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Silence as a Bully Pulpit Dear Editor: I wanted to thank you for undertaking a group discussion by videoconference. I listened to the entire hour. One type of “bullying” that did not come up is the personal use of the silence as a bully pulpit (I call it “Quaker open Mic”). I have participated in a number of meetings in different parts of the West. A weighty Friend in one meeting produced a sermonette each First Day. An individual in another meeting usurped extensive periods of the silence with his personal opinions and attitudes on current topics. People new to meeting groups tend to follow the example of older members or attenders. I think this is one of the more troublesome features of unstructured silence.

On Balance (May 2017)

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)