Western Friend logo


Prisoners Transforming Prisons Something truly historic has been happening in California regarding solitary confinement. Prisoners and their family members are leading the movement against it, dramatically reducing the number of people held in isolation.

On Captivity (January 2018)

On Balance In the “capstone talk” of the American Friends Service Committee’s Centennial Summit last month, former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias framed his remarks with reference to an episode described by Henry Cadbury in his Nobel Lecture of 1947. In that lecture, Cadbury recounts, “In 1665, some English Quaker carpenters were building wooden ships on the Thames. They thought they were pacifists and had renounced war, and when there was danger of invasion by a Dutch fleet, these carpenters were required to carry arms. Naturally, they refused to do so, but it never occurred to them that what they were building were warships. It comes slowly, this discovery.”

On Balance (May 2017)

Delights and Downfalls with Words I admit it, I’m a word nerd. I grew up with Scrabble and Boggle, then progressed to New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles. At one point, I even wrote my own twelve-page dictionary of invented, adapted, and deliberately mangled words and meanings.

On Words (November 2021)

Setting Limits on Fossil Fuels In 2012, Bill McKibben began his “Do the Math” tour in Seattle. This was a talk that McKibben took on the road to spread the idea that humans are trying to extract more fossil fuels than we can safely burn – that is, more than we can burn while staying within a safe temperature on the planet. In other words, our burning of fossil fuels is creating greenhouse gasses in quantities that exceed the limits that we can live with.

On Limits (May 2016)