Back to business

Susan Corson-Finnerty is on vacation while this issue is being prepared. For me, summer is not a time to be away (I take my vacation in the fall), since I oversee our editorial interns and we always have several between college semesters. Our interns are generally students from high school to post-grad (although we’ve had one teacher during her break), but this summer they’re mostly college students. We have had six interns these past months, helping to prepare the magazine. Their names appear on the masthead. They have contributed much to the final product.

You may have been struck as you read through the previous issue—August—that its fare was lighter than usual. For the most part the articles and features were agile and humorous rather than deeply serious. We allowed ourselves some late summer latitude, and we hope you enjoyed it.

With this September issue we shift into a more serious mode. The first two articles address grim realities of today—ones that call out for attention. In "Unpalatable Truths," Burton Housman writes about his work with the wounded U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and elsewhere with severe injuries. Friends have long been called to minister to the victims of war—whether soldiers or civilians, whether from our country or foreigners. The evenhandedness of Friends concern for all sides in a conflict is an important part of what it means to "answer that of God in every one."

The second article is "Friends and Torture" by Chuck Fager. The evil of torture is still around and dangerous and, as we now know, is governmental policy. So, what can we do to confront its use? In this article, Chuck candidly examines what influence Friends have—or don’t have—as concerned citizens. With inspiration from the Bible for naming tools available to us, Chuck issues a prophetic call for our involvement.

The next article is quite different. In "Friends and Cyberspace," Mark Franek sees the world of blogs, in which many Friends—especially young Friends—engage, as a place where the Spirit can move freely. There is a helpful sidebar, as well as the example of a recent blog entry by Peggy Senger Parsons.
That is followed by articles that celebrate two small but influential Friends educational institutions: The Meeting School in New Hampshire, and The Woolman Semester in California. Although they contrast sharply with each other in their structure and functioning, they are similar in calling upon each student to exercise leadership in taking responsibility for one’s own development.

You might like to know that these last two articles are among several that were originally submitted for the special issue on "Nurturing Younger Friends" for which there was insufficient space in July. There are still more articles in this reservoir, and they will be appearing in our pages through next May.
Not all the articles here will be a delight to read—some, as you can see from this description, contain disturbing material. But we know that you don’t want us to shy away from the truth whether it is joyful or painful. Both aspects of truth can be uplifting, in their different ways.