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By Law of Grace: A Journey with the People of the Streets, a Personal Experience

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:55
By Heidi Blocher. Apprenticeship to Jesus, 2016. 120 pages. $7 suggested donation/paperback. Free PDF available

Heidi Blocher, a New England Friend who has traveled widely in America and Europe (and the 2010 Richard Cary lecturer at German Yearly Meeting), takes us on a journey few of us would undertake on our own. As I read this book, I recalled those famous words of John Woolman’s, as he thought about why he was on his way to visit the Indians in 1763:

Love was the first motion, and thence a concern arose to spend some time with the Indians, that I might feel and understand their life and the spirit they live in, if haply I might receive some instruction from them, or they might be in any degree helped forward by my following the leadings of truth among them.

The experimental daring of this statement is powerful and challenging to anyone moved by the Spirit to visit someone. By Law of Grace is an account of such an experiment, and in its very different setting mounts its own challenges to the reader. Among many other things, the book is a faithful account of someone growing into a leading, and continuing to grow as she follows it.

The author tells us, “This wish had started in me years before, building slowly: A desire to live among the poor in a neighborly relationship.” She is not moved to “go and help,” but to live among people whose needs, imperatives, and experiences are very different from her own—I would say, accepting what they know about human life, and seeking how God is present among the poor—that she might feel and understand their life and the spirit they live in.

In the winter of 2013–14, Blocher lived in an area of Phoenix, Ariz., occupied by the homeless, the displaced, the aged poor, the mentally ill, and people living through a bad patch in their lives, hoping for better fortune. This little book presents vignettes and meditations from across these months.

Blocher is very aware of the obvious differences in history and circumstance between herself and her neighbors, and that they must be seen or felt through, if an actual accompaniment is to be possible: she is white, of middle-class extraction, highly literate and self-aware, a slight accent marking her European background. She knows the value of community and the transactional values of the white middle class—attention to time, hygiene, personal space, the niceties of exchange and the kinds of mutual respectfulness that are embedded in rituals of greeting, thanking, and so on. But in the living out of her concern, these resources, unavailable to many of her neighbors, become barriers to overcome. The author, no stranger to such encounters, says, “To cope with this intense experience of a ‘world’ new to me, I needed to journal daily . . . [about] observations, encounters and dialogues with the homeless and other street folks.” She writes directly about times of anxiety, confusion, clarity, grace, and spiritual openings. The account feels honest and vivid in the way that these elements and others are jumbled together, as they are in life as it is lived daily.

In this review so far I have spoken about the author’s experience. I suppose that makes it easiest for myself—or you—to put ourselves in the author’s shoes, and thus to make her voice and her experience the main story. But I believe that this betrays an unavoidable bias. Of course the author’s journey and rich meditations upon it are nourishing and educating. For readers like me (and perhaps like you), however, it is all too easy to stay in that point of view, looking at the scene with a “middle-class gaze,” and avoiding the opportunity for closer encounter with the people whom we meet in these pages.

Blocher writes an unadorned but eloquent prose, and she introduces us to many people whom we would otherwise never know: the mysterious and charismatic Fred; the sweet, diminutive, deluded person we only know as “Squirrel Woman”; the destitute, needy souls; hungry, hopeless people whose names we never know; the volunteers and social workers who help these vulnerable people. For them, even well-meaning agencies have only impersonal caring and no true knowledge of the individuals standing before them, or of those excluded from their service, invisible to the safety net.

It is such encounters that give this book its depth and searching value—searching for the author and searching for the reader. As Blocher writes, “I desire that these people and the lives in which they move be seen—ultimately, not as something horrible we should avoid or ‘get rid’ of, but as a part of the population at present, and a condition in which, it turns out, Life moves, Light shines, Grace works.” The book, both comforting and uncomfortable, has served individual readers as a devotional and meetings as material for group learning; it is fitting that its distribution is from hand to hand, or heart to heart.

The post By Law of Grace: A Journey with the People of the Streets, a Personal Experience appeared first on Friends Journal.

Gospel—The Book of Matthew: A New Translation with Commentary—Jesus Spirituality for Everyone

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:50
Translated by Thomas Moore. Skylight Paths Publishing, 2016. 224 pages. $29.99/hardcover; $19.99/paperback; $19.95/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

The other day over lunch, I told a friend that I had been asked to review the Gospel of Matthew. He promptly snorted his soup and started laughing. “What? Are you going to say ‘It’ll never sell’?”

He has a point. Even if I’m really reviewing a new translation of the Gospel of Matthew, there’s 2,000 years of history crowding into the room. What can we say that’s truly fresh and new?

Thomas Moore, former monk, psychotherapist, and author of Care of the Soul, hopes to revive the gospels for an age of spirit (though not religion). Jesus, says Moore, “wanted to raise human awareness and behavior to another level.” His Gospel—The Book of Matthew attempts to transmit this “Jesus spirituality for everyone.”

Let’s just admit right away that a “spirituality for everyone” won’t appeal to everyone. In his commentary, Moore unmoors the Gospel from its historical and religious anchors, recasting Jesus into a timeless “spiritual poet,” God into “the secret ways of the cosmos,” and “The Holy Spirit” into “a holy spirit” (which, by the way, is quite correct as an alternate translation). Specific messianic hopes and apocalyptic fears in Roman-occupied Judea are eclipsed by a universal personal psychology.

For example, for Moore, the apocalyptic day of judgment happens “right now [when] you are judged by your own decisions. No one else is condemning or rewarding you.” Likewise, when Jesus says he has come not to get rid of the law (i.e. the Torah) but to complete it (Matt. 5:17), Moore notes that “the Gospels can help you find deeper meaning in your traditions, whatever they are.”

Moore’s book is two books in one—Gospel translation on right-hand pages, commentary on the left. In the commentary, Gospel passages trigger free associations with anything from Carl Jung to Leonard Cohen. Some footnotes range beyond eclectic to odd. I’m still trying to figure out how Moore relates Jesus’s sensuality to the beheading of John the Baptist.

However, in the Gospel itself, many of Moore’s translation choices illuminate and enliven what has become, for many, a brittle, faded manuscript. Moore replaces time-worn and doctrine-laden phrases like “heaven,” “faith,” “sin,” and “repentance” with stripped down (but faithful) translations. For example, “sin” becomes “tragic mistakes,” and “repentance” becomes the kind of deep change that averts these tragic mistakes. “Faith” is rendered as “trust.” “Trust more” becomes Jesus’s persistent refrain for entering life in the kingdom.

