The best college class I ever took was called “Design” and was offered by the Art Department at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1967. There were two sections. One section had a textbook, and studied things like color theory and perspective. By some lucky chance I ended up in the other section, taught by Dr. Stannard, a gifted artist and potter of worldwide renown.
Earlier this year, I attended a program at Ben Lomond Quaker Center on “Quaker Revival,” led by Paul Buckley. Paul is a Quaker historian and theologian who lives in Cincinnati and is affiliated with Ohio Yearly Meeting. He translated William Penn’s Primitive Christianity Revived into modern English in 2018.
Presence is something I cannot fully describe or understand, informing my life and experience even though it is beyond words. It is a grounding, a solace, a push and shove, a challenge to the status quo. My call to dwell in Presence makes me one of the “peculiar people” and may set me apart even from others who call themselves Quaker.
Dear Friends: Each one of us has been evicted from the nice, cozy home of our mother’s womb. Howling at the shock of it, we plunged naked into the winds of change. A newborn who isn’t howling is cause for concern; so rightfully, we voiced our complaints, strangers in a strange land.
[The] very raison d’etre of Quakerism lies in the claim that a passionate unorthodoxy is nearer to the truth than a habitual orthodoxy. . . We believe that mere orthodoxy has little value, and that confused, muddled thought of God is better than the repetition of formulas without thought; that it is better to think wrong than not to think at all.
Dear Editor: In appreciation for the May/June theme, “On Limits,” and each writer’s thoughtful response, I offer fresh words penned by Naomi Shihab Nye, a poetic expression of limits. She gives you her permission to publish this poem.
– Judith Favor, Claremont Meeting (PYM)