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Simple Foods Dear Editor: I appreciate Jane Snyder’s article about simplicity (“Rich People Won’t Eat It,” May/June 2016), and I’m sure living in Portlandia would make anyone suspicious of foodies.  However, I don’t think she is very knowledgeable about the health effects.  Gluten intolerance is a very serious health issue for many people who do not have celiac disease.  And there are people who are lactose intolerant.  If you’re looking to meet the needs of a diverse group, you don’t have to buy gluten-free bread or dairy substitutes.  These tend to be overly processed foods, which is the big problem with our corporate-sponsored food supply.  Plant-based meals such as lentil soup, pea soup, salad with oil and vinegar dressing, potatoes and rice are all options for a meal that feeds a large group while also being healthy and meeting most dietary limitations.  You can put cheeses or other dressings on the side for those who want them.  Buying organic and local may be a little more expensive but has some environmental value.  Just because poor people don’t have as many options and are lured by cheap processed foods (or as Michael Pollan calls them, “edible food-like substances”) doesn’t make it a better diet.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Simple Foods, More on Dear Editor: I write in response to “Rich People Won’t Eat It” by Jane Snyder. Modern Quakers in the communities I am familiar with (PYM and Australia YM) have a wide range of dietary needs and preferences – probably much wider than the general population. I posit that, far from joining modern fads, Quakers are actually ahead of the wider society in tuning into our bodies. We are (or were, and hopefully are returning to be) a somatic religion, which means we tune in to our bodies. Food intolerance can arise not just from medical issues, such as being celiac, but also as a result of trauma and environmental sensitivities, which highlight the plight of our earth. Others make careful choices on what they eat from deeply held ethical positions.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Slow, Simple, Not Easy Parenting summons the best in a person; it also sometimes triggers, well . . . less than the best. When I brought together my Quaker faith with my aspirations for parenting, I found “a way” to be a parent, especially as my children became teenagers. With my friend Marti Woodward, I coauthored a book, Slow Parenting Teens [reviewed on page 10], and I now conduct trainings on this approach.

On Family (September 2014)

A Simple Quaker Business The rain has swept in from the Pacific, drenching bike-crazy Portland’s inner eastside industrial district. A rainbow arches over the airy Islabikes warehouse, where twenty-six-year-old Tim Goodall assembles and sells children’s bikes. It’s the British company’s only outlet in the United States.

On Production (May 2014)

Simple Acts, Basic Needs I recently realized some of my small everyday acts both meet my own needs, and give testimony to the Quaker value of simplicity.  Here are two examples:

On Needs (May 2015)

John Woolman, Pure and Simple Some words and phrases to know before you read

On Needs (May 2015)

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)

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)