Wednesday, December 23, 2015


1. Prologue: Gandhi’s Creed


2. The Lighthouse and the Lantern

“Thomas Merton. “The Night Spirit and the Dawn Air.” In New Blackfriars V. 46 N. 543, September 1965.”


3. Surrender and Spiritual Hunger

Stephen Mitchell. A Book of Psalms: Selected and Adapted from the Hebrew. Harper Perennial, 1994.

Yes, (progressive rock band) song named “Awaken” from the CD Going for the One. Atlantic Records, 1977. See also

Doreen Virtue. How to Hear Your Angels. Hay House 2007.”


4. Are Quakers Christians, and Does it Matter?

Margaret P. Abbott. Christianity and the Inner Life. Pendle Hill Pamphlet 402, 2009.
See also John Macmurray. The Philosophy of Jesus. Friends Home Service Committee, London, 1973.
See also Wilmer Cooper. The Gospel According to Friends. Friends United Press, 1986.
The Journal of John Woolman, published posthumously in 1774; see

Robert Barclay’s Apology for the true Christian divinity. See

Second epistle to Timothy 2:14.

Thich Nhat Hahn, Living Buddha, Living Christ. Riverhead Books, 1995.

Robert Vogel in Friends Journal, March 1993, p. 18. See also Rufus M. Jones. The Quaker’s Faith (pamphlet). New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1960.”


5. Why Worship?

John Punshon, Encounter with Silence: Reflections from the Quaker Tradition. Friends United Press 1987. See also Robert L. Smith, ed. A Quaker Book of Wisdom. Harper Collins, 1999.


6. Quakers and Peace

Gospel of St. Matthew 25:40.





7. Agnostic Gnostics?



8. Integration of our Spiritual Lives

Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Faith and Practice. Query 5, Personal Way of Life.


9. The Dearest Sibling of the Thunder Storm


10. Gratitude, Service, Responsibility



11. America as a Quaker Society

Henry Seidel Canby, “Quakers and Puritans.” in Saturday Review of Literature 1/2/1926 pp. 457-9. Quoted in Howard H. Brinton, Quaker Journals. Pendle Hill, 1972.



12. But Wait! Some of this is Real.


13. Where do we Come From?




14. How can I Lead?


15. Quaker Process


16. Word, Deed, and Prayer


17. A Paragraph about a Lecture about Heaven


18. Atheist Christians?


19. Being Light and Love


20. Ubuuntu


21. Starting Young


22. It’s Here; Heaven is Here!


23. Quakerism as Art


24. When a War Begins, the Peace Witness Does not End


25. Redefining “Christian”


26. The Continuing Revelation


27. Meaning-seeking Creatures


28. My Basic Prayer


29. On Being Present


30. On Feeling Connected


31. Knowing Truth


32. Cherry Trees in History


33. Living with a Soft Heart


34. On Constructive and Prophetic Service


35. Dealing with “Difficult” People


36. The Parting of the Seas


37. About The Challenge of the Closed Door


38. Blessing for Nicholas


39. The Way of Growth


40. A Reason to Clench your Fist


41. On Prayer and Love


42. The SPICES of Life


43. What is Love?


44. Life is a purposeful experience!


45. What do we Believe?


46. The Message of Abraham


47. How tall are you?


48. Another Take on Jesus’ Message


49. It's all about Geometry


50. Singing Meat?


51. If You’re Not Really Upset by All of This...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


52. Elements

(Several versions of this poem are floating around the Quakers sites, so I thought I should post the "definitive" version.)


[The following poem came to me in a Meeting for Worship in 2002.]

It’s all about the elements.

Our bodies are our dirt, our stuff; my stuff is your stuff; dust to dust.
All of the iron in our blood was created at the center of a star, so we are all made of stardust.
No, we are made of one another!

Some of my stuff used to belong to others; every time I inhale, I take in some of you, and some of someone else whom I don’t even know, and probably stuff from some- body I judge; all the same stuff.
We are certainly made of stars, and of each other.

The next image is of the flint stone and metal striker making a spark.
Almost all of the sparks expire in mid-air, like the Biblical sower’s seeds fallen on rock, or parched earth, or in the thorns.
But oh, the spark that meets the tinder, how it compensates the flint for its chipped and lost matter,
how the tiniest flame recharges the entire atmosphere for all the spent siblings of its spark,
how the shortest duration of the warmth erases the cold silent death of the failed attempts.

The opposite is the single small drop of rain falling into the ocean.
Each drop contributes its whole self; nothing is ever lost.
Each drop changes the temperature of every ocean on earth.
The salt in each drop commingles with all the world’s salt.
The cycle of drops between ocean, cloud, rain, and ocean never ceases.
And nothing is ever lost; nothing is ever lost.

Our souls are, of course, like both of these: spark-to-fire and drop-to-ocean.
Of course, we experience our spirit through our thoughts and our emotions;
these fragile and garbled hints of the world are the sparks.
The burning tinder never meets the proud parents, the flint and iron of reality.

But the spirit also informs the heartbeat, motivates the breath, and all of the never- ending cycles of our body’s working are in harmony with the driver.
Yes, it is the earth’s water that actually coordinates all of life’s many clocks.

The real source, the driver, the “root of the root,” this “wonder that’s keeping the stars apart,” it’s actually more like that other element: the wind.
Everywhere you look in nature, you see what the wind does,

how it rakes the mile-long dunes by the sea- shore,
how the Cypress trees there strain in sometimes-defiant response,
how the ocean’s own waves get perturbed white caps,
how the fire’s whole smoke is ushered away by the slightest breath,
how the clouds with their tons of steam are pushed around the heavens with seeming ease.

But you never see the wind itself.
You never see the wind itself.

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