Moore also emphasizes concrete symbols at the core of the Gospel—“bread,” for example, as symbol of what is truly essential. More startlingly, Moore replaces “heaven” (an increasingly abstract concept) with its most basic translation, “sky.”

“Turn your life around,” proclaims John the Baptist, “The era of the sky father is drawing near!” (Matt. 3:2).

Recovering the word “sky” works well in Matthew 16. The Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign from heaven—literally “from the sky.” Jesus replies that they know perfectly well how to interpret the literal sky but seem blind to signs from the symbolic sky.

“It is my conviction,” writes Moore, “that the less literally you take most passages, the more you will be inspired to live an altogether different kind of life.” And later on, “You have to think in layers and metaphors.”

There are occasional strange missteps in the translation. For example, Moore inexplicably substitutes five thousand, two thousand, and one thousand dollars for ten, five, and one talent in Jesus’s parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14–30). This converts 200 years of wages to $5,000. It doesn’t get across Jesus’s sense of exaggeration, or the idea that the master entrusted his servants with a whole lot o’ wealth.

And although Moore calls Jesus a spiritual poet, some of Moore’s folksy phrases fall flat, as when angels “showed up” in Joseph’s dream or the Sadducees “came to check Jesus out.” And why, oh why, Mr. Moore, after noting that the phrase usually translated “blessed” refers to a place of bliss, “like being in the presence of God,” do you still translate it as “happy”—as in the nonsensical “Happy are the grieving . . .”?

However, most of the text and all of the parables flow in a very accessible style. And some of Moore’s insights sing. Instead of emphasizing how Jesus “cured” or “healed,” he chooses “tended.” (The underlying Greek word, therapeia, gives us our word “therapy.”) The resulting translation is accurate, inviting, and instructive—showing a Jesus who models the kingdom by spending a great deal of his time “tending” people. Yes, there are miraculous healings, but the healings feel less capricious in the context of continual care. And when Jesus invites us to enter the kingdom, we know what we are called to do.

Moore’s Gospel does provide a faithful, readable, and mostly Quaker-friendly rendering of the text with some compelling insights and a few idiosyncratic quirks. Moore sees Matthew 10:7–8 as the heart of Jesus’s call to the kingdom:

The kingdom is drawing near.
Care for those who are suffering.
Wake up those who are unconscious.
Refresh those who have suffered.
Get rid of daimonic tendencies.

If this intrigues you, then this “Jesus spirituality for everyone” may be for you.

The post Gospel—The Book of Matthew: A New Translation with Commentary—Jesus Spirituality for Everyone appeared first on Friends Journal.

The Peace Class: A Study of Effective Cheek-turning, Neighbor-loving and Sword-to-plowshare Conversion

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:45
By Diana Hadley and David Weatherspoon. Self-published, 2015. 220 pages. $12.99/paperback; $5.99/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

Both Diana Hadley and David Weatherspoon write well, and each brings a different background and experience to teaching a semester course in peace studies. The book is not a course outline or curriculum for would-be emulators of their project. What it does offer is a conversation in 38 short essays on the issues explored and the experience of broaching peace topics with college students over several semesters.

Hadley is Quaker and Weatherspoon a Baptist minister, so they both come to peace studies from a Christian perspective. They quickly realized that they needed to remove religious recruitment from their classroom, which opened them to the variety of spiritual experiences of their students. The authors feel that they learned as much if not more than the students.

Hadley and Weatherspoon’s course content included nonviolent communication, the history of nonviolent resistance from Gandhi to contemporary leaders, the uses of the death penalty, “just war” theory, and the “just following orders” excuse among other topics. When the issue was gun ownership, they divided the class by where students grew up. Urban, suburban, and rural childhoods generated different views on this topic.

What the instructors discovered was that many students were not prepared for critical thinking. They were at sea in a class with no right answers, where they were expected to offer opinions and be open to opposing or varying points of view. The class became a course in how to evaluate propaganda and discover the validity that may simultaneously exist in apparently opposing points of view. Anyone teaching these days needs to include these critical thinking skills. (For which we also recommend Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman, reviewed in FJ May 2015.)

Who should read The Peace Class? We doubt that it will be a bestseller or a classic text. Yet anyone venturing into teaching a high school or college level class in history, social science, politics, peace, or nonviolence would find it useful. Many of the short essays could easily spark discussions at a meeting retreat or adult study session.

The post The Peace Class: A Study of Effective Cheek-turning, Neighbor-loving and Sword-to-plowshare Conversion appeared first on Friends Journal.

War No More: Three Centuries of American Antiwar and Peace Writing

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:40
Edited by Lawrence Rosenwald. The Library of America, 2016. 850 pages. $40/hardcover; $17.99/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

This is an ambitious book, and it looks it. Elegantly bound, complete with a satin ribbon bookmark attached, War No More intends to be a reference as well as a guide through the more than three centuries of Europeans in America—and before—starting with the pre-colonial preface of the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. This book is an anthology and more.

What War No More is and is not is best understood when compared with Staughton Lynd and Alice Lynd’s Nonviolence in America published in 1995, if for no other reason than it is an anthology for much of the same time period. Rosenwald, in fact, often refers to the Lynd book in his introductions, and there are 13 identical essays included, as well as different essays from many of the same writers. The Lynds have two of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches, for example, and Rosenwald only one, but, in my opinion, the one outweighs the two by far. Rosenwald provides historical context for King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in New York City about one year before his assassination—a critical moment in his career and life. Personally I have difficulty quoting this speech because every word is so important, and it still brings tears to my eyes to read it.

Looking at these two books helps clarify the difference between the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement and the peace movement. They often overlap, but are not the same. The Lynd book describes itself as a documentary history, using historical vignettes to frame the chosen essays. It is essentially political and is framed by the views of the Left. It skips the antiwar work done between World Wars I and II to make forays into workers’ rights and other social issues.

The Rosenwald book, on the other hand, makes clear connections between the antiwar movement in the United States that predated its founding and the peace movement today, carefully drawing lines from one author to another in often lengthy introductions, weaving with these essays a tapestry of a movement with a focus on peace and an understanding of justice.

