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, 2010:
Suppose that my "poverty" be a hunger for spiritual riches: suppose that by pretending
to empty myself, pretending to be silent, I am really trying to conjole God into enriching me with some
experience - what then?
Then everything becomes a distraction. All created things interfere with my quest for some special
experience. I must shut them out, or they will tear me apart.
What is worst - I, myself am distraction. But, unhappiest of all - if my prayer is centered in myself,
if it seeks only an enrichment of my own self, my prayer will be my greatest potential distraction.
Full of my own curiosity, I have eaten of the tree of Knowledge and torn myself away from myself
I am left rich and alone and nothing can assuage my hunger: everything I touch turns into distraction.
— Thomas Merton
Thoughts on Solitude (93)
From Eleventh Month, 2010:
Either life is holy with meaning, or life doesn't mean a damn thing. You pay your money and you take your choice. Only never take your choice too easily, of course. Never assume that because you have taken it one way today, you may not take it another way tomorrow.
— Frederick Buechner
"The Truth of Stories"
Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons (137)
From Tenth Month, 2010:
—The Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu
Vancouver, Canada, 2004
Credit: Carey Linde
From Ninth Month, 2010:
Religion, it must be understood, is not faith. Religion is the story of faith.
It is an institutionalized system of symbols and metaphors (read rituals and myths) that provides a common
language with which a community of faith can share with each other their numinous encounter with Divine
Religion is concerned not with genuine history, but with sacred history, which does not course
through time like a river. Rather, sacred history is like a hallowed tree whose roots dig deep into primodial
time and whose branches weave in and out of genuine history.... Indeed, it is precisely at those moments when
sacred and genuine history collide that religions are born.
The clash of monotheisms occurs when faith, which is mysterious and ineffable and which eschews all
categorizations, becomes entangled in the gnarled branches of religion.
No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (xxvi)
From Eighth Month, 2010:
It Stops Working
what happens to the scale
translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Love Poems from God: Twelve Voices from the East and West (239)
From Seventh Month, 2010:
Room Cleaning Christianity
Why do Christians argue about drinking beer or why the tankini is the least slutty of all bathing garments? I think it’s because we sometimes practice "Room Cleaning Christianity."
Think of it like college. When you’ve got a final paper due Monday, you will be amazed at how energetic your desire is to clean your room. You will scrub tile with a slow toothbrush if it means avoiding the bigger, more difficult work of writing your paper.
The same thing happens with Christianity. Loving your neighbor might be simple, but it’s not easy. Maybe my neighbor is a jerk too. Maybe they hate God. Maybe they are actively and violently opposed to everything I believe. And showing them grace feels impossible.
So instead of dealing with that, we get online and police people. We find small things to focus on that will distract us. I think God wants us to discuss the little stuff, but we make it an idol when we practice room cleaning Christianity at the exclusion of love. And we tend to become jerks....
Jesus came for the mess-ups like us. Jesus came for the failures. Jesus came for the jerks. (That’s not in the King James version of the Bible, I remixed it like Timbaland.) And the truth is, grace is the antidote to being a jerk online.
My Take: Why Christians are jerks online,
on Belief Blog
From Sixth Month, 2010:
Hana steps out of a storm
Into a stranger's warm, but
She sees what must be done
So she takes off her coat
Rolls up her sleeves
And starts pitchin' in.
Hana has a special knack
For getting people back on the right track
'Cause she knows
They all matter
So she doesn't argue or flatter
She doesn't fight the slights
She takes it on the chin
Like a champ
Hana says when life's a drag
Don't cave in
Don't put up a white flag
A white banner
In this manner-
Straighten your back
Dig in your heals
And get a good grip on your grief!
Hana says, "Don't get me wrong
This is no simple Sunday song
Where God or Jesus comes along
And they save ya."
You've got to be braver than that
You tackle the beast alone
With all its tenacious teeth!
Light the lamp.
—Joni Mitchell, Shine
© 2007; Crazy Crow Music
From Fifth Month, 2010:
|From Fourth Month, 2010:
From Third Month, 2010:
I am able to approach the Buddhas [at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka] barefoot and undisturbed, my feed in wet grass and sand. Then the silence of the extraordinary faces. The great smiles. Huge and subtle.
Filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing, the peace...that has seen through every question without trying to discredit anyone or anything—without refutation—without establishing some other argument.
For the doctrinaire, the mind that needs well established positions, such peace, such silence, can be frightening.
Looking at these figures I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious....
The thing about all this is that there is no puzzle, no problem and really no mystery. All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all life is charges with dharmakaya... everything is emptiness and everything is compassion.
The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton
New York, NY: New Directions Publishing, 1988, p.233
From Second Month, 2010:
|From First Month, 2010:
Why All This Talk?
Why all this talk of the Beloved,
Music and dancing,
Liquid ruby-light we can lift in a cup?
Because it is low tide,
A very low tide in this age
And around most hearts.
We are exquisite coral reefs
Dying when exposed to strange
God is the wine-ocean we crave—
Flowing in and out of our
—Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c.1320-1389)
translated by Daniel Ladinsky
The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz
North Myrtle Beach, SC: Pumpkin House Press, 1996, p.7