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Toward Unity with Evangelicals Dear Friends: So there I was in the fellowship hall of the Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Orange County, California. My role was that of the official observer from Pacific Yearly Meeting. This was my fifth year attending the annual conference of the Evangelical Friends Church Southwest and I saw some encouraging changes. When I attended my first session in 2006, these fellow Quakers struck me as more evangelical than Friends. This time (January, 2015), I felt that I was among Friends. That feeling began with hearing some Quakerly statements about the need to be diligent about listening to God’s voice, and “Jesus is Right Here, Right Now!”

On Needs (May 2015)

The Media of Ministry A familiar scene: Bright morning sunlight streams in through the glass of paint-chipped windows of a Friends’ meetinghouse, a simple room filled with wooden benches and quiet people. Someone rises to speak, trembling under the weight of God’s message, embodying our long-standing nickname, “Quaker.” Then the speaker’s words set off a wave of smirking and eye-rolling: “I read in the New York Times this morning . . .” And we wonder, did this Friend really receive a message from the Inner Light about the opinion pages? Are they maybe a bit too fond of their own voice? A bit too fixated on their favorite world issue?

On Media (September 2016)

Phoenix Meeting on Abortion Dear Friends: On Sunday, December 4, 2022, at our regular Meeting for Worship for Business, Phoenix Monthly Meeting approved a minute on abortion.

On Conflict (January 2023)

Listening to the Silence I heard a message in our meeting once about learning to listen to the silence. I could not make any sense of it. I left it alone.

On Tricks (May 2021)

Do Quakers Mean Business? Recently a Methodist church invited me to a book study. They had been reading books on ethically based business, including Deborah Cadbury’s Chocolate Wars, and had grown wildly curious about these peculiar Quakers and their century and a half of confectionary success. The group leader tabulated a list of famous Quaker business leaders – not only in cocoa, but also in ironwork, railways, footwear, chinaware, household goods, pharmaceuticals, and banking. Why, she asked, was the list so long? Why were there so many Friendly industrial innovators? Why so many business names they now recognized as Quaker – from Cadbury chocolates to Barclays bank to Clarks shoes? What was it about this relatively small, seemingly austere, and ethically demanding faith that drove such a disproportionate share of business enterprise?

On Production (May 2014)

Compassionate Listening in Alabama Last October, with the help of Friends, friends, and the community college where I teach, Tim Reed and I took the “Compassionate Listening Journey to Alabama.” This is a fantastic trip conducted by the Compassionate Listening Project, a legacy of Quaker peacemaker Gene Knudsen Hoffman, designed to cultivating compassion for ourselves and others. [pullquote]The Project has organized similar journeys to Israel and Palestine for many years. This was their second journey to Alabama.[/pullquote]

On Conflict (January 2023)