Rosenwald has the advantage of 21 additional years to explore his themes using new voices such as Camilo Mejia, an Iraq War veteran and conscientious objector. Rosenwald includes some who did not stand conscientiously for peace as much as were “skeptical, sharp-eyed journalists.” In some of these later essays, while no position is taken on war, “war’s horrors are so unsparingly depicted that they seem to become exhibits in a case against war itself.”

It also contains a great deal of poetry and music and not just sentimental verses. It includes Mark Twain’s satirical take on the “Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date)” from the Spanish–American War period, which, with his “The War Prayer,” is familiar to many in the peace movement, though he could not get them published in his lifetime. Twain wrote “he expected as much, because ‘[n]one but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.’” You can also find one of my favorite Vietnam era songs from Country Joe and the Fish: “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag.”

To me, the most interesting entry was the “Book of Alma” from the Book of Mormon. The story is about a country under attack in which the king tells his army to “go into battle without weapons, refrain from self-defense, and [they] are slaughtered.” Their enemies “are so moved by the example of their opponents’ nonresistance that they are converted by it.” Who’d have thought? Not even the World War II Mormon conscientious objector I met many years ago (one of only ten) told me or his draft board that story in support of his status.

Rosenwald expertly chose and framed his choices for the reader to finish the anthology with a better understanding of what makes the peace movement unique among progressive movements. More than an anthology, this book resonates with songs and words over the years that will leave many asking, as Country Joe and the Fish did, “What are we fighting for?”

The post War No More: Three Centuries of American Antiwar and Peace Writing appeared first on Friends Journal.

The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:35
By Michael McCarthy. New York Review Books, 2016. 273 pages. $24.95/hardcover; $14.99/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” —Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

The Moth Snowstorm is not about moths, but instead is part autobiography, part nature journal, and mostly about finding joy in nature. The author begins by remembering outings with his family as a young child when, in the evening when the headlights were turned on, so many moths appeared that it was like a snowstorm, and his father had to get out several times to wipe their bodies off the lights. McCarthy writes that the phenomenon no longer exists due to the “great thinning” of so many small creatures in the years since. In this book, McCarthy shares much about his youth and discovery of incredible natural places that sparked a love of nature and secured for him the outdoors as a place of nurture.

Although he spends a considerable amount of time reminding us of the crisis we face in a world subjected to agricultural pesticides and herbicides and other follies of humankind, McCarthy also shares many wonderful stories of joy and wonder about butterflies, birds, flowers, and so much more. As he takes us through the annual calendar of events on his island home of England, he shares, “I can think of nothing more extraordinary and exceptional than the annual rebirth of the world: and in fact, there are a number of specific markers of the rebirth, of the earth’s reawakening after winter . . . which I celebrate in my heart.”

McCarthy shares a story about an encounter with woodland bluebells, an encounter that was a “sort of ecstasy” because of the intensity of the blue color. He kept returning to those woods, five days in a row, to revel in them, until they began to fade. And he shares his experience of the dazzling blue of the morpho butterflies in South America. I know that dazzle. The summer I turned 12, I lived in Panama, where an aunt and uncle of mine lived. The freedom we children had, exploring the nearby jungles and traipsing to the Panama Canal, just couldn’t be replicated today. I remember walking into the dense growth and feeling such awe at those giant butterflies. It’s still a vibrant memory some 58 years later.

The last three chapters are titled, “Joy in the Beauty of the Earth,” “Wonder,” and “A New Kind of Love.” They focus on the importance of the relationship we can have with the natural world and how we can feel such delightful renewal when we take the time to explore, walk, appreciate, and revel in what the world has to offer. His stories of joy, awe, and wonder are inspiring.

I can’t really portray in such a short space the importance of this book. If you’re a birder, hiker, explorer, or just love to be surrounded by natural beauty, this is a book for you. But just beware that McCarthy does give us cause for concern for the planet’s future. And isn’t that important for us to know? Might it inspire us to try to protect what is so wonderful?

I’ll close with McCarthy’s words:

That the natural world can bring us peace; that the natural world can give us joy: these are the confirmations of what many people may instinctively feel but have not been able to articulate; that nature is not an extra, a luxury, but on the contrary is indispensable, part of our essence. And now that knowledge needs to be brought to nature’s defence.

The post The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy appeared first on Friends Journal.

Just Living

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:30
By Meredith Egan. Amity Publishers, 2016. 446 pages. $17.99/paperback; $5.99/eBook. Buy from QuakerBooks

Meredith Egan’s debut novel, Just Living, explores the ideas embedded within its rich title in various ways. Beth Hill, the young narrator and protagonist studying to become an Anglican priest, is searching in her own life both for her vocation and a simple life of service in love. In the process of accompanying her through a very significant period in her life journey, the reader confronts a series of questions that the novel poses about what justice—in the context of crime and punishment—means and could mean differently were we to take a different approach to treating those who break established laws. And since the title also refers to a place—Just Living is the halfway house for criminal offenders where Beth works as an intern—its meanings reverberate even further in the novel, keeping questions of justice and living in right order in the forefront of the reader’s consciousness.

Through Beth’s eyes, we get a first-person account of her internship at Just Living, a place where and because of which she meets a number of other characters. This panoply provides a rich warp upon which to weave the novel’s plot, and Beth experiences moments of great exhilaration (like when she helps with the construction of an outdoor walking labyrinth at the facility or participates in some deeply personal sharing there) as well as failure (like when she disregards the strict protocols at Just Living for visitors). While some of the characters could be more fully developed, there are great portraits here, like that of Cook, the warm and understanding halfway house chef and cookie baker who befriends Beth. At one point, the novel describes him, wryly I’d say, as having “meaty arms.”

In addition to the people she meets at Just Living, Beth’s friends and family form another set of characters within the novel’s wide scope. Her father, an Anglican priest who wants Beth to follow in the family business, presents as both demanding and understanding. Her friend Glenn, another priest, faces his own dilemmas within both his marriage and vocation. And there’s a burgeoning romance between Beth and a former monk, whose thoughtful approach to life and his attendance at Quaker meeting may make him particularly interesting for readers of Friends Journal.

