Western Friend logo

Search

A search result that is a person’s name followed by “(person)” often links to a list of articles written by that person.

On Children In her autobiography, Life on Two Levels (1978), Quaker dynamo Josephine Duveneck tells of a year when she provided a foster home in Los Altos Hills, CA, to a seven-year-old Jewish boy from Germany, while Hitler was rising to power in Europe. “What a sweet little personality he was . . . He had been to school just before the time when Jewish children were banned, hence he was thoroughly indoctrinated with Nazi ideology. . . He told me that Adolph Hitler was the greatest man since Jesus Christ. I did not try to disillusion him. Soon, with the help of our horses, his hero worship was [redirected]. At Peninsula School, he learned English and also found out how to play games instead of how to march. I remember vividly the day when the portrait of Hitler that he had tacked up on his closet door had disappeared, and a poster with Franklin Roosevelt’s photograph on it took its place.”

On Children (September 2018)

Child Protective Services When I was a young man, I worked two years for Child Protective Services (CPS). It’s a strange job, going to people’s homes to talk to them about complaints that other people have made about how they treat their children.

On Children (September 2018)

The Strengthening Power of Discomfort A friend of mine bicycled 2,700 miles this summer along the Continental Divide. In an article she wrote for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner (8/12/2018), she said, “When doing endurance races, I have a question I ask myself when I want to quit: ‘Am I in danger or just uncomfortable?’ If I’m just uncomfortable, I tell myself to keep going. Things will get better. And they usually do.”

On Mixture (November 2018)

In Memory of Mary Dyer The martial music plays, bronzed alive only the invisible songs survive to fuse two sculptures in a final swoon singing today’s melodies of hope and doom, the Holy Spirit’s breath whispering between them as Mary Dyer speaks to the Colonel’s men, urging them to ascend to Jesus once again, chanting songs of the beginning and the end

On Mixture (November 2018)

Gun Control and/or Civil War? It is currently popular to call for “gun control” in the United States, especially in the wake of senseless mass shootings that have rocked the nation. However, most proposed “gun control” legislation has at its center the punishment of blameless people for the violent acts of a few. That is, these measures restrict or prohibit gun availability to citizens who have broken no laws, have harmed no one, and have merely exercised their rights under the Constitution to buy and own weapons. Promoters of strict “gun control” often seem to vilify gun owners as a sub-class of humans who do not merit recognition, rights, or respect. This polarizing attitude makes effective communication almost impossible.

On Weapons (January 2019)

Bullet Points On the “open wound” of border between Nogales, Arizona, U.S.A., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico (actually one city, divided), a steel-tube fence stretches thirty feet high and miles to the east and west – beyond our seeing. Dozens of people entered a restricted zone beside that wall and enacted a die-in last November, to remember 123 migrants who died in the nearby desert during the previous twelve months, as a result of U.S. “preventive deterrence” border policies. The die-in also honored the lives of people killed or disappeared by U.S.-trained, U.S.-equipped, military and police forces in Latin America.

On Weapons (January 2019)

On Weapons Dear Friends: Almost anything can serve as a weapon, even life-giving water. All living creatures on earth have evolved (are evolving) fortifications against attack. Cellular life is fortified by membranes, and human societies are fortified by lines in the sand. Nutrients and attractive ideas gain access through those fortifications. Poisons and slander are rebuffed. Inside our fortifications, ideally, scarcity and excess are minimized as we “give us this day our daily bread;” but in actuality, scarcity and excess are the pumping pistons of empire, trampling our planet today.

On Weapons (January 2019)

“Tell Our Story.” The stories I have heard told, graphic and heart-rending, by northbound migrants and asylum-seekers along the Arizona-Mexico border and by Latinx and indigenous campesinos in Central America, have transformed me. Where I was once a concerned but passive on-looker, I am now a determined human rights activist, intent upon bringing stories from the southwestern borderlands to the American public.

On Water (March 2019)