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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)

Widening the Welcome In late February 2020, I was selected to “travel in the ministry” among Friends in Oregon. This was a part of the “Knitting Us Together” project of the Outreach and Visitation Committee of North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM). I traveled virtually by Zoom with my elder, Jay Thatcher. We visited Quaker meetings in NPYM and Friends churches in Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF).

On Normality (July 2022)

That Spark of Connection Back in the days of my Dark Night Journey, I worked hard to define what I meant by “spirit” and “spiritual.” What my reasoning mind came up with was an analogy: Just as our eyes are physical organs of sight, designed or evolved to detect certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, our spirits are as-yet-unidentified organs of relationship. (I hear Isaac Penington raising a Friendly alarm against this rationalistic formulation.)

On Normality (July 2022)

A Guide to Faithfulness Groups (review) I notice a steady growth of intentional spiritual practice among independent Friends. In the past two decades, programs such as “Way of the Spirit” and “Experiment with Light” have been established and started to thrive. More independent Friends are venturing into chaplaincy or other ministries that were once considered unsuitable for unprogrammed Quakers. Guidance for daily devotional practice and prayer is now offered in recent editions of our books of discipline. I’ve found my spiritual life benefitting from some of this shift in culture that’s developed in our local meeting and around our yearly meeting.

On Normality (July 2022)

William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” (review) I’d be interested in this book even if I weren’t a Quaker.

On Normality (July 2022)

Mountain Time Edifice of rock and ice born of molten silicates       thrust from below the earth’s rocky skin, built of clouds of rock ash and rivers of liquid stone, patiently etched by streams of ice fed by winter storms.

On Science (November 2022)

Revolutionary Nonviolence Dear Editor: I was delighted to see an article about Lawrence and Viola Scott and their Quaker activities in the “Pages for All Ages” section of the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend.

On Science (November 2022)

Olive Rush’s Legacy Dear Friends: Some of you might be interested in further information on the significant Quaker artist, Olive Rush. My article “Olive Rush and Her Legacy” was published in Western Friend in the March/April, 2020 issue. The Santa Fe Monthly Meeting is still wrestling with the issues of preserving her legacy. However, the decision on the future of the Olive Rush Studio and its collection seems relevant to a broader Quaker community and not just one small meeting. In March 2022, I presented a slide lecture on Olive Rush’s mural paintings for the National New Deal Preservation Association of New Mexico. A copy of that presentation, “Olive Rush’s Paintings on the Walls of New Mexico,” is posted online. You can view it at: tinyurl.com/OliveRushPresentation

On Science (November 2022)

Toward a Life-Centered Economy (review) Inspired – simply put, this is the feeling I’m left with after reading Toward a Life-Centered Economy. This volume is the twelfth “focus book” from The Quaker Institute for the Future, a spirit-lead research organization working to “envision a global future in which humanity is in right relationship with the commonwealth of life.” The book explores the mindset of unlimited growth, which drives our current global economic system, along with the impending repercussions of that mindset on our global ecosystem. Further, this book spells out the inability of our ecosystem to support our current intense patterns of human consumption, and it offers advice about what we can do to change humanity’s impact.

On Science (November 2022)