In part because its narrative strategy clangs a bit—it jumps between Beth’s first-person point of view sections, which make up the bulk of the novel, and other third- and first-person accounts, which are limited in number and scope—and in part because the large cast of characters makes it difficult to provide fully rich portraits of everyone, the novel may not cohere as a work of fiction as well as it could. But if it might be found lacking on such fronts, the book’s focus on the key themes of vocation and justice provides much to consider regarding pressing issues of our day and how spiritually minded people might meet their challenges.

Set in British Columbia, both in Vancouver and remoter parts of the province, Just Living explores, in very tangible ways, the ups and downs of restorative justice work. Quakers will find this novel’s questions—often posed directly in prayers that begin or close chapters, but also raised more tangentially throughout the book—challenging, to say the least. Beth interacts with any number of characters whose lives have been torn apart by both their own deeds and the brutal legacies of colonialism, particularly the residential schools that forced indigenous peoples into devastating losses of self, family, and culture. There are never easy ways to pinpoint, therefore, responsibility for crimes, and the novel, especially through its climax (foreshadowed early on), places its reader in the difficult position of not being able to say clearly where good and bad ultimately lodge. Like Beth, whose vocational quest takes her through the ups and downs of the correctional system, we bounce about as readers in the face of the difficult queries the novel poses.

Reading the book, I felt a lot like the well-intentioned but dislocated Beth who, in the novel’s opening scene, ends up impersonating a real priest while trying to get someone released from police custody following a protest. It’s a book that, rightly, asks its reader to face the ways in which each of us is an impostor of sorts, especially as we view the issues of criminal justice from the relative comfort of our homes and meetings for worship. And I appreciate it when a book makes me feel uncomfortable in that way.

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Stephen Allen Hawk

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:20
Hawk—Stephen Allen Hawk, 73, on March 10, 2017, in Chicago, Ill., after a long illness. Steve was born on July 20, 1943, in Richmond, Ind., to Helen Louise Gluys and David Carlton Hawk. Over the course of his childhood he lived in Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. He received a bachelor’s from Earlham College in 1966, meeting Inez Andrews, called Peggy, while he was there. He and Peggy married in 1967. Raised in a Quaker family, Steve embraced the values of many Friends. The🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Jeanne Ruth Ackley Lohmann

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:15
https://www.friendsjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/What-Comes-Next.mp3

Listen to Jeanne Lohmann read “What Comes Next” from the Feb. 2015 issue of Friends Journal.

LohmannJeanne Ruth Ackley Lohmann, 93, on September 26, 2016, at home in Olympia, Wash., with family close by. Jeanne was born on May 9, 1923, in Arcanum, Ohio, the oldest of three children. She attended Otterbein College for a year studying French on a scholarship and graduated from Ohio State University in 1945 with a social sciences degree. During the summers she worked with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Lisle Fellowship, and the Stuyvesant Neighborhood House in New York City. After a year’s Danforth Graduate Fellowship at University of Kansas, she worked for three years in Chicago as executive director of the University YMCA.

She married Henry Lohmann in 1947, and in 1948 they went to Germany with the National Student YMCA-YWCA, helping to clear rubble in Bremen and working in a local hospital and kindergarten. After that they lived for ten years in Denver, Colo., where Hank worked for the National Farmers Union and as editor of the Colorado Labor Advocate. They helped found Mountain View Meeting, directed an Interns-in-Agriculture project for AFSC, and led Lisle Fellowship units. In 1960 they moved to San Francisco, Calif., for Hank’s work for Northern California Friends Committee on Legislation, joining San Francisco Meeting in 1961.

She earned a master’s from San Francisco State University in 1979, and her work in creative writing nourished her lifelong love of literature and encouraged her to follow her vocation as poet, editor, mentor, and workshop leader. After Hank died in 1985, she continued their commitment to service and their love for the arts, camping, and travel, going on a Quaker study tour to the Soviet Union, to writers’ conferences in Italy, and to workshops in the United States. In 1993, she moved to Olympia and transferred her membership to Olympia Meeting, often sharing poems that came to her in the silence.

Poets and writers gathered in her home, and she published ten volumes of poetry and several volumes of prose. In honor of her eightieth birthday, the San Francisco writers’ community established the Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Award, given each spring under the auspices of the Olympia Poetry Network. Friends in Olympia and elsewhere remember her poetry readings with appreciation and affection. Six of her poems are displayed in the woods and walkways of Providence St. Peter Hospital, and Garrison Keillor read two of her poems on The Writer’s Almanac. Her 2015 poem “Autumn in the Fields of Language” conveys both her vocation and the autumn of her life: “Without wind the yellow leaves / hang slack. Maple, elm and oak / lift torches to the blue of heaven. / A scarlet burning bush ignites the air. / Evergreens comfort the eye, / relief from all that fire and gold. / When my last warm season’s done / and time’s come to leave this world / of words, bright fields of language / where I play and sing, / let flame in me some final brilliant work / like autumn leaves in changing light. / May I rejoice in having had my say.”

Jeanne is survived by four children, Stephen Lohmann (Isabelle Tabacot), David Lohmann (Margaret), Karen Lohmann (Joe Tougas), and Brian Lohmann (Kathleen); nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to Olympia Meeting, the Olympia Poetry Network, Friendly Water for the World, AFSC, or a charity of your choice.

More:

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Erika Muhlenberg

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:10
Muhlenberg—Erika Muhlenberg, 84, of Kennett Square, formerly of Swarthmore, Pa., on April 19, 2016, in Kennett Square, Pa. Erika was born on May 7, 1931, in Hamburg, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1950. She studied at Pendle Hill and University of Michigan, where she met her husband, Nicholas Muhlenberg. She and Nicholas later divorced. In addition to a homemaker and mother of four, she was a counselor and legal advocate for the Domestic Violence Project of Delaware County, Pa. Assistant clerk of Swarthmore (Pa🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Ann Richardson Stokes

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:05
Stokes—Ann Richardson Stokes, 85, on November 20, 2016, at home in West Chesterfield, N.H. Ann was born on June 9, 1931, in Moorestown, N.J., to Lydia Babbott and S. Emlen Stokes. A lifelong Quaker, she grew up in Moorestown Meeting and graduated from Moorestown Friends School. She attended Goddard College, and in 1959 built a home on Welcome Hill in West Chesterfield. There, beginning in 1976, she and some of her women friends designed and built the first studio for women artists: Welcome Hill Studios. She told the story🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
Not an FJ member? To read this piece, please join us today! For $28, you'll get:
  • A year of Friends Journal delivered to your mailbox (11 issues) and email
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Kenneth Wayne Young

