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A Month of Sundays (review)

It’s been over a decade since Derek Lamson’s last CD, which makes his new release, A Month of Sundays, all the more welcome.

On Seeds (November 2023)

Art of Life (review) Alivia Biko’s music is important in its own right  and it’s beautiful. Beyond that, her music is important as ministry. I predict that down the road, in the bright shiny future, people will look back and talk about our generation of Christ-centered Friends in the Pacific Northwest and about the creation of our new yearly meeting, Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends (SCYMF). Biko’s outsized contribution to the creation of SCYMF will play a big part in those discussions. Articles, chapters, whole books will be written on Mike Huber and Gar Mikkelsen, Holiness and Quaker identity, medical missions and quilting missions, and, of course, LGBTQ+ participation. There will be some good, nerdy side-trips into “Quakers” versus “Friends” and “churches” versus “meetings,” and with great good luck, a special photo section with at least one shot of Peggy Morrison on her Kawasaki. Especially, people will read about Alivia Biko and listen to her album Art of Life, filled with artistry, warmth, and celebration of community and spirit.

On Freedom (January 2022)

Stuck in Punxsutawney, Again Whether they are cheerfully sort-of-deist or in-fact, stone-cold, out-and-out Jesus Freaks, Quakers of a certain generation, across the spectrum, agree that the movie Groundhog Day is scripture. Today, with all of us living Groundhog Day all the time during COVID, Friends are advised to share this scripture with newcomers. “Here,” you want to say, “Just watch this on Amazon Prime about three times and see if it doesn’t go all meta on you.” The meta part, of course, is where it turns out we’re all Phil Connors, the protagonist of the movie, who is stuck in an endlessly repeating day and an endlessly repeating script.

On Rules (November 2020)

Evangelism “Evangelical” is now officially a dirty word with progressive people of faith. This story has been decades in the making and is now accepted fact: The Evangelical wing of modern American Christianity is all about White Nationalism. I am here to tell you: It ain’t necessarily so, even though it sure looks that way.

On Alternatives (March 2022)

Two Crows I’d stopped in the back parking lot to adjust a bike clip and noticed two crows noticing the guy in the apron coming out the back door to dump the garbage. “Lookit that,” the one crow says to his mate, “Opposable thumbs! That is so cool.” His partner picked up a cigarette butt, looked at it, dropped it. “Dude,” she said, “I’ve got opposable thumbs; you’ve got opposable thumbs; what’s the frickin’ big deal?” The other crow looked at her. “Yeh, I got opposable thumbs . . . on my feet!” A half a hamburger slid off the pile, and they both eyed it coolly. Another piece fell.  The first crow went on, [pullquote]“I’ll tell ya what I saw them do this morning that really knocked me out, right there in that intersection.”[/pullquote] They continued their conversation while strolling over to the hamburger.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

Being Quaker . . . Where You Are (review) Reading Sakre Edson’s collection of interviews is an experience akin to sitting in worship-sharing with Friends whom you almost think you know already, each contemplating the query, “What kind of Quaker am I?”

On Garbage (November 2017)

Surrendering into Silence (review) In this small book (55 pages) of informative essays, David Johnson begins by defining what he means by Quaker prayer. He says it is a contemplative practice of surrendering into silence, seeking the presence of God, or the Light, which is hidden within our beings. The author further describes Friends’ worship tradition as a practice where life and religion are not based on accepted belief or ritual, but on firsthand knowledge of God’s presence. The main focus of the book is how one finds access to that sacred inner knowledge.

On Words (November 2021)