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Illusions and Miracles Military forces in the 18th and 19th centuries employed a deceptive tactic called “the Quaker gun trick.” This involved using wooden cannon replicas, sometimes painted black, to trick an adversary into withdrawal or surrender – without a shot being fired. We are not talking Peace Testimony here, but perhaps Friendly Trickery – deception for the greater good of de-escalation.

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)

Pay Vaccines Forward with COVAX Have you received your first COVID shot?  Have you been fully vaccinated? It is a nice feeling to be more protected from this disease.  

On Debt (July 2021)

Truth and Healing Commission for Native Peoples Dear Friends, at their June 20, 2021 meeting for worship with a concern for business, Intermountain Yearly Meeting (IMYM) approved the minute below. It calls on individual Friends and monthly meetings to urge their Congressional representatives to support a bill that seeks to create a Truth and Healing Commission for the U.S. Indian boarding schools. Senator Elizabeth Warren is expected to introduce this bill before the August recess. 

On Cliques (September 2021)

On Cliques Semi-permeable membranes are essential to the flourishing of most organic life on Earth. From bacteria to civilizations, our lives exist within vibrant walls that delineate, protect, and provision us.

On Cliques (September 2021)

The Color of Law (review) The GI Bill was a White guy thing. Yes, the famous law that gave so many young veterans a good start in life after World War II. Although technically, it was for all veterans, in practice, African-Americans found it impossible to get the promised support. Before long, they stopped applying for it. And that was only the beginning. In his 2017 book, The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein shows that many housing laws were designed to discriminate against African-Americans. He shows that it was in fact the policy of the federal government to discriminate in housing. And he shows how racial discrimination in housing led to the segregated society we know today; divisions by neighborhood, by financial situation, by profession, and by level of education – all come out of housing discrimination.

On Cliques (September 2021)

Etude for Belonging (review) Curiosity sent me to the dictionary to look up “etude” before opening this poetry collection.

On Cliques (September 2021)

Unfamiliar Arid Country “Before going into unfamiliar arid country,” the late Jim Corbett wrote, “study maps that show the location of water.”

On Words (November 2021)

Serve The Land Words transmit ideas. Ideas found in sacred writings lead to ideals, and ideals lead to actions. I began life within faith traditions that venerate the Bible as the source for seeking and understanding God’s will. I’ve found some truth by that approach; but . . . have you ever read the Bible? It can be confusing, a confounding muddle, capable of twisting one’s mind into a tangled mess. And yet, there are also moments when Spirit opens a window on something profound. That’s what happened when I began examining context surrounding one small Hebrew word that’s written “abad” in the English alphabet. This word appears 290 times in the Old Testament, and mostly gets translated into English as “serve.” I came to realize that translations had short-circuited an ancient ideal that we need right now.

On Words (November 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)