Thu, 2017-06-01 01:05
Young—Kenneth Wayne Young, 69, on November 4, 2016, in Richmond, Va. Wayne was born two months early on February 12, 1947, in a small hospital in Woodstock, Va. His family kept him warm by the side of the woodstove—a homemade incubator—and he grew up to be strong and healthy. His father ran a small store and gas station. Wayne loved history, especially that of his birthplace in the Shenandoah Valley, and was especially drawn to the history of the Mennonites and United Brethren in the region. After graduating from high school🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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On a Friend’s 70th Birthday

Mon, 2017-05-22 09:00

January 26, 1988. Celo (N.C.) Meeting 

His feet walk daily paths, as duties call;
The grass and soil embrace a step that’s kin;
His hands encourage harvest, and to all
His heart sings out, God’s music from within.

 Big-boned, he’s made an older-fashioned way than we,
All hands and feet and heart. The child in him
Thrives at the river’s edge, with bush and tree,
Lifewater flowing Light through trunk and limb.

Clouds and hills, spaces between stars that be,
Have taught him shadow’s interplay with light;
His hands are shaped to hold a Mystery
That gives us day but as a bride to night.

Bob Barrus—
Kind student of the moment stolen from work or thought;
That moment of quiet when we’re most deeply taught.

 

 

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A Quaker on a Commune

Mon, 2017-05-15 09:00

By Rashaun via Wikipedia

I am living the good life. I am well rested, nourished by tasty food, and content to have found the sweet spot of living in right relationship. I am warm and cozy by the woodstove after a few hours of outdoor work in the crisp sunshine of a Virginia winter. My housemates and I talk of possible plans for the evening: playing a board game, building a bonfire, working a few more hours, or attending a practice session on communications skills.

We are enjoying the many resources of 450 acres of wooded and farmed land in central Virginia with 100 other people who call this place, Twin Oaks Community, their home. They are all living comfortably, but also very differently from almost everyone else in the United States. Together they have created one of the most egalitarian, communal, and stable intentional communities in this country.

I am at Twin Oaks as part of the community’s three-week visitor program. As a Quaker, I yearned to be surrounded by people who were living and breathing the testimonies of simplicity, nonviolence, community, and equality. Though not a religious community, Twin Oaks has been a leader in alternative living and values in action since 1967. I had to see for myself.

Alongside seven other visitors from around the country, I experienced being a part of this strong intentional community. As visitors, we committed to not spend more than the member’s monthly allowance of about $100 and to embrace simplicity and communality. Twin Oaks members commit to radical sharing. They freeze their assets from their previous endeavors and share housing, meals, and supplies.

The average American consumes five times what our planet can sustain. The average Twin Oaker consumes to support just one healthy planet. They organically grow much of their own food, but not everything. They have solar panels and shared cars. They balance a commitment to values with practicality. And “scarcity” is not a word I have heard since arriving. While members refer to budget restraints and frugality, there are ample resources. The community provides for all basic needs.

The community’s bedrock is a commitment to egalitarianism through a complicated but liberating labor system. Each member works 42 hours a week. This is broadly defined; it includes childcare, cleaning, and cooking, covers most of the needed elements to sustain its population. I joyfully haven’t washed a dish since I arrived. But I have planted in the garden, raked leaves, cooked dinner, bagged tempeh, and helped make a hammock. Twin Oaks has a few successful collectively owned businesses that financially support the community while creating opportunities to support their deepest values. A professor and high school graduate work side by side in the tofu factory. There is an assumption and a culture that everyone is going to do good work and contribute positively in diverse ways. The combination of equal responsibility and simplicity leads to a high quality of life, and one very different from the mainstream.

I am impressed by this and by the seeming ease with which this community provides for itself. So many of us around the country spend our lives “making a living” so we squeeze what we really care about into evenings and weekends, exhausted but determined to make a difference. Our faith is bookended by appointments and errands. We are in the car a lot. We are stressed. Here at Twin Oaks I find myself with ample free time. I linger over conversations and take walks. I read. The long-term members make art, spend time with their friends and children, and participate in “movement-building” by volunteering locally and traveling to relevant protests and demonstrations. They spend time figuring out how Twin Oaks can do better. I went to a lunchtime chat about the implications of having online movie streaming for their community, which has a “no TV” rule. The orientation pamphlet title is “Not Utopia Yet.”

Reminiscent of my experiences in Quaker communities, not everyone likes each other here. People gossip. While there is a growing interest in direct communication and conflict resolution, a culture of conflict-avoidance permeates here too. Also like a community of Friends, most members are invested in and committed to the community, and consider it worthy of their time and energy. And if they don’t, they can try to make changes or leave. In both communities, members share decision making.

Unlike Friends, there is no group worship at Twin Oaks. There is no guiding Spirit. Twin Oakers don’t hold hands before a meal or share a 400-year-old culture of alternative values and struggle. Still, in many ways, I see people here at Twin Oaks living our values more completely than most of us do as a Religious Society.

Friends, let’s find inspiration here!

One long-time member reflected that Twin Oaks, which will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary next year, is “no longer an experiment but a model.” They have figured out a lot. A serious commitment to values is possible when there is a supportive social structure that sits on a foundation of shared economies. I’d like us to learn together how we could do more of this as Friends, to find inspiration together for how to live creative, value-driven lives. Here is a peek into right livelihood—and it is joyous and possible. Not all of us are going to live in an intentional community, but we can take lessons from our peers and move forward as a Society toward lives of better sharing, simplicity and equality.

