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Ego, Imagination, Condition, and Light

Friends use the word Light a lot.  They use it as a metaphor to point towards an experience.  But Friends use this basic expression so casually that I fear it has become conventional and trivial. We don’t much think about what the Light (as experience) means or where it comes from or why we need it. Nor are we aware of how we got into the dark in the first place. Like many metaphors, Light is better understood when it is placed in a context. My experience is that ego, imagination, and condition are factors that provide a helpful context for considering the Light.

On Pride (July 2014)

Who is this “We”?

Dear Editor: Robert Griswold’s article in the July/August 2014 issue of Western Friend discusses ego development without any references and starts off all about “we.” Since he is not referring to any research or current psychological literature, I assume he is sharing his opinion of how ego development worked in his own life.

On Family (September 2014)

The Gathered Meeting

I began my spiritual journey toward “the gathered meeting” when my wife and I visited her youngest son in Durham, North Carolina, in January, 2018. While there, we attended Durham Friends Meeting one Sunday when maybe a hundred adults and thirty-five children were present. The meeting felt settled and centered. Early in the hour, someone offered a message about how important it is for Friends to follow the Light and be gathered, and about how important it is for Friends to take those two practices out into the world. The message was matter-of-fact, stated in words that were simple and direct. Several more messages followed, all of them tagging along with the first. I could feel that people trusted one another. I could feel that something huge was happening.

On Relevance (March 2021)

On the Brink of Everything (review)

Quaker teacher, author and activist Parker Palmer claims this book is his tenth and last.

On Tech (July 2024)

A New Intimacy

I have always longed to be part of a community. But it has become clear to me lately that “belonging” depends on being accountable. I do not mean this in a quid pro quo sense, like an accountant balancing the books. I mean this in the sense of family members being accountable to each other, where they care for each other, and they all contribute as much as they are able. In the intimacy of a family, each member accepts a sense of vulnerability to the others. They put their trust in each other. They know that each person’s conduct reflects on the family as a whole. They know that they owe the family the consideration of behaving in ways that reflect well on it. The family has a right to expect the members to account for their behavior. By being accountable in an intimate setting, people strengthen the bonds of love among them.

On Beginning (March 2016)

On Media

Immersed in stories as humans are – print, radio, television, internet, social media, interactive gaming, virtual reality – we can easily lose sight of truth. Especially when a story fills our imagination with images we dearly want to believe in, we can feel reluctant to break the story’s spell.

On Media (September 2016)