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Towards Peace in Yemen Early in January 2015, my world changed. My dad called to inform me that my cousin Muath Safi Yousef al-Kasasbeh, a Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, had been captured and burned to death by the militant group ISIL – after Muath’s F-16 fighter aircraft malfunctioned and crashed over Syria. Although I had never met this cousin of mine, my heart pounded with grief, listening to the rage and despair in my father’s voice. He was devastated, and he vowed that Jordan would take revenge.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Thoughts from a Loving Gadfly In January this year, I submitted an article to Western Friend about Friends and the “Beloved Community,” and I received the best rejection letter ever. The editor told me she tends to publish good news about Friends on the website, but wants the magazine to contain articles that “dig deeper into the quandaries, conflicts, values, etc., that underlie all the good work.” This seems like an editorial policy that will keep the magazine interesting and relevant.

On Tricks (May 2021)

End Mandatory Draft Registration In March 2020, I was crying in frustration and disappointment. The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (NCMNPS) had just recommended to the US Congress that the Selective Service System (SSS), mandatory registration for a military draft, be expanded to include women. Was I angry because women were going to be in line to be drafted? That was part of it. But my disappointment, my sadness, was more about the missed opportunity the commission hadn’t taken - to eliminate draft registration for all.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Thanks to a Friend of Moscow Dear Editor: I loved the article by Julie Harlow in the March/April issue of Western Friend. She really touched my heart with her honesty, commitment, and vision for authentic Quakerism. Like Julie, I was deeply involved in Soviet-American reconciliation work in the 1980s. I got to know Julie when she was taking groups of Friends from PacYM to the Soviet Union to build friendships and get to know our “enemy” as part of the citizen diplomacy movement. I felt our citizen diplomacy work helped to end the Cold War. Julie continued to follow her calling to be a Friendly presence for those in Russia who are drawn to Quakerism. Over the years, she has done amazing work through her faithfulness to her leading. I thank God for her!

On Tricks (May 2021)

DIY Divestment Some tasks seem to take a long time to get started. Doing dishes, weeding the garden, and paying bills come to mind. Once I’ve finally gotten going, I wonder why they ever seemed like a big deal. Divesting my family’s bank accounts from fossil fuels was like that.

On Debt (July 2021)

Race and Faith (abridged) [The following text was drawn from a complete manuscript of José Santos Woss’s keynote talk, which is published at: https://westernfriend.org/media/race-and-faith-unabridged]

On Cliques (September 2021)

23rd-Century-Ready Quaker Institutions Upon my arrival in Richmond, Indiana – after years of ministry in San Francisco, California – I would often walk the campus in the awareness that Earlham College had been standing at the time of the Civil War. I think often about the tension between spectacular, Ezekiel-like revelations from God and what happens when we attempt to translate such revelations into structured communities.

On Words (November 2021)