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Look into their Faces Surely life is more than waiting at the center of a wheel of fortune that spins and stops repeatedly to point out countless causes and concerns. Finish one task and then hang on as the wheel spins and points out the next one. Will it be immigration, prison reform, nuclear disarmament, climate change, indigenous rights, racism and white privilege, or . . . ? This inner image of a spinning wheel reflects how my life can feel these days – juggling and shuttling among various tasks and commitments.

On Balance (May 2017)

Silence as a Bully Pulpit Dear Editor: I wanted to thank you for undertaking a group discussion by videoconference. I listened to the entire hour. One type of “bullying” that did not come up is the personal use of the silence as a bully pulpit (I call it “Quaker open Mic”). I have participated in a number of meetings in different parts of the West. A weighty Friend in one meeting produced a sermonette each First Day. An individual in another meeting usurped extensive periods of the silence with his personal opinions and attitudes on current topics. People new to meeting groups tend to follow the example of older members or attenders. I think this is one of the more troublesome features of unstructured silence.

On Balance (May 2017)

Absurd Dear Editor: Regarding your attempt at calculating the carbon offset amount mandated by your and others’ air travel (WF, Nov./Dec.,’16) I am somewhat puzzled by the whole enterprise. Yes, we all participate in the machinery of ongoing environmental degradation and the apparently accelerating pace of climate catastrophe. But isn’t it misleading, even absurd to try to calculate this out in dollars-and-cents terms as if we could pay out toward our fiscal responsibility at an imaginary teller window somewhere? Really, how could mere humans have any real conception of the actual load placed on the biosphere by our various collective activities? And doesn’t reducing that responsibility to a dollar amount imply that we can simply pay for it, in whatever amount we reckon the damage to be, and then go back to our usual practices without another thought?

On Balance (May 2017)

The Landscape of Sanctuary Albuquerque Monthly Meeting is “positioned” in a cultural and political landscape, but I can no more see our position in that landscape than I can see the position of our planet in the Milky Way, or the back of my own head. I can see that our meetinghouse sits on a one-way street in a valley separating the Sandia Mountains on the east from the Mesa on the west. Ask me about the minutiae of operating a sanctuary in a Quaker meetinghouse, and I can hold forth. Ask me about our position in the political landscape, and I find myself in a vortex of questions: What is sanctuary? What is political? What is a landscape?

On Politics (July 2017)

Pro-Woman Practice and Policy For most of my medical career, I worked in family planning, providing contraceptive care so that children could be planned, loved, and supported. I also performed abortions when contraception failed. For forty years, I have been supported in this work by my Quaker beliefs.

On Politics (July 2017)

Minute on Fear and Healing Thirty-seven of us met for the Montana Gathering of Friends, February 24-26, 2017, at Camp Make-a-Dream in Gold Creek, Montana, and something profound and deeply moving happened. As a community, we felt a deep and insistent calling during Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business. The Clerk put aside most of the planned agenda, allowing Friends to worship together. We reflected on our own fear as well as the fear we see in response to the rise of hate and violence in our communities, and the targeting of many who are being labeled as different by their race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender identity, or sexual orientation, religion and political beliefs. The following Minute rose out of this Meeting.

On Politics (July 2017)

Illuminating Typo Dear Editor: Life can be like driving a car at night – you see only what is in the narrow beam of the headlights, but somehow finish the journey. Better and safer would be “wide-angle” headlights. But, as you typoed in your last “From the editor’s desk,” best would be those “wide-angeled” views illuminating the moral compass on the dash.

On Politics (July 2017)

Alternate Realities Dear Editor: I was fascinated by Brylie Oxley’s article, “Time Crystals,” in the March/April 2017 issue of Western Friend. I’ve wondered before about reincarnation, but maybe it’s time crystals instead!

On Politics (July 2017)