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The Devil is Down in the Dumps Dear Editor: Elizabeth Boardman’s piece in the March/April issue has given me great joy. Her article, “The Fancy Sunday Hat,” takes me back to my own childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. At age four or five, I learned a song in our Methodist Church Sunday School that has served me well through almost nine decades.

On Wealth (May 2020)

The Face Under The Face When I first went to the Soviet Union in 1984, I expected to meet a hospitable people, if not outgoing. The first thing I learned was that Russians never smile. They look grim. They stare. The women especially would often stare at me and then turn away abruptly. In U.S. culture, this could be interpreted as distancing, judgmental, even hostile. It was definitely uncomfortable.

On Secrets (July 2020)

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)

No Map to Sustainability (2) Dear Editor: Friend Bob Langfelder is correct that my article is not a roadmap to get a whole society off fossil fuels. It was not meant to be. No map is necessary before a journey is undertaken. My purpose was to encourage Friends to undertake the journey.

On Secrets (July 2020)

No Map to Sustainability (1) Dear Editor: The article by William Ashworth of Ashland, OR, in the May/June 2020 Western Friend is a perfect example of righteous, individual fossil fuel purity that judges the rest of us gas users as sinners. No analysis on how we transition to get whole society off fossil fuels. No accounting for all the fossil fuels that went into making his Chevy Bolt EV.

On Secrets (July 2020)

Growth Versus Preservation Dear Editor: Thank you to Bettina Raphael and Western Friend for the worthy tribute to the life and legacy of Olive Rush (March/April 2020).

On Secrets (July 2020)

2050 Predictions (2) My article certainly was an experiment in speculative fiction. I think that trying to create a strong, inspiring vision is one of the most important first steps in making change. Many of our movements have failed because we assumed that general support from most of the populous was enough to make big policy changes, when in fact, it’s usually a small, very dedicated, creative, and strategic group of single-minded folks that make change. I’m motivated by Sunrise Movement and how they are learning from and teaching lessons from the past, while also carrying forward their unique perspectives as young people who literally have no choice but to “Fight for our Lives.”  ~~~

On Teachers (September 2020)

Epistle of the Friends of Color Retreat 2020 To Friends Everywhere: We begin by remembering our ancestors who were strong enough to make a way for us. Friends of Color and their families met for Pre-Gathering Retreat on 26 Day through 28 Day Sixth Month 2020. This is the eighth year Friends of Color have met for our Pre- Gathering Retreat.  First-timers felt welcomed and validated.   This year, we met virtually with our largest attendance yet. There were 47 attendees, ranging in age from 11 months through 77 years from Canada, Mexico, Switzerland and the United States of America.

On Teachers (September 2020)

Daily Justice and Injustice As part of her Senior Project last spring, my granddaughter Bailey asked me to tell her my reasons for working on behalf of immigrants, migrants, and refugees. My reasons are probably similar to those of many other Friends.

On Teachers (September 2020)

On Teachers More than once, I have been humbled by being called racist. My first reaction, however, was not humility. My first reaction was to feel offended and misunderstood. Surely my accuser didn’t know me or my motives or my history. Surely, they were using the term “racist” too broadly – sloppy, really. A more precise definition would be more strategic for The Struggle (You’re welcome!), and would provide the added benefit of keeping me on the right side of history.

On Teachers (September 2020)