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Our Testimony on Alcohol Dear Editor: Thank you for reminding us of the traditional Quaker testimony on abstinence from alcohol. It is dismaying to see it increasingly forgotten in our meetings. It is one thing to recognize that outlawing alcohol and drugs leads to violent crime and mass incarceration. It is another to conclude that the use of chemical substances is desirable or even benign. When we are laughing about the casual use of wine or pot, we might want to ponder this question: Would we make a small sacrifice to help those in need? Are we able to forego a minor indulgence for the sake of those whom disease has made powerless? Because whether we are aware of it or not, we are surrounded by people who are caught with their families in a downward spiral of addiction.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

On Reconciliation Dear Friends: Through no fault of our own, through no feat of our own, we’ve all been born into this juncture in history together. So many of us. Too many of us. Things keep getting more and more crowded around here. Even so, it seems impossibly hard at times to say goodbye to people.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Puzzles and a Game (Jan/Feb 2015) Here are some fun things to do on your own and with friends.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

The Price of Folly - Review The Price of Folly: A Lay-Person’s Guide to American Plutocracy

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Taking Stock In accounting, we perform reconciliations between two representations of the same thing.  For instance, the cash on our books and the cash in our account as the bank reports it.  We expect to find differences, and our task is identify them, determine what action, if any, we need to take on our books, and occasionally tell the bank what they have missed.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Discovery: Peacework in Mexico Dear Editor:  I was greatly interested in Burton Housman’s article, “Between Two Civilizations” in the Jan/Feb issue.  I was one of seven Quakers (four Californians, one each from New York, New Mexico, and Nevada) who attended the first Quaker Social Action in Mexico Learning Tour hosted by the Casa de los Amigos team in Mexico City in January this year.  During our nine days there, we learned much about the critical humanitarian work, peace programs, and partnering done by their dedicated, bright, enthusiastic staff and volunteers.

On Needs (May 2015)

First Day Fun Dear Editor: I am so enjoying the kids’ section in Western Friend.  It has gotten me through more than one First Day School, and with the variety of ages in our program it’s a very big help.  I can’t wait to do the race at Easter, where everyone tries to race to the rope at the same time for a picture!

On Needs (May 2015)

Overcoming Need Six months after Sister Alegría (née Beth Blodgett) and I moved to Honduras in 2006 and began to live our Methodist-Quaker monastic life, cell phone service came to this remote region of the country. Almost overnight it seemed, everyone had cell phones, and it wasn’t long before people were declaring them “necessary.” When someone asked why we didn’t have one, we explained that phone calls would interrupt our contemplative lifestyle. “But what if one of you gets hurt? How will you get help?” “Then the other will walk to the road and will notify the next car that goes by” – just as anyone would have done a year ago before there was cell phone service! Cell phones can be useful, and Sister Alegría and I make phone calls most weeks by borrowing phones or renting them, but they are not necessities. We don’t need them.

On Needs (May 2015)