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On Place A person can be nice to someone in order to cheat them, but they cannot be kind to them to cheat them; that would not be kind. When Micah taught, “Do justice; love kindness; walk humbly with your God,” the lesson was not to love persons, but to love an attitude towards persons. An attitude that honors the self-respect of every creature and accepts indebtedness to the common good (and hence, indebtedness to the particular creature one is facing) – this is kindness. When engaging in acts of healing, kindness is not over-cautious about insult or injury. The hard truth and the surgeon’s scalpel both cut when they are needed. Recovery is hard work, but healing is only possible when corruption is excised. Also, to enter into another’s healing is always an act of reciprocity.

On Place (May 2022)

2022 Calls to the Annual Sessions [The following texts were abridged from the originals, which are available at: https://westernfriend.org/calls-annual-sessions-2022 ]

On Place (May 2022)

That Spark of Connection Back in the days of my Dark Night Journey, I worked hard to define what I meant by “spirit” and “spiritual.” What my reasoning mind came up with was an analogy: Just as our eyes are physical organs of sight, designed or evolved to detect certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, our spirits are as-yet-unidentified organs of relationship. (I hear Isaac Penington raising a Friendly alarm against this rationalistic formulation.)

On Normality (July 2022)

A Sacred Space Dear Editor: I write regarding the article “Place of Privilege” by Ann Clendenin in the May/June 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Normality (July 2022)

All Our Histories To the editor: Mackenzie Barton-Rowledge begins her article in the May/June 2022 issue of Western Friend with her grandfather, modeling the integrity she is seeking from Quakers in North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). She calls attention to one set of family histories in NPYM, which she calls a “settler-majority” community. I am writing to remind us that there are other family histories in NPYM, too.

On Normality (July 2022)

Deep Hope in Optimystical Times (abridged) For decades, I’ve been talking publicly about the gathering catastrophes of climate change and social injustice, and about the decline of the Society of Friends. Sounds pretty gloomy, I know. My day job as a palliative care chaplain at a large urban hospital entails sitting at the feet of those very powerful teachers named in Buddhist tradition: old age, sickness, and death.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Thanks for History of Gun Laws To the Editor: Wow. Bill Durland’s piece on the Second Amendment and gun control was clear and educational. I must have slept through civics class. I learned a lot about different levels of the law and about the duty of the judicial system to balance the right to individual freedom against the right to be safe and secure. For example, one does not have the right to shout “Fire” in a crowded movie theater. No right is absolute and unlimited, including the right to bear arms. Bill is a gift to us Quakers and the greater society. Thank you, Bill. And thank you, Mary, for publishing it.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Revolutionary Nonviolence Dear Editor: I was delighted to see an article about Lawrence and Viola Scott and their Quaker activities in the “Pages for All Ages” section of the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Science (November 2022)

Olive Rush’s Legacy Dear Friends: Some of you might be interested in further information on the significant Quaker artist, Olive Rush. My article “Olive Rush and Her Legacy” was published in Western Friend in the March/April, 2020 issue. The Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is still wrestling with the issues of preserving her legacy. However, the decision on the future of the Olive Rush Studio and its collection seems relevant to a broader Quaker community and not just one small meeting. In March 2022, I presented a slide lecture on Olive Rush’s mural paintings for the National New Deal Preservation Association of New Mexico. A copy of that presentation, “Olive Rush’s Paintings on the Walls of New Mexico,” is posted online. You can view it at: tinyurl.com/OliveRushPresentation

On Science (November 2022)