Western Friend logo

Search

Quaker PopOffsets Wanna buy baby?” I was eleven years old and traveling with my family in Latin America. We were climbing up a dirt path in the humid heat when we passed a young woman, perhaps only five or six years older than I was. She was holding an infant in her arms.

On Balance (May 2017)

The Landscape of Sanctuary Albuquerque Monthly Meeting is “positioned” in a cultural and political landscape, but I can no more see our position in that landscape than I can see the position of our planet in the Milky Way, or the back of my own head. I can see that our meetinghouse sits on a one-way street in a valley separating the Sandia Mountains on the east from the Mesa on the west. Ask me about the minutiae of operating a sanctuary in a Quaker meetinghouse, and I can hold forth. Ask me about our position in the political landscape, and I find myself in a vortex of questions: What is sanctuary? What is political? What is a landscape?

On Politics (July 2017)

Disclosures and Wonder Recently, I joined a new group on social media and was asked to introduce myself, to say a bit about where I was from, and to share a little-known fact about myself. Immediately, I started sorting through personal details. Should I pick something big – share about my family, say, or my work? Or open with something small – my favorite ice cream flavor?

On Secrets (July 2020)

News as Spiritual Exercise It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the torrents that flow from TV, radio, social media, and the occasional print publication. Vast arrays of information, persuasion, entertainment, and junk threaten our sanity. They can also condition our attitudes and perceptions in ways that we are not even aware of. As Friends, we want to engage with news media in ways that reflect our deepest values. But how?

On Cliques (September 2021)

Playing Violent Games in Peace In his recent article, “ISIS’s Call of Duty,” Jay Caspian Kang describes similarities between ISIS recruitment films and first-person-shooter games – similarities that are likely intentional (The New Yorker, September 18, 2014). Kang’s article is one of many that play into a larger debate about the role of violent videogames and other violent media in our culture. This debate has continued unresolved for decades, and both sides often succumb to strong emotions and hyperbolic statements. I feel this leads to a shutdown in communication between groups, and that is the issue I would like to address in this article.

On Temptation (November 2014)

The Seventh Person According to philosopher William James, “Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.” This elegantly describes the nature of our relationships with others. Through our biases and subjectivities, we create views of the world that may not actually exist. These become even more difficult to untangle when social media is added to the mix.

On Media (September 2016)

Finding Truth in the Time of Hysteria Before they were nicknamed Quakers, the early converts of Fox called themselves the Publishers of Truth. But in today’s world of manufactured news, click bait, and iPhone reporting – What is the truth?  No matter what news source you subscribe to, our media seem to thrive on hysteria. The world is about to collapse from global warming, ISIS, international bankers, too much control, too little control, the breakdown of the family, racism, globalism, nationalism, the fraying of our social fabric or all of the above.

On Media (September 2016)

Integrity Investment Shelley’s Story: Imagine a billion dollars being taken out of fossil fuel development and more than a billion being put into renewable energy. This is exactly what the University of California (UC) did in 2020. What did it take for UC to divest from fossil fuels in such a big way?

On Vision (January 2021)

Alarmed In response to Harvard University’s refusal to divest from its fossil fuel stock, a recent mayor of Seattle, Mike McGinn, commented, “[pullquote]We're the first generation to see the effects of climate change, and the last generation who can do anything about it.[/pullquote] To refuse to use every tool at our disposal in this fight – to embrace inaction – is to endorse a trajectory that will lead to suffering, privation, and calamity. We owe it to those who our institutions and investments serve and will serve in the future to do everything we can to prevent this crisis.” With an unprecedented drought ongoing throughout the West, we might be directly experiencing this crisis already.

On Production (May 2014)