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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)

The Book of Pro-s (review) There are plenty of things to be upset about in today’s world. But, as Nancy Hicks Marshall argues in her latest work, The Book of Pro-s: An Alphabetical Chat about Things We Like (that’s pro-, as in the opposite of anti-), there are still plenty of things to like. In alphabetical order, from “accuracy” to “zumba,” are 118 pages of reminders that life is still worth living in this troubled world.

On Neighbors (September 2019)

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)