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Sweet Ol’ Camp Tunes

Mon, 2017-05-08 09:00

Every time “Wagon Wheel” is played, my mind wanders back to memories of camp: the green grass, the wildlife, and especially the people. One day a couple of my camp friends and I were just hanging out and chatting around the kitchen table at a camp reunion. It was the fall right after a very fun and eventful summer at camp. The light above the table gave a warm, comforting yellow glow. My friends faces were hazily illuminated, creating an almost dream-like atmosphere. A familiar smell filled the air. Pizza was being baked with a variety of spices, meats, and cheeses. We had been talking for some time and reminiscing fond memories, so I got up and began to roam around the house. I wandered into a dark room filled with dusty guitars and a large variety of acoustic instruments. In the corner sat an old piano covered in some cobwebs. It reminded me of one of those old-time western pianos, just sitting in a bar waiting to be played. The wooden floors creaked under my weight as I approached and picked up a guitar and blew the dust off of it. I plucked each string, surprisingly in tune. I began to play a few chords, when I felt the urge to play a song. I started playing the four magical chords of “Wagon Wheel.”

As I was playing the intro, each of my friends came and joined me in singing the song:

Heading down south to the land of the pines,
I’m thumbing my way into North Carolina.
Staring up the road and pray to God I see headlights.

One of my friends, Alex, picks up a stand-up bass and lays down a nice mellow beat. His brown hair bounces up-and-down with the bass line: bum, bum, bum, bum. Everyone begins mumbling the rest of the phrase but then crescendos into the chorus: “So rock me momma like a wagon wheel. / Rock me momma any way you feel. / Heyyyyyyyy momma rock me.” The words of the chorus attract the rest of my friends who soon join the ensemble. Their eyes look at me like, why didn’t you tell us sooner? I just shake my head with a grin and continue on with the song. Sean, Joshua, and Elliott are swinging their heads to the beat, drunk on the good memories of camp. The singing was drowning out the sound of the guitar and bass, so everyone picked up an instrument and contributed to the rich sound. My friend Daniel sat down at a piano and played in harmony with the guitar. The piano completed the old-timey antique, rustic sound with the plunking of the old keys.

Running from the cold up in New England.
I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time stringband.
My baby plays the guitar; I pick a banjo now.

The whole house is now rocking, shaking, and humming to our collective, robust music. Everyone’s favorite part is coming up, and the emotions are erupting! Everyone suddenly stops playing the instruments. I look around at all of my friends who are smiling with big grins on their faces. Our voices stand alone: “Walkin’ to the south out of Roanoke.” Everybody crescendos and then shouts, “I caught a trucker out of Philly; HAD A NICE LONG TOKE!” The instruments kick back in and carry our voices to the end of the song like an ocean wave. “So rock me momma like a wagon wheel. / Rock me momma any way you feel. / Heyyyyyyy momma rock me!”

With a final strum of the guitar, everything comes to a halt. Silence fills the air. The only sounds that are present are the walls, which are still vibrating from the rhythmic tunes. The silence is bland without the strumming of guitars or the beating of the bass, but it is the most prominent aspect in the moment. The room suddenly erupts with emotion as we all began laughing and hugging each other, with tears in our eyes, in a state of ecstasy. Never had I felt more happy and secure with a group of people in my entire life. The only thing we could manage to say was “One more song!” And like that we were off again: singing and reminiscing about the sandy shores and the olive green ocean bay of Echo Hill.

 

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Quaker Students’ Reading List for President Trump

Mon, 2017-05-01 09:00


Many of the students who participated in this year’s project responded to the following prompt idea in their letters: “Recommend a book that you think the president should read and explain why.” Once all of the recommendations were compiled into one list, we couldn’t help but see the result as a sort of suggested reading assignment for the president from these younger constituents-in-training—much like the summer reading lists students often receive from their teachers before school lets out. With summer around the corner, we’re pleased to share this reading list featuring 24 books recommended by Quaker-affiliated students in the United States. Happy reading, Mr. President!

