Western Friend logo


The Essential Elias Hicks Many books use the title, “The Essential So-and-So,” and here’s another. This book depicts a Quaker who proved himself essential. However, reading Elias Hicks is not “more essential” than reading, say, Fox, Penn, Mott, Dyer, or Woolman. So at the beginning of this review, I would like to suggest that Inner Light Books and Charles Martin, Publisher, consider producing more of the same, more books of this caliber that are “Essential.”

On Limits (May 2016)

Essential Teachings Dear Editor: I would like to comment on the book review of The Essential Elias Hicks (May/June 2016). The reviewer has misunderstood the title as indicating that Elias Hicks was himself essential. Rather, the title indicates that the book demonstrates the essence of what Hicks believed and preached. It’s the essence of Hicks, not the opinion that Hicks was essential. Friend Paul Buckley designed his book to reveal the essence of Hicks’ ministry.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Essential Listening It is often said that music is a language; some say it is the universal language. As with any language, the spaces are essential. Without spaces on the printed page or pauses in speaking, we couldn’t understand what is being said. Likewise, silence is the canvas we paint our music upon.

On Music (March 2018)

Beautiful Article about Minding the Earth Dear Editor: “A New Story for Earth” by Mary Ann Percy, in the November/December issue, is one of the best articles that I have ever read. I happened to read it right after our meeting held our second-hour discussion one First Day, concerning what each of us can do to be more mindful of the earth (and promised to try). I think we might discuss this article in another second hour soon. It ties a lot of big questions and big concepts together really well, and it is beautifully written.

On Mediation (January 2020)

Surmounting Limits in Quakerism When I asked Mary Klein if she would publish an article about the 2016 meeting of Friends World Committee on Consultation, she suggested that I write one for the issue on “Limits.” My initial response was: “Is she kidding?” I was grateful for her offer, but something in me bristles at the word “limits.”

On Limits (May 2016)

On Knowing Last January, police in South Carolina released a sketch of a possible murder suspect, drawn by artificial intelligence, based on information from DNA found at the crime scene. No eyewitnesses and no cameras had observed the murderer’s face, yet the computer produced an approximation of it, and the authorities believe it might help them solve the crime. (Pollack, NYT, 2/24/2015)

On Knowing (March 2015)

Thoughts from a Loving Gadfly In January this year, I submitted an article to Western Friend about Friends and the “Beloved Community,” and I received the best rejection letter ever. The editor told me she tends to publish good news about Friends on the website, but wants the magazine to contain articles that “dig deeper into the quandaries, conflicts, values, etc., that underlie all the good work.” This seems like an editorial policy that will keep the magazine interesting and relevant.

On Tricks (May 2021)