Western Friend logo


We Complete Each Other Dear Editor: Thanks to Friend Searl for helpfully reminding us that there need be no schism between Friends led to inward devotion and Friends led to outward activism (“The Illusion of a Split,” May/June 2016). Quakers like Thomas Kelly have long noted that inwardness and outwardness interdepend like roots and fruits. And, although it is essential to cultivate both inward reflection and outward action in one’s personal life, it as also good to remember that we need not all be alike and need not each be gifted in everything. Not every activist will be gifted as a pastoral companion. Not every contemplative Friend will be gifted as a prophetic witness. We are a community, completing each other, not an army of clones striving to be alike. John Woolman and Anthony Benezet both influenced the anti-slavery movement, yet their gifts and spiritual expressions were very different. One’s Truth was directed more outward, the other more inward. Together, they did more than either alone, and the vocal ministry of both existed within a community full of silent gifts of which we seldom hear. Let’s strive for community (commonunity), not uniformity. Together, we are far more than any one gift.

On Heritage (July 2016)

On Media Immersed in stories as humans are – print, radio, television, internet, social media, interactive gaming, virtual reality – we can easily lose sight of truth. Especially when a story fills our imagination with images we dearly want to believe in, we can feel reluctant to break the story’s spell.

On Media (September 2016)

Quaker Culture: Lifting Each Other Up One Quaker idea that is not main-stream is that we are each to help one another do the best we can. There is no place for one-upsmanship or arrogance. We try to lift each other up and consider how we might help each other thrive and enjoy the Meeting. An often-heard phrase is “Let’s hold each other in the Light.” In Quaker practice this is not translated as “I’ll pray for you to do better,” but it is a request to Spirit to help someone else out, without naming specifically what we think should happen. We are inviting the Spirit to work among us.

On Family (September 2014)

Those Other Quakers The majority of liberal Friends in the West share similar traits: First, very few of us grew up among Quakers; we arrived as adults, often fleeing dogmas or religious paths that we now reject. Second, many of us feel a sense of “homecoming” in Friendly traditions like our Peace Testimony, silent expectant worship, and the general spirit of tolerance in our meetings.

On Difference (July 2015)

On Media

Sep / Oct 2016