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Win-Win-Win-Wins Not long into the COVID-19 lockdown of April 2020, I attended a video-conference headlined by Dahni Jones, an entrepreneur and former NFL linebacker. Jones brought his trademark energy and smile to his presentation, and he left me with a singular thought: “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

On Rules (November 2020)

Vision for the Day to Be Peace I ask of thee of river, Peace, Peace, Peace. When I learn to live serenely, cares will cease. From the hills I gather courage, vision for the day to be. Strength to lead and faith to follow, All are given unto me. Peace I ask of thee of river, Peace, Peace, Peace.                     by Gwyneth Walker

On Vision (January 2021)

Cassandra 2020 Part faux Republican presidential campaign, part art project, with its candidate drawn from Greek mythology, Cassandra 2020 resists categorization. It has taken the form of community conversations, performance protest, video art, and guerilla sign-drops. It has been supported by a constant flux of contributors and co-creators, many of whom are also Quaker. It has sparked amusement, concern, scorn, joy, connection, and most importantly, curiosity.

On Vision (January 2021)

A Good Push Dear Editor: Thank you for this latest issue of Western Friend, “On Rules.” I’m only half-way through, but I’ve appreciated every article. Eleanor Dart and David Tucker gave good viewpoints on their topics. And then I got to Valerie Ireland and Lori Patterson, and I was truly moved to tears, which is really unusual for me. I don’t know if you will get some flak for Lori’s article, but it was a really good push for me. I have a lot to learn, and these present-day Quakers, sharing their struggles with present-day issues, are really great. I know Valerie Ireland, so it felt like she was just sitting in my living room explaining what it’s like these days to work in inner-city schools. Really important to hear. I don’t know Lori, but I very much appreciated her challenge to us white folk.

On Vision (January 2021)

Unspectacular Solutions Dear Friends: Two articles in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue express concerns about policing and both would benefit from tempering in their respective meeting communities. “Get Out of the Way” alleges unfair discrimination by the author’s meeting, in part based on its reticence to display a “Black Lives Matter” poster and a “defund the police” banner while giving support to other social justice causes. Similarly, the author of “Abolish the Police” states, “As Friends, our Society has a long history of participating in social movements to challenge oppression; but in our recent experience, Friends have seemed very hesitant and resistant to embracing police and prison abolition.”

On Vision (January 2021)

Calls to Annual Sessions 2021 Dear Friends: Please join us at the virtual gathering of Intermountain Yearly Meeting, from June 16-20, 2021. We look forward to implementing many of the skills and lessons that we have learned over the last year, to create a Spirit-led time for all Friends and others who join us. We have learned that a virtual platform can be more accessible for those who live at a distance. On the other hand, it can make access difficult for those without adequate computer equipment. Friends have commented that they found a surprising depth of worship in many of the sessions, and a deepening connection, both with Spirit and with other Friends.

On Relevance (March 2021)

Towards Peace in Yemen Early in January 2015, my world changed. My dad called to inform me that my cousin Muath Safi Yousef al-Kasasbeh, a Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, had been captured and burned to death by the militant group ISIL – after Muath’s F-16 fighter aircraft malfunctioned and crashed over Syria. Although I had never met this cousin of mine, my heart pounded with grief, listening to the rage and despair in my father’s voice. He was devastated, and he vowed that Jordan would take revenge.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Sabbath Economics Sabbath economics offers an alternative approach to dominant paradigms of economic theory and practice. Theologian-educator Ched Myers coined the term “Sabbath economics” in the 1990s, drawing from the Torah standard of social and economic justice and based on God’s call to “keep the Sabbath” by alternating good work with periods of rest.

On Debt (July 2021)

Privilege and The Other (unabridged) [This article is abridged from a longer one, published online at https://westernfriend.org/media/privilege-and-other-unabridged.]

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)