Among Friends May 2014

It is easy to say that as Quakers, we strive to listen and look for that of God in every person. But like any collection of humans, we sometimes fall short. Some of the saddest and most profound challenges in our lives arise from the complex and little-understood relationship between mind, brain, and spirit. We hurt each other without meaning to hurt each other. We make assumptions about the other’s intentions that are far from the truth.

Sometimes mental illness can straddle the thin veil between physical and metaphysical experience. Mystical states of mind and mystical experiences have often been explained away and dismissed as episodes of madness, both by those experiencing them and by outside observers. I think Friends are largely—and rightly—cautious in giving the benefit of the doubt to the mystics in our midst, but I suspect we have all experienced interactions with people in which the voice that speaks is not reflective of “that of God” within. It sears my memory to recall the times when my own words have not reflected my measure of Light.

Our authors in this issue share extremely personal and honest stories about the burdens and gifts of mental illness and wellness in their lives. I am grateful for the opportunity they provide us to learn more about how they experience the world and the Friends community. Let us use this knowledge to make our communities and families better exemplars of the caring coexistence we seek.

Acclaim for the Journal

Friends Journal was honored this year with four awards at the Associated Church Press’s “Best of the Christian Press” competition.

  • Best in Class (Denominational/Special Interest Magazine)—Honorable Mention
  • Print Redesign—Award of Merit
  • Theme Issue—Honorable Mention for “Outside the Quaker Bubble” (FJ December 2013)
  • Personal Experience (Long Format, Magazine/Journal)—Honorable Mention for “We Think He Might Be a Boy,” by Su Penn (FJ August 2013)

The Associated Church Press is an international community of communication professionals brought together by faithfulness to their craft and by a common task of reflecting, describing, and supporting the life of faith and the Christian community. Their awards each year are an opportunity for us to receive constructive and objective feedback from professionals in the field.

I’m particularly proud of recognitions in the Best in Class and Print Redesign awards, because in each of these categories, the judges looked at multiple issues and compared Friends Journal against magazines serving much larger denominations. I hope you’ll join me in congratulating our hardworking staff and our thoughtful contributors by sharing this award-winning Quaker magazine with others and encouraging them to join us as subscribers.

Yours in peace,
Gabriel Ehri


Gabriel Ehri

Gabriel Ehri is executive director of Friends Journal.

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