Newletters & Updates
- American Friends Service Committee
- Friends Committee for National Legislation
- The World in Action
- Christian Alliance for Progress
- for veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan
- Annenberg Political Fact Check
- Faith in Public Life
- National Directory of Faith Groups for Justice & the Common Good
- Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice
- Peaceful means to social change
- Help microfinance small businesses
- Coalition of U.S.-based NGOs focused on the world’s poor and vulnerable
- Lambda Legal
- Civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV
- Military Religious Freedom Foundation
- Interview with Michael Weinstein
- National Religious Campaign Against Torture
- Ending U.S.-sponsored torture, & cruel, inhuman & degrading treatment
- Network of Spritual Progressives
- New Sanctuary Movement
- To protect immigrant workers and families from unjust deportation
- Quaker Bolivia Link
- A Quaker Response to Poverty
- Quaker Earthcare Witness - Conscientious protection of our planet
- RSVP Listening Project
- Communication, understanding, and the empowerment of people and communities
- St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association
- Friendship with the people of Baracoa, Cuba
- SEVA Foundation
- Health, cultural survival & sustainable communities
- Sew Much Comfort
- Adaptive clothing for injured service members
- Vision of Humanity
- Global peace index and sustainability
- Women, Faith, and Development Alliance
- Reducing poverty by investing in & empowering women and girls
From Twelfth Month, 2004:
The Christ's Breath
a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves through--
listen to this
Love Poems from God:
Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West
Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c.1320-1389)
translated by Daniel Ladinsky
New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2002
From Eleventh Month, 2004:
In the case of early Friends,...the disillusioning political events of 1649-51 created an experience of political and personal desolation. That loss of hope became the source of new revelation for those willing to remain there. Waiting in eclipse, they began to experience the Day of the Lord, a painful but liberating vision of themselves and of the social structures of their day.
There was a figuration between personal experience and social structure, mediated by the Lamb as both a personal Savior and a transhistorical Lord whose time of enthronement had come. The Day of the Lord was strongly temporal in that it revealed the kairos [time of decision or moment of truth], illuminating a decisive, dialectical moment in social history--namely the transition into capitalism. But, in the visionary tradition of the apocalyptic, it was strongly spatial in that it revealed the structural connections of that moment--namely, the class conflicts and convenantal contradictions of Puritan England. Early Quaker social criticism and resistance politics were so trenchant because those structural connections were fused with a highly charged personal spirituality, producing a prophetic community engaged in a Lamb's War, the cultural revolution of the Day of the Lord.
While Friends inherited and extended a number of radical Puritan and early liberal currents that had preceded them, the experience of the Day of the Lord brought them into a new, radicalized integration. Their animating vision was identified as the covenant of light. It began with the experience of individuals coming together and abiding in that rent in the social fabric, the spirituality of desolation. And as their gatherings extended that rent outward into society, the inward apocalyptic conflict began to find its wider battlegrounds--first the steeplehouses and marketplaces, then the courts, the Army, Parliament, the entire nation, and beyond. (369)
The Covenant Crucified: Quakers and the Rise of Capitalism, by Douglas Gwyn (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill Publicactions, 1995)
From Tenth Month, 2004:
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; an holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shown strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant, Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.
From Ninth Month, 2004:
When war psychology takes hold, the public believes, temporarily, in a 'mythic reality' in which our nation is purely good, our enemies are purely evil, and anyone who isn't our ally is our enemy....
[O]nce war psychology takes hold, the public desperately wants to believe in its leadership, and ascribes heroic qualities to even the least deserving ruler.
Paul Krugman, citing Chris Hedges' War Is a Force That Give Us Meaning in a New York Times Op/Ed piece (9/7/04)
An Interview With Author Chris Hedges - by Steven Rosenfeld, a senior editor for TomPaine.com (10/30/02)
From Eighth Month, 2004:
What engages the reader is the fact that [the Bible] is filled with people very much like the reader, people who are confused and confusing, who are less than exemplary but who nevertheless participate in a developing encounter with God....
What makes the Bible interesting and compelling is the company of human beings who through its pages play their parts in the drama of the human and the divine. In the sense that Bible stories tell our story, the human story in relationship to the divine, they are true. They are not true because they are in the Bible; they are in the Bible because they are true to the experience of men and women....
None of these [men and women] were heroic in the Greek sense of heroic. They were not even celebrities in the American sense of people being famous for being famous. They were ordinary people for whom God had a use, and the adventure of their stories is their discovery of their use of God's use of them. (185, 186; emphasis added)
The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, by Peter Gomes (New York: HarperCollins, 1996)
From Seventh Month, 2004:
Religious wars are endemic in our time, which is a time with little care for reverence.... If a religious group thinks it speaks and acts as God commands in all things, this is a failure of reverence. A group like that may turn violent and feel they are doing so in good faith. Nothing is more dangerous than that feeling.
War is nothing new, and neither are killer strains of religion, pathogens that take hold of a people and send them into paroxysms of violence. War and religion will always be with us; we can't expect to sake them off. But we can ask what it is in religion that might keep the dogs of war on leash, and what it is that whips them into a frenzy and lets them loose. It is reverence that moderates war in all times and cultures, irreverence that urges it on to brutality.
