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Positively Quaker My smartphone bristles with news every day. I mostly ignore it, knowing the news items trend toward the sensational and quirky, not balanced reporting. But recently, the words “Toxic Positivity” appeared as a headline, and that got me to thinking.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Thanks for History of Gun Laws To the Editor: Wow. Bill Durland’s piece on the Second Amendment and gun control was clear and educational. I must have slept through civics class. I learned a lot about different levels of the law and about the duty of the judicial system to balance the right to individual freedom against the right to be safe and secure. For example, one does not have the right to shout “Fire” in a crowded movie theater. No right is absolute and unlimited, including the right to bear arms. Bill is a gift to us Quakers and the greater society. Thank you, Bill. And thank you, Mary, for publishing it.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Revolutionary Nonviolence Dear Editor: I was delighted to see an article about Lawrence and Viola Scott and their Quaker activities in the “Pages for All Ages” section of the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Science (November 2022)

Olive Rush’s Legacy Dear Friends: Some of you might be interested in further information on the significant Quaker artist, Olive Rush. My article “Olive Rush and Her Legacy” was published in Western Friend in the March/April, 2020 issue. The Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is still wrestling with the issues of preserving her legacy. However, the decision on the future of the Olive Rush Studio and its collection seems relevant to a broader Quaker community and not just one small meeting. In March 2022, I presented a slide lecture on Olive Rush’s mural paintings for the National New Deal Preservation Association of New Mexico. A copy of that presentation, “Olive Rush’s Paintings on the Walls of New Mexico,” is posted online. You can view it at: tinyurl.com/OliveRushPresentation

On Science (November 2022)

Palestine, October 2022 As we have done before, my wife Janet and I traveled recently in Palestine. We joined a two-week journey in October with the British organization Quaker Voluntary Action. [pullquote]We visited Tel Aviv, Jifna (a small village near Ramallah in the West Bank), and Jerusalem.[/pullquote] As a group of eleven, we visited a settlement, harvested olives, roamed the Old City in Jerusalem, visited Ramallah Friends School, shared meeting for worship twice at Ramallah Friends Meeting, and – in worship and conversation – faced the predicament of this “much too promised land,” as Aaron David Miller has described it.

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)

The “Why” of What We Do I had an occasion recently to hear some young Friends talk about ministry services they are performing on behalf of Quakers. I have nothing but heartfelt compliments for their generous spirits and their hard work in pursuit of making the world a more humane, just, and merciful place. In light of the significant proportion of their cohort who are NOT volunteering in such efforts, I feel special appreciation that these young people are rising well above what seems to be the present norm of disengagement. For their good and faithful work, I am grateful.

On Loss (May 2023)