Integrity

Quaker Culture: Right Action

For Friends the most important consideration is not the right action in itself but a right inward state out of which right action will arise. Given the right inward state right action is inevitable. Inward state and outward action are component parts of a single whole.

Howard Brinton, 1943.

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Dangerous Tipping Point

Dear Editor: I just finished reading the latest issue of Western Friend [Nov/Dec 2015]. The subject of Quakers and economics is something I have thought about a great deal. I often think, “Well, you don’t get bonus points for good intentions and bad outcomes.” The Quakers, at least in the past, were better than others at linking good intentions to good outcomes.

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Money, that Tainted Thing

As Friends and as a people of faith, we walk a narrow tightrope between using wealth as a means to bring light and life into the world and allowing it to become a snare. The snare can draw us into a prison of world and wealth centeredness, or can trap us into such self-imposed poverty that we rely on the wealth of others to live.

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Integrity as Discipline

Dear Editor: I was glad to see Richard Grossman address the population crisis in your May/June 2015 issue, both for the sake of this grave topic, and also because he organizes his arguments around the SPICE acronym for describing key Quaker values, or “testimonies:” Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, and Equality (and Grossman adds Stewardship).

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SPICES and Human Population Growth

Friends are not known for large families. However, it is my experience that many members of the Religious Society of Friends are like most people in the USA – we are generally unaware of the connections between what we hold dear and the growing number of people in the world. Human population growth is an “elephant in the room,” which we typically avoid or ignore.

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Talking the Walk of Peace

We know a lot about war talk. We speak of fighting crime, obesity, drugs, and climate change. I am currently “fighting” depression. But if Quakers seek alternatives to violence, we need to develop a practical language for building peace. It’s not enough to “smite the enemies” of the problems in our lives.

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Our Testimony on Alcohol

Dear Editor: Thank you for reminding us of the traditional Quaker testimony on abstinence from alcohol. It is dismaying to see it increasingly forgotten in our meetings. It is one thing to recognize that outlawing alcohol and drugs leads to violent crime and mass incarceration. It is another to conclude that the use of chemical substances is desirable or even benign.

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Self-Respect

Dear Editor: When my “article” called Pride was edited to appear as a “letter,” I felt an essential something was missing. Someone once remarked “You must be very proud of your children.” I responded, “No. For them I feel love, respect, enjoyment, sympathy. Not Pride, which I have long understood as the deadliest sin.”

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