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Reckoning – Quakers and Indian Boarding Schools Schools don’t have graveyards. At least, that is what many believed until some gruesome recent discoveries.

On Place (May 2022)

A Spiritual Home I have noticed that more young adults have been coming to our meetings for worship since we reopened our meetinghouse after COVID. Perhaps the pandemic gave them time to reflect. Young adulthood is naturally a time of choosing the values one will live by. I think the young people who visit our meeting are looking for ways to practice their values with other people.

On Place (May 2022)

Place of Privilege (abridged) [The following article was abridged from a version published online at:  https://westernfriend.org/place-privilege-unabridged]

On Place (May 2022)

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)

Compassionate Listening Alabama Dear Friends: Tim and I will join the Compassionate Listening Alabama Journey in October, if the program gets enough people to sign up by August.

On Place (May 2022)

The Meaning of Membership Dear Friends: I’m sad that so many people – including so many “recorded Friends” – misunderstand what “membership” in a meeting means.

On Place (May 2022)

In Pursuit of Reconciliation Dear Friends: In “Alternatives to Prison” (Western Friend, March/April 2022), Susan Cozzens suggests that “Quakers by and large want to live in that Light and Love that takes away the occasion of all prisons.” Taking away “the occasion of all prisons” would seem to be a prerequisite for their abolition.

On Place (May 2022)

On Place A person can be nice to someone in order to cheat them, but they cannot be kind to them to cheat them; that would not be kind. When Micah taught, “Do justice; love kindness; walk humbly with your God,” the lesson was not to love persons, but to love an attitude towards persons. An attitude that honors the self-respect of every creature and accepts indebtedness to the common good (and hence, indebtedness to the particular creature one is facing) – this is kindness. When engaging in acts of healing, kindness is not over-cautious about insult or injury. The hard truth and the surgeon’s scalpel both cut when they are needed. Recovery is hard work, but healing is only possible when corruption is excised. Also, to enter into another’s healing is always an act of reciprocity.

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)