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Quakerism: The Basics (review) Two of our Western Friends, Marge and Carl Abbott, long-time members of Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon, have teamed up to offer a book providing a clear, simple, and accessible overview of the Society of Friends. While the book serves as an introduction for newcomers, it also offers to all of us, new or old, an excellent review of our faith and history.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Art of Life (review) Alivia Biko’s music is important in its own right  and it’s beautiful. Beyond that, her music is important as ministry. I predict that down the road, in the bright shiny future, people will look back and talk about our generation of Christ-centered Friends in the Pacific Northwest and about the creation of our new yearly meeting, Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF). Biko’s outsized contribution to the creation of SCYMF will play a big part in those discussions. Articles, chapters, whole books will be written on Mike Huber and Gar Mikkelsen, Holiness and Quaker identity, medical missions and quilting missions, and, of course, LGBTQ+ participation. There will be some good, nerdy side-trips into “Quakers” versus “Friends” and “churches” versus “meetings,” and with great good luck, a special photo section with at least one shot of Peggy Morrison on her Kawasaki. Especially, people will read about Alivia Biko and listen to her album Art of Life, filled with artistry, warmth, and celebration of community and spirit.

On Freedom (January 2022)

On Alternatives Many of the words I have said, I wish I could unsay. Many of the actions I have taken, I wish I could undo. If wishes were horses, then I would ride into the past to fix the many blunders and cruelties that lie on my conscience. Instead, I walk forward and try to do better.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

A Search for an Honorable Bank About a year ago, Multnomah Monthly Meeting in Portland, Oregon, asked all of its committees to examine how their work might be upholding or breaking down structural racism. For our Finance Committee, one aspect that was specifically raised and addressed was the choice of a better banking partner.  Over the summer of 2021, we researched banking alternatives with the hope of finding a partner more aligned with our Quaker values, as well as working to advance racial justice.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Now or Never We must stay on our mission of being witnesses of Earthcare. Will everyone restore rare rainforest in Hawaii? No. Some will restore their aina (sacred land) by planting a small urban garden or one tree in their small yard. Some may sing songs for a local nonprofit forest refuge to raise donations and awareness. Some will talk it up on Facebook and have a window garden. “Kokua” (ko kew ah) in Hawaiian means to share and care, to take responsibility enough to take action that shows care. Easy to say, maybe not so easy to do.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Alternative Realities I met Rachel Heisham Bieri in Missoula, Montana, four months after she had been given a terminal cancer diagnosis. She was forty-five then, only fifteen years older than I was, though she was already a grandmother. Doctors had given her two months to live.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Creating out of Silence and Light In the late 1960s, a researcher named Frank Barron explored the relationship of religion and creativity and whether being religious and/or spiritual had an effect on the artist. He interviewed Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and a Hindu, as well as a number of others. The interviews were quite straightforward until he talked about the Quaker artist. His writing about this artist took a different turn. It was as if he was stopped in his tracks and felt a different tone in this interview. Reading the interview was like reading a hush or silence or something that was going deeper in its connections. He says, “She spoke of the Quaker silences. She thinks everyone should be silent at special times. . . [She] was quite unusual in bearing and demeanor, and in her manner of talking. She spoke in a very low and even tone, and everything she said seemed to come up from depths. She was completely lacking in social front.” (Frank Barron, 1968)

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Let Our Lives Speak Within the circumstances of our lives, the Light meets us. As we recognize the Light’s presence in the events of our lives, we see the lived testimony of the Light in our experience.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Hybrid and/or Embodied Worship (2) As meetings consider how to reimagine worship, Friends have written movingly about the value of traditional in-person Quaker worship. As I consider these heartfelt thoughts, a song comes to mind from my Methodist days: “This Is My Father’s World.”

On Alternatives (March 2022)