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Lives of Conscience Conversations with World War II Conscientious Objectors

On War (January 2013)

Creating Real Security American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) recently published a pamphlet titled, Shared Security: Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy (April 2013). At Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting in Berkeley, California, a small group considered this pamphlet and then organized a larger meeting to talk about this topic after Meeting for Worship on September 29, 2013.  Twenty-eight people attended. For the meeting, we prepared a one-page handout with some quotes from the AFSC/FCNL pamphlet. The text of that handout is included at the end of this article. [The pamphlet is also reviewed on page 32 of this magazine. – Editor]

On Patriotism (January 2014)

A Little Book of Unknowing – Review This “little book” is a high-level survey of a very big subject. As such, it will leave most readers wanting more. Fortunately, the book’s strong organization and its wealth of source materials combine to make it into a solid guide for readers who want to locate in-depth works on “knowing” and “unknowing” by a broad range of great minds, including Rumi, Thomas Kelly, and Matthew Fox.

On Knowing (March 2015)

Quaker Light in Australia and New Zealand Last summer (last winter there), we spent several weeks traveling among Friends in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. During those travels, we gained some insights about ways that our yearly meetings in the U.S. could share our Quaker faith more openly with the world around us.

On Insight (March 2017)

Finding Balance with MS I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) four months after I completed a 150-mile bike ride for the American Lung Association. I was thirty-one years old. Two years later, I had to stop working. Soon, I could no longer identify with anyone I knew. It seemed like everyone was either having babies or working. I was doing neither.

On Balance (May 2017)

More Powerful than the Grave As a hospital chaplain, I met Mrs. Corrigan in an office adjacent to her oncologist’s office. She had just been talking with him about her terminal illness and about non-curative, comfort-care plans. Mrs. Corrigan was facing the end of her life from a metastatic form of cancer. As a patient now living at home, she had previously undergone many surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy. She had indicated that she wanted to see a chaplain for a series of spiritual care visits.

On Separation (November 2019)

John Woolman’s Remedies for a Disease Until a century ago, the term “consumption” referred to the disease we now call tuberculosis (TB). The understanding was that the illness consumed the lungs, which was why people got a persistent cough and eventually coughed up blood. “Consumptive” people were often sent to sanatoriums in the hope of healing and to prevent the spread of the disease to others, but most died. There was no effective medical treatment until the mid-twentieth century. TB is now rare in the United States though it is still a problem in many poorer countries, including Honduras, where I live. At the same time, another type of disease called “consumption” has fully infected wealthy countries like the U.S. and is quickly spreading to other parts of the world. This is the disease of consuming too many products. I am afraid that, without adequate treatment, this illness will continue to consume individuals and societies until all good qualities in our cultures die.

On Wealth (May 2020)

Meditation, Worship, Science In 1969 in Seattle, getting help from the American Friends Service Committee on my application for conscientious objector status, I went upstairs to see what the Quakers were about. That Sunday meeting was my first experience of mindful meditation. “We sit in silence and listen for thoughts from God,” they told me. I liked the silence, and I liked that there was no dogma, but I didn’t believe in God. Even so, what people said in Quaker meeting made more sense than anything I was hearing anywhere else. I remember sitting in meeting the first few times, checking each thought that entered my mind: Is this one from God? It was pretty clear that hardly any were candidates for consideration.

On Secrets (July 2020)

Two Quakers Living with the Military We are two Quaker women who raised our families in towns dominated by the U.S. military. Rather than shun the military and look away, we have lived our witness amidst strong military presences. One thing about being in a military town is that you can’t look away from how big a machine the military is. Each of us found that it was hard to raise a Quaker family in a community with a tiny Quaker presence and a huge military presence. It was hard for our children to find peer support with so few Friends in town. [pullquote]The military has certainly created plenty of occasions for us to talk about our testimonies and our practices in the face of headwinds.[/pullquote] Both of us have found that our situations have actually helped strengthen our faith, since we often have to live our witness when sustained by faith alone.

On Place (May 2022)