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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)

Final Accounting: Carpe Mortem Kathleen Fitzgerald: The Women’s Group of Live Oak Friends Meeting has been gathering monthly for decades. We have shared and listened deeply through childbirth, parenting, partnering, unpartnering, changing jobs, changing everything, emptying nests, retiring, and finding our way with special regard to our testimonies.

On Debt (July 2021)

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)

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)

Knowledge of the Lord

To Friends Everywhere: It is with joy that I present to the public again, after nearly two centuries out of print, Job Scott’s Remarks upon the Knowledge of the Lord, the Only True God.

On Seeds (November 2023)