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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)

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)

Return to the Farm Eleanor Dart is an author and psychotherapist and a lifelong Quaker. She is a member of Pima Friends Meeting in Tucson, AZ (IMYM).

On Home (September 2017)

About "Pages for All Ages" (2017) Dear Editor: Thank you so much for your work. With grandchildren who do not attend Quaker meeting, I especially appreciate the section for young people to share.

On Home (September 2017)

Intellectual and Prophetic Dear Editor: I have just finished reading through the July/August issue of Western Friend. It is outstanding. I found nearly every article to be of interest; they display not only a high level of intellectual content, but also a prophetic stance that speaks to our contemporary Quaker sensibilities. This combination of “a high level of intellectual content, but also a prophetic stance” sets Western Friend apart.

On Home (September 2017)