Quakers in the Field

Cormorant and Flowers

Quakers, Loving in Crisis

Well you see, my work is more than my job. I get paid as a psychotherapist reducing aggression, and building compassion. My work is the practice of peace. Quakers can be passive peace-lovers. I wrinkle my nose because many Quakers remain quiet around violence, supporting the status quo. I was asked to talk to South Central Yearly Meeting this April, and I eagerly agreed. And I didn't go. Instead all of humanity shared communion around a common foe, the Virus. Here, in video form is the SCYM keynote address. The accompanying PDF expands on my experiences in embracing Divine Love when facing evil. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

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South Central Yearly Meeting 2020 Keynote


Bow Power Plant, New Hampshire

Fighting Fakefuel with Finesse

Acting in Love during Times of Fire

My stomach dropped down to my knees. Holy cow! I shivered on the tracks as the train curled around the bend. It was 9 pm, Dec 16th, dark and cold. I was in the presence of something awesome like the shepherds on Christmas night who heard the angels shout, “Fear not.” Two dozen warm bodies had camped by the train tracks north of Worcester MA to stop a freight train carrying 10,000 tons of coal. We had been asking the Granite Co to shut down the Bow, NH Power Plant, a huge coal burning factory with no shut-down date.Read more


Wading into the Waters at Tijuana

By the blast of God’s nostrils the waters piled up.
The surging waters stood up like a wall.
The enemy boasted, "I will overtake them.
I will gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.” —Exodus 15:8

Caravans of refugees are arriving in titanic proportions. People are fleeing the terror of war and economic slavery. This peaceful flight across the Tijuana river happens as we honor the Jews crossing out of economic slavery. The caravan migration is historic, dare I say…. Biblical.Read more


Humans Rights on ICE

When I came to the Border Project for Human Rights, Mexico was under the chilly grip of winter. I left Baja California on March 1st, enchanted by the world of whales mating and dolphin pods leaping. In Magdalena Bay I traded my swimsuit for a scarf and wool hat. Baja California basks in beauty and I was headed for the top of the peninsula. Organ pipe cactus turned to tall palm trees. The pelicans followed me north along the coast, I thanked them as they dipped and dived around craggy islands. I made it through to the Tijuana Monumental Arch, three blocks south of Trump’s Wall and a lot taller. I introduced myself to the trees near the cathedral, saying I was a pilgrim far from my native maples.Read more


Minga on the Edge

Go and come back. Go forward and see. Pray and listen. Come home and share. Breathe it in and breathe it out. Love through hate. Hope in darkness.

Quaker troubadour in Nepal

In March I will live for a few weeks near refugees, and hear their stories in the hot sidewalks of Tijuana/San Deigo. On quick appraisal, traveling to the Mexico border is foolish. My spouse asks if I'm going to the border or to the edge? Is this sojourn on the Mexican border ministry? Reflect with me reasons to leave a comfortable home and go to the epicenter of dislocation.Read more


Sunset

Learning AVP When Enemies Are Everywhere

How are prisons violent? Humans learn to reciprocate love and leverage power with each other. Like lumbering bears, we grow every day. Prisons stunt growth. A herd of humans can become a stampede that tramples each other. Humans howl—when threatened we snap our teeth. Violence is taught—sometimes on Main Street. I can assure you—violence is taught in prison. Ahhh, but, violence can be unlearned, in prison and anywhere.
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Tijuana Border Wall

Darkness and Borderlands

Before the longest nights of 2018, I heard about the exodus of Latinx had reached the Mexican northern border. During the dark of the moon I was obsessed with the drama and the heroism. I saw the poetry in streams of people fleeing in groups of 80 or of 45 or of 15. Central Americans banding together for safety, to share the load, to give tips on what to expect, to keep warm during the night, and to pray with at sunrise. Short or lean; well-dressed or thread bare; boots or flipflops; parents leaving children behind or children in tow. Two stories shook me up. I shivered when I first heard them.Read more


Mary Dyer

Mary Dyer at the Poor People's Campaign

June 14, 2018

Quakers have joined in the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) for these last two months. Every Monday for 5 weeks, we have gathered near Boston Common. Yes, Friends were ruffled and hot. Yes, Friends raised their voices against the liars and gluttons in our tattered democracy. Moreover, Friends burnished divine power to heal oppression. Our cry echoed MLK’s PPC.** The Poor People's moral compass points to Repairing the Breach. Yes, Friends illegally crossed into the streets. People took risks by forming a string of human pearls between the poor and the thrones of power. On different Mondays, Friends joined 15 others who shut down streets around the statehouse.Read more


Angelic Drops of Water

Angelic Troublemakers

Quaker Worship  Feb 25, 2018 — Spoken Ministry

I asked the Holy One for water, and I was given ice.
I asked the Holy One for warmth, and I was given the embers of a dying fire.
I asked the Holy One for truth, and I was given an ancient poem.
In my confusion, I asked the Living Spirit to show me the path,
and I was given this roomful of people to guide my feet.

Quakers scramble up the rocky hill, our thin sneakers barely gaining traction. In a moment of polarization between Billy Graham and Rev Barber; between the NRA and the survivors of Parkland High School; between republicans in Washington whining to build a wall, and catholics putting jugs of water in the Sonora desert for families crossing the border. Where is the moral ground?Read more


Sanctuary from Persecution

Guido and child

“Part of understanding Justice is to recognize the disproportions among which we live..."

it takes an awful lot of living with the powerless to begin to understand what it is like to be powerless, to have your voice, thoughts, ideas and concerns count for very little. We, who have been given much, whose voices can be heard, have a great responsibility to make our voices heard with absolute integrity for those who are powerless.”  John O'DonohueRead more


Peace Stakes among Rural Friends

First AVP workshop with Nepal Quakers
First AVP workshop with Nepal Quakers

We facilitated an AVP workshop in Ramecchap Nepal for 18 Evangelical Friends. These Friends are not used to workshops on peace, social issues or self-esteem. The church has no running water nor chairs. But these Quakers were very savvy about social justice. They survived an earthquake; they heard about the generous world-wide donations after this disaster, and they knew that this money wasn't distributed fairly.

Older sister (maybe 7 years) helps babysit
Older sister (maybe 7 years) helps babysit

These friends are not scholars, but they are wise in the ways of structural violence. They are fishermen and farmers living where the rivers run more and more turbid and the soil is too rocky to support crops. They live on steep mountainsides with frequent landslides. Nepal government released $150 for any earthquake family victim. Now the monsoon season has begun and the government's many promises to disperse the international aid has not occured. Fifty years ago people in Ramecchap lived with milk and honey, their land a jewel. Now, what are they?--the salt of the rumbling earth.Read more


Stories at an Irish Prison

Today about 100 of us AVPers from around the world were invited into Wheatfield Prison meet with 12 inmate facilitators. It was my first bright sun-flecked day in Ireland and the inmate testimonies were even more amazing. We heard from the jail administration who were called governors, and we appreciated many of these men who have a life sentence. Their gardens, metalwork, art and woodworking were all impressive. The garden inside Wheatfield had foxgloves, bleeding hearts, and huge coneflowers. Here's what I learned from some of them:Read more