The voices that call in the name of God for aggressive war have lost sight of human limitations. They have lost reverence, even when they serve a religious vision. So it is when a people believe that their god commands them to take land from others, or insists that they force others into their way of thinking. Even when the goal of war is something as noble as freedom or peace, it may be irreverent to think we can impose these goals by violence. (13-14)
Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue, by Paul Woodruff (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)
On Reverence, Paul Woodruff interviewed by Bill Moyers (9/29/03), on the website of Creative Resistance
From Sixth Month, 2004:
I'm wondering if we're not teaching sexism and racism to our soldiers as a survival technique....
Calling someone gay is a way to put someone down in society, but in a hyper-masculine society like the military, it's a way of calling someone weak. What falls into the category of weak is anything remotely feminine, such as crying, questioning orders, being unsure, and being unsure of wanting to kill someone.
I have friends in the military. One of my best friends in highschool went into the military 'cause of lack of money. As you know, people of color are heavily recruited with the promise of college education. He's 27 and he's more in debt than when he went in. The wage they get isn't enough to do what they want in life, and he's supporting a family and kids now.
One of the things that I noticed that's put a strain in my friendship is [that I'm] constantly correcting him, like him using the word "bitch" all the time or thinking of women in sexual terms. And it was not in his nature before, but it is now. He's pretty open about how everyone in the military talks to each other this way.
"Militarism Makes Racism Ok: A Young, Queer Muslim Women Speaks Out" (interview with "Fatima"), in Surviving Militarism, Racism & Repression: An Emergency Preparedness Kit for LGBT & Queer Youth, a publication of AFSC, in partnership with the National Youth Advocacy Coalition.
From Fifth Month, 2004:
We are willing to remain teachable in the trust that the dissenting Friend [who stands in the way] is also teachable.
The word "teachable" stands for the Greek word praos, often translated in the New Testament as "meek." A more accurate rendering would be the nautical word "yare," referring to a ship that minds her rudder well...[in] a zigzag line of a hundres tacks....
The Spirit leads us, not in a straight line, but step by step, by twists and turns, to incremental stages as we become ready. We are never required to do that which we cannot. Growth in the Spirit means attning oneself to those step-by-step leadings, as well as having patience with those who are led by a different route....Perhaps that is a central meaning of the term "weighty Friend": one whom the community trusts to "attend to pure wisdom and be teachable." (14)
"Brief Reflections on Quaker Practice," by Esther Greenleaf Mürer, Friends Journal, July 2003
From Fourth Month, 2004:
It was a simple raid on a village: "Suspected Viet Cong." Most of the time you don't see who you're shooting at. At best, maybe some scurrying little figure. You see the fire, but you don't see the people.
But this one time, I saw the guy. I mean, I saw him. He was that guy, that person. I didn't shoot. I didn't even think not to shoot. I just didn't shoot.
The guy next to me shot. And he dropped him. Then I looked at the guy next to me and I saw him. He didn't know whether to be proud at what he'd done or not. I just nodded; he could take that any way he wanted.
Then I realized that...how can I say this?...that I saw everybody. I mean, the VC, and this guy next to me, and myself. And at that point there was no way I was going to be able to go out and fight anymore. I was going to be dangerous to my outfit, in fact; I wasn't about to be shooting.
So I went to the chaplain, and he talked to a shrink, and I did, and it went through some kind of channel, and I got sent to the rear somehow. Don't know how it all got through. But it did. And that was the end of shooting. (177-78)
How Can I Help?: Stories and Reflections on Service, by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman (New York: Knopf, 1985, reprinted 2003)
From Third Month, 2004:
To allow the hungry man to remain hungry would be blasphemy against God and one's neighbor, for what is nearest to God is precisely the need of one's neighbor. It is for the love of Christ, which belongs as much to the hungry man as to myself, that I share my bread with him and that I share my dwelling with the homeless. If the hungry man does not attain to faith, then the fault falls on those who refused him bread. To provide the hungry man with bread is to prepare the way for the coming of grace. (137)
Ethics, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (New York: Simon & Schuster, reprint 1976)
From Second Month, 2004:
During the war years, Rustin was riding on a train through Texas that was also carrying seven German prisoners of war guarded by military policemen (MPs). The MPs decided to have the Germans eat in the dining car before the rest of the passengers, and one American woman resent what she considered preferential treatment for the enemy. She slapped a German prisoner across the face.
Rustin witnessed this incident, and it offended his sense of fair play and brotherhood among all people. He tried to persuade the woman to apologize, but she would not. So he approached one of the MPs and asked for permission to speak to he Germans. The MP said it was against regulations for a civilian to speak to prisoners of war.
Then Rustin asked, "Is there a regulation saying that I cannot sing to them?" The MP admitted that he knew of no such regulation. So Rustin sang a song by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert entitled "Serenade," and followed it with a song entitled "A Stranger in a Distant Land."
Later, as the Germans passed by him, the one who had been slapped put his arm around Rustin's shoulder and said in halting English, "I thank you."
Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement, by James Haskins (New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1997
There is an assumption that "Islam" and the West are quite incompatible, their ideals utterly opposed, and that "Islam" is at odds with everything that the West stands for. It is, therefore, important to realize that this is not the case. [By the 18th century,] under the impetus of their own spirituality Muslims arrived at many ideas and values that are similar to our own modern notions. They had evolved an appreciation of the wisdom of separating religion and politics and a vision of the intellectual freedom of the individual, and seen the necessity for the cultivation of rational thoughts. The Koranic passion for justice and equity is equally sacred in the modern western ethos."
The Battle for God, by Karen Armstrong, (New York: Knopf, 2001)