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Everyday Prophets (Review) Recently, I read the wonderful 2016 Backhouse Lecture, Everyday Prophets by Margery Post Abbott. I identified with Abbott’s description of everyday prophets as “. . . people who listen to the voice of all that it Holy and follow its guidance” (p. 3). Yet these everyday prophets face challenges, too. “It takes practice to develop the skill of listening with an inward ear and coming to recognize the taste and color of all that it holy . . . Above all, such a person is one who listens inwardly and has learned to distinguish the voice of the Spirit, the presence of Christ, from their own desires or self-will, the pressures of the surrounding culture and the need to win approval from those around them” (pp. 5-6).

On Home (September 2017)

Chickens on the Cheap Ever since we moved to rural Honduras in 2006, Sister Alegría and I had wanted chickens. Our imaginations became reality when, in 2012, friends gave us some pullets and a young rooster. We quickly discovered that raising fowl wasn’t so straightforward. The second night the birds were here, perching in the branches of a tree, a possum helped himself to the rooster! Some months later, a vampire bat killed one of the hens. Eventually, our friend Mateo built a henhouse in the backyard so the chickens could sleep protected from nighttime predators.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Rumpelstiltskin Yes, I make necklaces out of old soda bottles and credit cards. I could say that my jewelry-making is about good stewardship of the environment, and that might be technically true. If I make a necklace from a soda bottle, it doesn’t go into the landfill as fast. I could say it’s about simplicity because I don’t need to buy anything before creating. But neither of those reasons are why I create out of trash. 

On Garbage (November 2017)

Agree to Disagree Dear Editor: I enjoyed your editorial in the last issue of Western Friend (Sept/Oct 2017), especially this: “Each Friends’ community must decide for itself what range of behaviors it can tolerate within its spiritual home. Some will feel called to walk closely beside those who ‘walk disorderly;’ some will feel called to try talking some sense into that guy in the castle; still others will feel called to stay home and bake bread.” I read that to my husband, because he’s the one who feels “called to stay home and bake bread.” Except for being the recording secretary for our El Paso meeting, he turns down every Quaker job he’s been asked to do – in spite of his considerable talents in reporting, writing, and editing! I don’t understand this, but he doesn’t understand my need to “go, do, and be,” either.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Quaker Culture: Environmental Awareness [Friends are not sufficiently] sensitized to environmental issues, and the result has been that we are now only slightly more awake to their significance than the average American . . . [As] individuals, many of us have become involved with environmental organizations, or have spoken out on special concerns within the environmental arena. But we have failed to see the overall magnitude and urgency of the environmental crisis . . . We have failed to see that the environmental crisis has a towering spiritual dimension, which must be addressed if the crisis is to be resolved . . .

On Garbage (November 2017)

On Garbage Henry Ford, the father of mass production, is famously known for declaring, “History is bunk.” Thus, he relegated “History” to “the trash heap of history.” (The word “bunk” comes from the Dutch word for “rubbish,” bunkum.) Histories exist to make sense of people’s lives, to reveal the meanings of humanity. Assembly lines exist to maximize the output of people’s lives, to boost the means of production. Between history and industry, humanity and mass production, tensions are too often resolved by treating the sacred as garbage.

On Garbage (November 2017)

The Focus Book Series (review) With global warming’s impact of floods and droughts becoming ever more apparent, this ten-book series gives hope that, oriented by the spirit and coupled with mindful research, people can make a difference in reducing causes of environmental destruction. I read three books in this series:

On Music (March 2018)

Together Dear Editor: The other day I was driving home from dropping my children off at school, my toddler humming in his car-seat behind me. I was listening to a discussion on NPR about the 156 women who testified against Larry Nassar, a doctor who gained the trust of children and their families, and then used that trust to sexually abuse countless children. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I was stifling sobs. There is so much pain in the world. We hurt one another, we hurt the world around us, we hurt.

On Music (March 2018)