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Sociocracy Dear Compassionate Listening Community: Our facilitators have been gathering for brave, courageous meetings, to practice what we preach: listening and speaking from the heart. During a recent meeting, one of our facilitators said, “You can’t dialogue with someone that you can’t hear!” Our practices are not easy. . . We all know how hard it can be to listen to someone when we are feeling deeply triggered. It takes skill and courage!

On Science (November 2022)

Scientific and Moral Reasoning I am a Quaker and a scientist. To be more precise, I am a Quaker and a computer scientist. Some would dispute whether my field is a true science, but what I do is pretty scientific, with gathering of empirical data and testing of hypotheses.

On Science (November 2022)

Compassionate Listening in Alabama Last October, with the help of Friends, friends, and the community college where I teach, Tim Reed and I took the “Compassionate Listening Journey to Alabama.” This is a fantastic trip conducted by the Compassionate Listening Project, a legacy of Quaker peacemaker Gene Knudsen Hoffman, designed to cultivating compassion for ourselves and others. [pullquote]The Project has organized similar journeys to Israel and Palestine for many years. This was their second journey to Alabama.[/pullquote]

On Conflict (January 2023)

New Structures, New Life Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF) is a relatively new addition to the yearly meetings of Friends in the West. Many SCYMF Friends have been involved with other Western yearly meetings, formally and informally, for years, including involvement in “Convergent Friends” – a fellowship which has met occasionally for more than a decade, bringing together members of liberal “Friends Meetings” and Christian “Friends Churches.” Some of us have also participated for many years in the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conferences, another opportunity for Friends from different branches to share ideas, worship, and fellowship. So, SCYMF is new, but not new.

On Conflict (January 2023)

Friendly Leadership (review) Donn Weinholtz’s practical new book, Friendly Leadership: Humanely Influencing Others, connects Quaker values with research on how organizations function (or don’t). In it, Weinholtz shows ways for Friends to bring their Quaker spiritual practices into the secular mix as well as in service to their Quaker meetings.

On Conflict (January 2023)

Close-up on The Lord’s Prayer This is my path: a struggle to learn to be willing to surrender to the Holy Spirit, to finally go home. I have been on this path for years, struggling with the idea of an “other,” an incomprehensible energy. Recognizing the necessity of surrendering to something greater than myself – and interior to me – has taken a long time. I have learned that transformation is about choice, action, willingness to surrender, and knowing that I am never alone.

On Perception (March 2023)

Telling the Truth about God (review) Rhiannon Grant’s small book Telling the Truth about God (2019) is immediately engaging in its conversational style. She draws from her experience leading workshops at Woodbrooke in England and offers brief introductory chapters for both Friends and non-Friends. To the Quaker reader, she expresses the hope that, after the reading, “you feel that you are better able to tell the truth about God as you understand it.”

On Perception (March 2023)

Martyrs for Conscience’s Sake “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” These words were written by Lord Acton in 1887. Throughout the ages, we have seen this: When autocrats exercise power corruptly, heroic persons stand up to challenge them. This essay is a brief history of just a few of the countless individuals who have spoken truth to power over the past 2500 years and who sacrificed their lives for it. Let us not forget them.

On Loss (May 2023)

Loss in Two Voices In November 2018, my family physician, Travis Abbott, who had known me for many years, referred me for a cognitive impairment screening. It was very helpful that Dorsey accompanied me to that screening. It was helpful for her to see what happened and for her to ask questions that I did not think of. I clearly had some areas that were not so good, but I was not formally diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment until January 2020.

On Loss (May 2023)

On Loss Many Friends in the West today trace our religious ancestry back to the arrival of Joel and Hannah Bean in California in 1882. The monthly meeting that the Beans enlivened in San Jose eventually became the root stock of three new yearly meetings – Pacific, North Pacific, and Intermountain (to oversimplify). Thirty years earlier, Joel and Hannah had traveled with the pioneer “Bean wagon train” that relocated dozens of Beans from New England to the brand new “free state” of Iowa. The Beans were central in the formation of Iowa Yearly Meeting, and Joel and Hannah clerked its two constituent meetings (men’s and women’s) for about ten years.

On Loss (May 2023)