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The Long-Term Project of Anti-Racism This is a time when many Quaker meetings have approved statements denouncing racist violence and pledging their efforts to uproot and dismantle systemic racism. Many individual Friends are engaged in anti-racist work in their communities and are educating themselves about the history and impacts of racism in our country, the better to discern how they might act to promote racial equity and justice.

On Cliques (September 2021)

Friends for Racial Equity I had struggled before over whether to speak during worship, but this was different. It was near the close of worship, and a long-time member was sharing a folk tale from childhood. The story clearly moved him, and I can only imagine it was intended as a gift, a tender ministry for all of us in worship. But it was not a gift, at least not of the kind intended. The tale was of an enduring struggle between two iconic opposing figures – one evil, one good. On another morning, I might have let such a story drift in and out of my awareness, a familiar premise with no hint of a surprise ending. Instead, as I listened, I felt my body stiffen; [pullquote]I was paralyzed and mortified. Here it was, in a folk tale, in worship: racist ministry.[/pullquote]

On Cliques (September 2021)

Etude for Belonging (review) Curiosity sent me to the dictionary to look up “etude” before opening this poetry collection.

On Cliques (September 2021)

Speaking of Animacy How delighted we are when our children first begin to talk! What a miracle, what a joy! I have felt that joy and sense of the miraculous when that little being, my young child, could finally begin to share with me their wishes, thoughts, feelings, questions, and more – the first time they “used their words.” Even then, however, I was also aware of the drawbacks of learning our “native” spoken language. In the case of my own children, the language was English, and in learning this, I knew they would automatically be “pre-programmed” with the world-view inherent in English. This would limit where their minds could travel, just as learning a different “mother tongue” would limit their minds in a different way.

On Words (November 2021)

Quakers Do What! Why? (review) I am convinced again, Friends! Credit goes to Quakers Do What! Why?, a 72-page booklet from Quaker Quicks, written by Rhiannon Grant. In it, she takes the reader through a wide range of beliefs and practices of unprogrammed Quakers, using a friendly, conversational style. For example, the first chapter is titled: “Wait – Quakers still exist?” This book is great for people interested in exploring what it means to be Quaker as well as being full of great reminders for seasoned Friends. 

On Words (November 2021)

Healing with Native Peoples through Truth (abridged) [The following text was excerpted from the keynote presentation to Lake Erie Yearly Meeting on July 30, 2021. The unabridged text is published online at: https://westernfriend.org/media/healing-native-peoples-thru-truth.]

On Freedom (January 2022)

Quakerism: The Basics (review) Two of our Western Friends, Marge and Carl Abbott, long-time members of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon, have teamed up to offer a book providing a clear, simple, and accessible overview of the Society of Friends. While the book serves as an introduction for newcomers, it also offers to all of us, new or old, an excellent review of our faith and history.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Art of Life (review) Alivia Biko’s music is important in its own right  and it’s beautiful. Beyond that, her music is important as ministry. I predict that down the road, in the bright shiny future, people will look back and talk about our generation of Christ-centered Friends in the Pacific Northwest and about the creation of our new yearly meeting, Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF). Biko’s outsized contribution to the creation of SCYMF will play a big part in those discussions. Articles, chapters, whole books will be written on Mike Huber and Gar Mikkelsen, Holiness and Quaker identity, medical missions and quilting missions, and, of course, LGBTQ+ participation. There will be some good, nerdy side-trips into “Quakers” versus “Friends” and “churches” versus “meetings,” and with great good luck, a special photo section with at least one shot of Peggy Morrison on her Kawasaki. Especially, people will read about Alivia Biko and listen to her album Art of Life, filled with artistry, warmth, and celebration of community and spirit.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (5) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Growing into the Light Is youth “wasted on the young,” as some have said? No, it is not. I have learned through my experience and that of others that we carry our youthful amazement within us all our life. It simply gets buried under our adult concerns.

On Normality (July 2022)