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Creating out of Silence and Light In the late 1960s, a researcher named Frank Barron explored the relationship of religion and creativity and whether being religious and/or spiritual had an effect on the artist. He interviewed Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and a Hindu, as well as a number of others. The interviews were quite straightforward until he talked about the Quaker artist. His writing about this artist took a different turn. It was as if he was stopped in his tracks and felt a different tone in this interview. Reading the interview was like reading a hush or silence or something that was going deeper in its connections. He says, “She spoke of the Quaker silences. She thinks everyone should be silent at special times. . . [She] was quite unusual in bearing and demeanor, and in her manner of talking. She spoke in a very low and even tone, and everything she said seemed to come up from depths. She was completely lacking in social front.” (Frank Barron, 1968)

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (1) Dear Friends: In response to Anna Fritz’s article in support of in-person worship, I can only say, “That Friend speaks my mind.” I stopped sitting in front of a screen for meeting for worship when I discovered I could no longer be “present” there, nor pretend that I was. If virtual meeting for worship continues for much longer, I will invite two-to-three F(f)riends to worship in person in my home instead, in the spirit of Matthew 18:20, “When two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (4) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Nurturing Integrity on Colonized Land My grandfather descended from a family of farmers – homesteaders, given cheap land after the government committed genocide to clear it for white families like mine. When my grandfather married my grandmother, he was welcomed into her family’s business: the lumber mill, turning forests into 2x4s.

On Place (May 2022)

Place of Privilege (abridged) [The following article was abridged from a version published online at:  https://westernfriend.org/place-privilege-unabridged]

On Place (May 2022)

On Place A person can be nice to someone in order to cheat them, but they cannot be kind to them to cheat them; that would not be kind. When Micah taught, “Do justice; love kindness; walk humbly with your God,” the lesson was not to love persons, but to love an attitude towards persons. An attitude that honors the self-respect of every creature and accepts indebtedness to the common good (and hence, indebtedness to the particular creature one is facing) – this is kindness. When engaging in acts of healing, kindness is not over-cautious about insult or injury. The hard truth and the surgeon’s scalpel both cut when they are needed. Recovery is hard work, but healing is only possible when corruption is excised. Also, to enter into another’s healing is always an act of reciprocity.

On Place (May 2022)

Widening the Welcome In late February 2020, I was selected to “travel in the ministry” among Friends in Oregon. This was a part of the “Knitting Us Together” project of the Outreach and Visitation Committee of North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). I traveled virtually by Zoom with my elder, Jay Thatcher. We visited Quaker meetings in NPYM and Friends churches in Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF).

On Normality (July 2022)

Soul-Work in Community [This article was abridged from a far more detailed original, available at: https://westernfriend.org/media/soul-work-quaker-complative-reading]

On Normality (July 2022)

That Spark of Connection Back in the days of my Dark Night Journey, I worked hard to define what I meant by “spirit” and “spiritual.” What my reasoning mind came up with was an analogy: Just as our eyes are physical organs of sight, designed or evolved to detect certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, our spirits are as-yet-unidentified organs of relationship. (I hear Isaac Penington raising a Friendly alarm against this rationalistic formulation.)

On Normality (July 2022)

A Sacred Space Dear Editor: I write regarding the article “Place of Privilege” by Ann Clendenin in the May/June 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Normality (July 2022)