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Tension of Money and Faith An interview with Jeff Perkins

On Balance (May 2017)

On Money One of my sisters keeps horses. She has noticed that if she shows up to feed them later than usual, they seem especially happy to see her. The pathos of this scenario is all the more striking because, in general, we take such scenarios for granted. With carrots and sticks and clever deceptions, we humans purchase the loyalty of our fellow creatures on a daily basis, including each other.

On Money (November 2015)

Steel to Flint “For the last time, I am ordering you to depart the grounds of Griffiss Air Force Base or you will be subject to arrest.” On a crisp spring morning in 1984, I came to realize – in a hands-on, hand-cuffed kind of way – that I was not just a participant in conflict; I was also its student. The tension in the air that day was as taut and clear as the bright blue line demarcating the base. I had just crossed that line, along with my nonviolent comrades, and I realized I had things to learn.

On Conflict (January 2023)

Resisting the Temptation to Polarize I want to start with a story of a “popcorn meeting.” This is a type of Meeting for Worship that most Friends dread – full of distractions and superficial messages – including messages that are purely political, purely personal, or even incomprehensible – messages that actually seem to block us from finding a deeper Unity together.

On Temptation (November 2014)

Next Year in Bunnytown A couple years ago, I took my white family to see the Langston Hughes production Black Nativity in a small church in a historically Black neighborhood in Portland. The pews were packed, and the performance space overflowed into the audience. We were specifically invited to sing and stand and move as we felt led. When, in the telling of Jesus’ birth, the lovingly wrapped black plastic baby doll was carried down the aisle, my four- and six-year-old kids whispered to me in awe “Hey, we know that guy!”

On Vision (January 2021)

What’s Hell Got to Do with It? There are those who think that without the threat of Hell, no one would be good. The consequence of bad behavior is going to Hell, and being roasted in damnation for all eternity. So don’t do it. Do what?, you may ask. There is no shortage of recommendations: Don’t do that which is proscribed in the Bible. Don’t hurt others. Don’t kill, don’t take that which is not freely given, don’t engage in illicit sex, don’t tell lies, don’t speak divisively, don’t speak abusively,  do abandon greed, and ill-will. . . The list goes on.

On Temptation (November 2014)

Nurturing Ministry in Our Meetings - Excerpts Excerpts from the keynote presentation to Intermountain Yearly Meeting; June 9, 2016; Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú, New Mexico

On Media (September 2016)

The Wrong Kind of Silence We simply can’t always speak out. But there are critical times within Friends’ communities when failing to speak truth can cause great damage. Trying not to offend, trying to maintain a surface calm, can cause a disastrous loss of trust and can betray our commitment to answering the Light in everyone. Often it enables cruel behavior to continue. When problems remain unnamed, it can threaten our ability to address them. This kind of silence can undermine integrity, cause profound personal hurt, and splinter community. Much is lost when we fail to say what we think and when we fail to help each other speak up when serious interpersonal issues develop. Therefore I want to name self-silencing of truth as a significant threat to the ability of Friends to live our testimonies and a threat to the Religious Society of Friends.

On Deception (November 2013)