Free? Stories about Human Rights edited by Amnesty International (2010)
  • “Every story represents a human right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As president of the United States, one of your jobs is to protect the rights of others. Even though we have these human rights, many people around the world are still denied some of these rights. Some others take human rights for granted. I hope you consider reading Free? and thinking about how human rights matter to everyone.” —Nora Krantz, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “This book is important in these times when plenty of people aren’t being treated fairly. These facts and stories are very important to know as president, and they will help you to understand people’s problems all around the world.” —Catie Allen, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “The stories really stuck with me; some were sad, but they each had a meaningful lesson. No matter your race, nationality, religion, or age, you should read this book. We all have to learn how to be accepting, and how to appreciate differences and similarities.” —Sydney Mann, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
  • “I would suggest that you read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In it, a black man is put on trial for a crime he never committed, and is found guilty, simply for the color of his skin. In the end, he ends up dead, when he was always completely innocent in the first place. The book takes place in the late 1930s, and we tend to think that we’ve moved past these times, that nothing like that could ever happen now. There is still injustice in this world. While the characters in the book are fictional, the subject is very, very real. . . .” —SVP honoree Gillian Murray, Grade 7, Leaves of Learning, member of Oxford (Ohio) Meeting. Read her full letter to President Trump.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie (2014)
  • “This book is a personal favorite of mine, entitled We Should All Be Feminists. The book was written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an amazingly smart writer and feminist. I think you could learn several things from her writings that would prove helpful in the White House. First, feminism is as a matter of principle. You will learn that respecting women is the right thing to do. As not just the president but a grown man, you must consider how your actions and words affect others. By calling women fat and talking about their bodies, you are shaming them, which is mean spirited and very inappropriate. This behavior is childish and far from acceptable. . . .” —SVP honoree Acadia Pesner, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School. Read her full letter to President Trump.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (2013)
  • “You should read this book because it lets you in on the life of a Muslim woman; it will help you see the daily struggles Muslim women face, and help you better understand the Muslim minority as well as women’s rights in the Middle East. I feel very strongly about women’s rights because I was born into a financially stable and educated family. I go to one of the best schools in the country and I feel that every girl should have the same opportunities and education as I do. Many girls don’t have that and have to spend their day at home working and doing chores because that is what their society expects of them. So many girls have so much potential and are so smart but never get the chance to pursue their dreams. As a twelve-year-old in a world where there is much happening around me, a fresh, new view on the situation offers an interesting perspective. I think I and others like me are the new generation and should have some sort of say or input on the current situation so that when it is our turn we know what we are heading into. Thank you for considering my view, and I do hope you find the time to read this letter and book I am suggesting.” —Evelyn Labson, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (2013)
  • “This book is about people being treated unfairly. It would help the whole world if we all read it. We read this book in my class earlier this year, and it meant something to me. It puts you in someone else’s shoes. Everybody should be treated equally. March is about people trying to stand up so they can be treated equally.” —Henry Walsh, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “I think you should read this book because it is all about African American rights and it might change your perspective for the better about black people. March is mainly based in the past, but it applies to a lot of current day events. In 1972 all the people who believed in desegregation marched for black people’s rights. On the 21st of January, 2017, women marched for their rights just like all the believers in 1972. Legal rights are very important because we all are the same on the inside and we all need the law to see that, even if the rest of us already do. I believe in women’s rights, I also believe in African American rights. I think you will believe in African American rights and women’s rights too after you read March.” —Mia Palk, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
This Book Is Gay by James Dawson (2015)
  • “It is a book about accepting and welcoming LGBTQ+ members and supporters, no matter what. Not to offend you, President Trump, but I think that you especially need education in this area. As a country, we need to be united and accepting no matter what. Sticking together is the best way that we can survive.” —Macy Black, Grade 9, Westtown School
A Work in Progress by Connor Franta (2015)
  • “This book is about finding yourself and accepting who you are. It talks about a 16-year-old boy’s journey through his life with friends, family, and his sexuality. I think it would be eye opening for you to read and understand a gay male’s life growing up and finding out who he is.” —Katherine Komins, Grade 9, Westtown School
The Bible
  • “I recommend that you read the Bible because it is full of many scriptures that constantly say to love thy neighbor and respect one another. Given the things you said in your campaign, you clearly need some insight on love and respect. You should also do some research on William Penn, who was a Quaker who focused on love and equality; these might help to inspire you during your presidency.” —Genevieve Green, Grade 10, William Penn Charter School
Politics for Dummies by Ann DeLaney (2002)
  • “I would recommend Politics for Dummies. President Trump needs to actually know something about politics.” —Jackson Shumard, Grade 8, Frankford Friends School
Stronger Together by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (2016)
  • “This book was written by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine so I would suggest to read this so you can understand Hillary Clinton’s perspective better, and see if you could apply some of her ideas to the United States.” —Noah Bay, Grade 6, Westtown School
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
  • “You should read this book because it lets you feel the emotion of someone else. In the book, you see the main character (August) getting bullied which shows you how it feels to be degraded in such ways which I believe would help you explore how others feel.” —Ava Johnson, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “I think it’s a good book, and you should read it because it makes people feel empathetic, see things from everyone’s point of view, and learn to treat people like they want to be treated. It also teaches us how to be a good friend and stand up for others. These are good qualities for a president to have for many reasons. If you read this book, it might help you be a better president.” —Solveig Daniels, Grade 6, Westtown School
The Boys of Dunbar by Alejandro Danois (2016)
  • “This book takes place in the same place that the Freddie Gray incident happened in a black neighborhood in Baltimore, Md. You should read this book because having sustainable communities across the United States is important. All the police shootings and riots happen because the police cannot handle that specific unsustainable community.” —Jackson Keyser, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
  • “I think you should read this book because it could possibly relate to events that could happen in the future in America. People in America can retaliate against you. They’ll retaliate because they don’t agree with your actions and they don’t like what you are doing to our country. This is similar to how citizens of Panem retaliated against President Snow’s actions in book 3, Mockingjay. In America, people are protesting against you because they believe that you have unfair policies and that your actions will harm America. People also believe that you will start conflicts with other countries who were once our friends.” —Mackenzie Tyson, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
  • “I have come to realize through reading this book that we need a strong leader and that we need a fire that will keep us under control. In Lord of the Flies deciding whether to let the fire burn or die out was the biggest conflict, just like the choice of a Democrat or Republican as the president has our nation split in half. I believe that a good community starts with a strong leader. I believe that you are currently the best person for this job, but I still need you to convince me that you can unify our country as a whole. I attend a Quaker school in Pennsylvania and I know that having a sense of a strong community is very powerful. Not feeling safe around people in my own community is unacceptable to me. Please read Lord of the Flies and learn from the protagonist, a boy named Jack who is a tremendous leader. I hope that you can grow from reading this book.” —Benjamin Grear, Grade 9, Westtown School
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (2010)
  • “Melody has cerebral palsy. Everyone at her school thinks she is not smart, but in reality she is exceptionally smart. People in the disabled community are just as smart as anyone else. After reading this book maybe you would enact policies to help the disabled community to fight injustices and inequality.” —Isabel Madauss, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “You have mocked a disabled reporter. This book is related because the main character has disabilities. She has cerebral palsy and can’t talk, but is extremely smart. This book shows you not to judge people by the way they look. Melody may look different or act different from the other kids, but she can’t control that. You have to take the time to get to know a person.” —Baani Singh, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
  • “Stereotypes and categorizing people is something we all do even without meaning to, but your words can be offensive and mean to other people. You should never judge someone by their appearance because people are not always what you think they are.” —Nate Weinstock, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (1994)
  • “You should read this book to widen your perspective about refugees and learn about what it’s like to move to a new country. This book is based on a true story which occurred during World War II. Moving to a new environment can involve changing your daily routine, but being forced to abandon your home and then fleeing the country to a safer, sustainable, and healthier life is very different. In the book a family is trying to leave a war zone and reunite after. Before reading this book I had not been educated about the journey of leaving a war zone. The Washington Post says that most refugees are ordinary people who unfortunately happen to live in unsafe environments or are in need of a job, healthcare, etc. Any country could face these common issues. My great-grandfather fled Ivory Coast by foot, through the forest to Ghana. He did this after facing death threats in his hometown. Years after, he returned to Ivory Coast as a husband and father of ten. Sticking together as a family, friends, nation, city, state, or world will improve our society and stop most of our issues.” —Ayorkor Laryea, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
Only the Names Remain by Alex W. Bealer (1996)
  • “It’s a nonfiction book about historical Cherokees and the Trail of Tears. I learned so many things that I didn’t realize happened leading up to and during the Trail of Tears.  I think you should read this book because you can see what previous presidents have done that caused a disaster. Andrew Jackson let his own greed and others’ greed get in the way of fair and right decisions and honoring treaties. Read it so you don’t repeat it.” —Meredith Jenkins, Grade 6, HomescLive Oak Meeting attender
The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Inner Peace by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2002)
  • “After reading the foreword, go to page 129 and think about what he has to say about short-term politics. I hope you will understand what he has to say. The entire book can be thought-provoking.” —Patrick O’Rourke, Grade 6, Westtown School
A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul (2007)
  • “I recommend you read a book written by Dr. Ron Paul who ran for president most recently in 2012. In his book he talks about blowback and how having our military involved in foreign conflicts results in terrorism against Americans here and overseas.” —Zoe Malavolta, Grade 6, Westtown School
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (2011)
  • “I think you should read this book because it’s about a boy who lives in a small town, and he isn’t the richest boy either. He is a boy who doesn’t go to school but does help his neighbor in weird ways. I’m recommending this because poverty is a real problem in the world right now and I know you can help stop it.” —Zavion Allen, Grade 6, Westtown School
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (2016)
  • “It’s a story about a girl who attempts suicide and ends up in the hospital for a therapy session. There she meets people who have tried similar acts to hers. But, throughout the novel, we also learn that her rich father has made some rather unwise decisions. I think this would be a great book for you to read to let you know what it’s like to not have some of the compatible privileges that you may have grown up with.” —Grace Lavin, Grade 9, Friends Academy
White Fang by Jack London (1906)
  • “This is a thrilling book about loyalty, courage, and survival. White Fang, out of all the terribly bad treatments he had received, didn’t know what kindness was. Everyone should be born knowing kindness. They should know how it feels and how soothing it is.” —Kenji Ishi, Grade 6, Sidwell Friends School
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis (2007)
  • “You should read this book because even though he was homeless, people accepted his differences and treated him kindly. One thing I learned in school is to be fair and good to all people. All people should be treated fairly because no one deserves to be mistreated.” —Eliza Lee, Grade 6, Westtown School
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (1936)
  • “I think you should read this book because it is about respecting people’s differences. This book also shows an important lesson: stay true to yourself and don’t let people change you. Lastly, this book shows that people should be treated equally no matter how they look or sound.” —Grace Rhile, Grade 6, Westtown School

