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The Quaker Spa

I’m no expert on Quaker history, but I’m familiar with the basic outlines. One general observation I can make about Quaker history is this: Early Friends started by getting imprisoned often for breaking the rules, and then they continued as rule-breakers throughout the centuries. Quakers have broken both government laws and cultural conventions. This pattern of rule-breaking emerges from the same source as our testimonies do: Quaker worship.

On Relevance (March 2021)

An Unfinished Revolution

[This text has been excerpted from the author’s upcoming book, An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021).]  

On Relevance (March 2021)

Spiritual Service through Showing Up

When my husband and I moved to the Bay Area during the dot-com boom, we didn’t know a soul. We needed to get involved with a community and get to know people. After checking out the Buddhists and the Unitarians – even though we didn’t come from a faith tradition in DC – we decided to visit the Quaker Meetinghouse in San Francisco. It featured a prominent sign and was situated at the edge of the Civic Center, Tenderloin, and South of Market (SOMA) neighborhoods, which are also advancing edges of tech gentrification in the city.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Fake News for Real Peace

I have been a Friend for forty-five years. I started attending a few years after returning to the U.S. from a tour in Vietnam. It was a stressful time. We had two young children. At the encouragement of Charles and Mary Minor, we visited Flagstaff Friends Meeting on South Beaver Street, just off the campus of Northern Arizona University.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Bitcoin: A Consideration for Friends

In 1779, Quaker abolitionist Warner Mifflin wrote and circulated a tract that was both thoughtful and provocative: “Statement Concerning His Refusal to Use and Circulate Continental Currency.” (A copy of this tract can be found today in the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.)

On Debt (July 2021)

An Invitation to COP26

Few people need to be reminded that the past year and a half have been particularly tough for the entire human community. A seemingly unending stream of crises have made exhaustion, confusion, and anger all too commonplace. At times, it feels like the best we can do is simply hunker down and ride out the storm. However, as the storm gets worse, even that strategy doesn’t work so well.

On Debt (July 2021)

Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries (review)

An engaging 2018 documentary film, Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries, provides a useful overview of Quaker history from an activist perspective. Thanks to PBS, it has been broadcast to over 250,000 households in the U.S. Director-producer Janet Gardner, Cinematographer Kevin Clouthier, Consultant Richard Nurse, and others on this team deserve kudos for their efforts to make Quaker history come alive. This documentary is intended for a popular audience and is spreading the Quaker message where it most needs to be heard.

On Debt (July 2021)