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Tag Archives | Commentary

Business Meeting and Worship

Two recent Forum letters have expressed the view that Friends ought not to use the word "worship" to describe what we do when we conduct business – that our meetings for business are not worship and to call them meetings for worship runs counter to our testimony of Integrity (FJ May and August Forums). My […]


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Common Threads

In an online sermon Honoring our Theological Diversity, Unitarian Universalist minister Susan Manker-Seale says, "Long, long ago, high on a mountaintop, Moses asked God for religious direction. Or maybe Moses went up there to contemplate ways to help his people get along on their long journey toward a land of freedom and peace. In any […]

Paul Ricketts attends Fort Wayne (Ind.) Meeting. He serves on the Religious Education Committee of Friends General Conference and on the Program Committee of the Third World Coalition of American Friends Service Committee.


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Remember that You are Dust and to Dust You Shall Return

Wednesday morning at 6 am my alarm woke me from warm, senseless sleep to face a cold, rainy, and intimidating day. I delayed the call for minutes, wanting to lose myself again in wondrous sleep. I finally pulled myself out of bed, dressed, prepared coffee, and set out for Mass. Ash Wednesday is a day […]

Dan Coppock, a member of Eastern Hills Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, lives and attends worship in West Philadelphia. He is a former Friends Journal intern.


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Three Kinds of Singing in Meeting

Some years ago (in 1980) when my husband, Bruce, and I were visiting New England Yearly Meeting with a minute of travel for the concerns of lesbian and gay friends, I was reading a historical display of old disciplines and came across the following from 1675. The contents of the minute left me stunned. Like […]

Geoffrey Kaiser, a member of Apple Seed Meeting in Sebastopol, Calif., has been active in the struggle for civil rights, gay rights, and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a founding member of Unami Meeting in Pennsburg, Pa.


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Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Power in Japan: The Ocean of Light above the Ocean of Darkness

The Ocean of Light above the Ocean of Darkness “…there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.” (George Fox, An Autobiography) Grief was our first reaction when a civilized nation so prepared for earthquakes was devastated. Those of us who […]

Karen Street, a member of Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting, continues to work on climate change. Her new work is exploring cultural theory of risk: how our worldview makes changing our minds so difficult, by shaping where we see risk, determining who we see as experts, and locking us into we-good, they-bad perceptions of those who disagree.


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Quaker patriotism: eldering from an aged philosophy prof.

I know that we Quakers don’t vent our frustrations, especially with one another. But when I saw the cover of the February Friends Journal, I confess that I said, "Drat!" All right, it was stronger than "Drat!" I’m sorry. What upset me first was a cover photo deliberately provocative: a fierce looking American eagle, glaring […]


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Unearthing the Roots of Patriotism

I’ve read Tony White’s article, The Immorality of Patriotism (FJ Feb.) several times. I particularly appreciate his frank honesty in writing of his original support of the Iraq war. Few seem to modify their original responses by later-discovered facts, as he did. He concludes that patriotism is the force that empowers such destruction. He writes: […]


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Quakers and Yunus Emre

There have been times in my life when I’ve been given the pleasure of discovering a writer or a poet who seems to echo ideas with which my very bones resonate. When I was living in Turkey over 50 years ago and found Yunus Emre’s poems, I discovered many such resonating words and phrases. Yunus, […]

Judy Brown, poetry editor of Friends Journal, is a member of Agate Passage Meeting on Bainbridge Island, Washington.


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Letters to Dear John

Reading John Woolman’s autobiography made me curious about how I would respond to his gentle but challenging ministry for fellow Quakers to abandon harmful social institutions and live in a way that carried no seeds of war. My musings took the form of these imaginary letters to Woolman. Dear John, Thank you for your short […]

Marsha Green is a member of Chapel Hill (N.C.) Meeting and serves on the Board of Trustees for Carolina Friends School. She and her husband, Michael, serve as Couple Enrichment Leaders for Friends General Conference.


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Privilege and Presence

Two of the feature articles in this month’s issue spoke to me strongly. I’ve had it easy. I was born of educated and loving parents into a middle-class North American home, grew up in safe (if somewhat shabby) neighborhoods, and found—from my very earliest days—community among friends and Friends. I recognize that my being a […]


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