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Quakers and Conflict In your Quaker meeting, you may have experienced events similar to these: a Friend doesn’t want to be on a committee with another Friend due to a past conflict; two Friends complain about a third party, whom they find to be impossible (yes, it does happen); a Friend speaks up in business meeting about a conflict that is going on, and no one responds or takes any follow-up action.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Race and Quakerism The first time I was confronted with my identity as a “Brown Woman” was my first trip to North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). I had never experienced such a direct external approach to my skin color before. My family celebrated my adoption day as a family holiday. We went back to India to see my heritage history, and I was raised with some Indian cultural education, but my racial background wasn’t ever the first characteristic that came to mind when examining my personal identity. The welcome I received because of my brown skin from the Quakers was both amazingly compassionate and entirely unsettling. At that time, I had only just begun to explore this part of my identity. As an extension of this experience, I began to pay more attention to race relations within the Quaker community, and the struggles of different races around the U.S.

On Expansion (May 2018)

Undocumented and Unafraid Currently immigrant youth are characterized as either angels or demons: angels who are valedictorians and student body presidents or criminals who are gang members, coyotes, or drug runners.

On Superiority (July 2013)

Nayler and Fox Dear Editor: It was good to see your piece on James Nayler in “Pages for All Ages.” Friends today do not always recognize that in the first years of the Quaker movement, Nayler was as important a preacher and as central to the movement as George Fox himself, certainly in the eyes of many London Friends.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Religion and Politics Because this year is an important election year, we have revisited our faith traditions regarding the right relation of religion and politics. We have undertaken this process as a means to inform and guide our own practice; but we also wish to share our understandings with the public at large, with the hope that they may bring clarity to a dimension of political life that has vexed and confused many citizens in recent years.

On Limits (May 2016)

Gossip, Friends, and friends “To put it in the language of Friends, community happens as that of God in you responds to that of God in me.” 

On Separation (November 2019)

Faith and Sewage Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi (translated into English in 1993) has been my theme book for years. While it was written with toilet trainees and their eager caregivers in mind, I have other reasons to display the book prominently in my office. I work for a program in our local health department, the program that monitors water quality in streams, lakes, and groundwater, the program responsible for ensuring that the septic systems in our county are adequately treating the sewage that flows through them. That’s where “everyone poops” comes in.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Presence and Place When I tell people I was on Mount St. Helens on May 17, 1980, the day before the massive eruption that left fifty-seven dead, the first question they ask is, “Why?”

On Place (May 2022)

Disclosures and Wonder Recently, I joined a new group on social media and was asked to introduce myself, to say a bit about where I was from, and to share a little-known fact about myself. Immediately, I started sorting through personal details. Should I pick something big – share about my family, say, or my work? Or open with something small – my favorite ice cream flavor?

On Secrets (July 2020)

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)