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Quaker Summers: May Full Issue Access

Mon, 2017-05-01 06:00
Members can download the full PDF or read any article online (see links below). Student Voices: The fourth annual Student Voices Project asked students to write a letter to the next president of the United States suggesting what they think he should focus on during his first year. We’re publishing 27 personal letters addressed to President Donald Trump from middle and high school students. None of the student letter writers are old enough to vote🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Among Friends: A Piece of the Answer

Mon, 2017-05-01 05:10

By the time you’re reading this issue, the White House (attn: President Donald Trump) should have received the stack of complimentary copies we sent him, along with a cover letter prompting him to look inside for the 27 personal letters addressed to him from middle and high school students. The 16-page feature and accompanying online content is the result of our fourth annual Student Voices Project, which invites students at Friends schools and Quaker students in other educational venues to submit their writing to the pages of Friends Journal.

When we announced the project’s theme last October, the U.S. presidential election had been a leading story in the news and within many Quaker circles for well over a year. Both of the top candidates represented historic firsts, challenging traditional convention in politics: a former First Lady with over 30 years of political experience and a billionaire reality TV star businessman with hundreds of ventures in a variety of markets. Whatever the outcome on November 8, it was sure to get people talking, marching, blogging, and engaging in cross-party dialogue.

One week later, submissions for the project started pouring in, and the flow continued through the following three months, resulting in nearly 300 “Dear Mr. President” letters from young individuals representing dozens of schools, meetings, and communities around the world (the project saw its first international participation this year with submissions from Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica and Ramallah Friends School in Palestine). None of these student letter writers is old enough to vote, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention. SVP honoree Gillian Murray says it best: “We are young, but we have opened our eyes and see what’s going on in the world. We want to have our ideas heard.”

Being heard requires someone who is listening. I think Quaker youth programs build this kind of relationship very well. A recent QuakerSpeak video (see p. 55) highlights how members of New England Yearly Meeting work to support children’s spirituality. Among those interviewed, one answer stood out to me the most: they offer “a space where the adults trust that youth have a piece of the answer.” When we’re looking for answers, do our actions reflect this trust? How are we giving space and listening to our youth?

Also in this issue, we celebrate being Quaker in the summertime and all the exciting opportunities that come with it. From summer camps to summer gatherings, we have stories and experiences for Friends of all ages. Pete Dybdahl remembers the awkward yet love-filled moments between teenage counselors. Dyresha Harris shares outreach and inclusion tips from Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s camping program. Lastly, John Andrew Gallery is back with part two of his spiritual learnings from attending Quaker Spring in Ohio last summer. (And don’t miss this month’s online feature by tenth-grader Kyle Weinman whose lively piece about his favorite “Sweet Ol’ Camp Tune” will make you want to sing out loud.)

I grew up attending a summer camp program run by my quarterly meeting in Pennsylvania. It was at Quaker camp where I learned all the words to the George Fox song, where I first stood up during meeting for worship, and where I felt the most loved, seen, and accepted by those around me. It was where I could let my little light shine bright. Youth are always a piece of the answer. Let’s not forget that.

 

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Forum May 2017

Mon, 2017-05-01 05:05
Unexpected tutor As a freshman at Haverford College who was struggling in the academic year of 1963–64, the administration in its wisdom chose to assign me a kindly older gentleman for study help. He helped me get through my almost disastrous freshman year, although I ultimately took ten years to get through and receive my degree. As a headstrong 17-year-old not well versed in Quaker history, I did not realize the attention I was getting, for the person assisting me was Henry Joel Cadbury (“Henry Cadbury, AFSC, and Haverford College” by David Harrington Watt and James Krippner🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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Quakers, Restrooms, and the Learning Curve

Mon, 2017-05-01 05:00
A restroom sign at Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.). Photo courtesy of Debby Churchman. Quakers tend to follow the leading to be in the world but not of it, although last summer gave us ample reason to not want to be in it much. Holy moly. Still, in our own small way, Friends Meeting of Washington (D.C.) is meeting the world as it is and working toward a better one. The summer of 2016🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
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4th Annual Student Voices Project

Mon, 2017-05-01 04:55

This year we asked students to write a letter to the next president of the United States suggesting what they think he should focus on during his first year.

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