Worship transcends meditation, yet meditation can be excellent preparation for worship. Meditation is inwardly focused, as one plumbs oneself and frees oneself from worldly thoughts. Worship seeks a shared communication with God, through prayer, praise, thanksgiving, petition, humble penitence, or opening to God’s leadings.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Quaker Culture: Discovery “What is Quaker Faith? It is not a tidy package of words, which you capture at any given time and then repeat weekly at a worship service. It is an experience of discovery, which starts the discoverer on a journey, which is lifelong. The discovery in itself is not uniquely a property of Quakerism. . . What is unique to the Religious Society of Friends is its insistence that the discovery must be made by each of us individually. No one is allowed to get it secondhand by accepting a ready-made creed. Furthe

On Play (September 2015)

Quaker Culture: Right Action For Friends the most important consideration is not the right action in itself but a right inward state out of which right action will arise. Given the right inward state right action is inevitable. Inward state and outward action are component parts of a single whole.

On Countries (January 2016)

Emergency Preparedness Dear Editor: Two items have come to my attention recently for Meetings to consider. Could Western Friend share these with monthly meetings? 1) La Jolla Meeting’s Youth Protection Minute and 2) Emergency Plan Template for Faith Based Organizations. Thanks.

On Beginning (March 2016)

Quaker Culture: Brevity Brevity is an under-appreciated virtue. If you speak [during Quaker worship], do not feel compelled to explore all the implications of your insight. Rather, leave room for the Spirit to work through the next person, building on your words and possibly extending them in an unexpected direction.

On Limits (May 2016)

Essential Teachings Dear Editor: I would like to comment on the book review of The Essential Elias Hicks (May/June 2016). The reviewer has misunderstood the title as indicating that Elias Hicks was himself essential. Rather, the title indicates that the book demonstrates the essence of what Hicks believed and preached. It’s the essence of Hicks, not the opinion that Hicks was essential. Friend Paul Buckley designed his book to reveal the essence of Hicks’ ministry.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Quaker PopOffsets (letter)

Dear Editor: Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) has just approved a new program, Quaker PopOffsets. It’s patterned after a similar program in Britain, which collects contributions and then disperses the money to programs that either educate about family planning or provide family-planning services. Because a “non-person” has no carbon emissions, this is a very effective way to offset one’s carbon emissions. I would also like to ask you to share with Western Friend readers the minute in support of Planned Parenthood that Intermountain Yearly Meeting approved at our annual session this June. Thanks.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Well Done! Dear Editor: Thanks so much for the excellent article on Elizabeth Fry in the May/June issue. Well done! As some of your readers know, I travel widely among Friends, dressed as Betsy Fry, and talk about her life. This is one of the best short biographies I’ve ever read. “Betsy” will be at Palo Alto Friends Harvest Fest in September, so come see her/me there.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Quaker Culture: Unorthodoxy [The] very raison d’etre of Quakerism lies in the claim that a passionate unorthodoxy is nearer to the truth than a habitual orthodoxy. . . We believe that mere orthodoxy has little value, and that confused, muddled thought of God is better than the repetition of formulas without thought; that it is better to think wrong than not to think at all.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Speaking Fluent Wishy-Washy Dear Editor: I loved William Matchett’s delicately profound “Notes on Quaker Speech.” I share his sentiment that locutions like “Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business” are tortured and twee. It has been said that Friends abolished creeds, but couldn’t exterminate the creedal impulse. So if Friends are resistant to propound any set of beliefs, it must be all the more tempting for us to cherish certain phrases that signify group identity instead. Sadly, I’ve met people who equated “understanding Quakerism” with “speaking fluent wishy-washy.” In the interest of spiritually immediate language, here are a few more Quaker phrases I wouldn’t mind never hearing again.

On Media (September 2016)