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Facing Covid Risk in Community (2) [This letter was abridged from a longer original, which you can find at: https://westernfriend.org/letters-marchapril-2022]

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (5) [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)

A Place to Work for Peace and Justice I am new to this place, Woolman at Sierra Friends Center. I am meeting it as it is now, not as it once was, before the fire. I walk the trails and wander between the buildings, each day learning something new: where and when the deer like to cross Woolman Lane, where gophers’ paths and pipes run underground, where to stand to get cell phone reception.

On Place (May 2022)

On Normality Elizabeth Fry, the “Angel of Prisons,” would pray, “Oh Lord, may I be directed what to do and what to leave undone.” As it turned out, Fry had done quite a lot by the time her life ended in 1845 – prison reform, social reform, education reform, philanthropy – had done so much and so well that her portrait is now on the British £5 note. Fry was aware of her own growing notoriety in her day. She wrote in her journal in 1817, “Newgate Prison and myself are becoming quite a show, which is a very serious thing. I believe that it certainly does much good to the cause [of prison reform] in spreading amongst all ranks of society a considerable interest in the subject, also a knowledge of the Society of Friends and of their principles.”

On Normality (July 2022)

It’s OK to Talk about Quakerism Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about our Quakerism with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. In my (so far unpublished) research on expressing Quaker spirituality in the workplace, I interviewed one person who said that when a co-worker found out he was a Quaker, he was stunned. “I worked next to you for five years and had no idea you were a Quaker.”

On Normality (July 2022)

Gandhi’s Smile So, if you are anything at all like me, you might have to admit that, underneath it all, you are angry – and angry most, if not all, of the time. I know I am. This is not the world I bargained for. This is not the economic system I bargained for, the political system I bargained for, the system of education I bargained for. I never signed up for global racism, for worldwide environmental collapse, for overpowering patriarchal institutions that devalue more than half the world’s population, for a cloud of nuclear war hanging over my head.

On Normality (July 2022)

Deep Hope in Optimystical Times (abridged) For decades, I’ve been talking publicly about the gathering catastrophes of climate change and social injustice, and about the decline of the Society of Friends. Sounds pretty gloomy, I know. My day job as a palliative care chaplain at a large urban hospital entails sitting at the feet of those very powerful teachers named in Buddhist tradition: old age, sickness, and death.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Scientific and Moral Reasoning I am a Quaker and a scientist. To be more precise, I am a Quaker and a computer scientist. Some would dispute whether my field is a true science, but what I do is pretty scientific, with gathering of empirical data and testing of hypotheses.

On Science (November 2022)