Checking out “Convention-al” Wisdom

Checking out “Convention-al” Wisdom

Coming, up, national political conventions, Cleveland (Republican), Philadelphia (Democrat.)

DNC-Bad-Theater

This post is not about candidates, platforms, or horse race predictions. I’m thinking about convention security.

I’m no expert, but in 2012, I got a pretty good outsider’s glimpse of external convention security measures while spending several days in the neighborhood near the Democrats’ gathering in Charlotte NC. And I took some photos with my trusty Blackberry. I’m thinking that much of what I saw will likely apply, in spades, at the conventions this year, and so it’s worth passing them on.  Continue reading Checking out “Convention-al” Wisdom

From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness

From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness

Late 1959: During my senior year, at St. Mary’s High in Cheyenne Wyoming, it was announced one day that we would be treated to a field trip, all the way to Denver, to visit the nearest Catholic colleges: Regis, for men, run by the Jesuits; and nearby Loretto Heights, for women, operated by the Sisters of Loretto.

Index-Book-BurningI enjoyed the trip, though I was already clear that, wherever I went to college, it would be at a secular school. And this resolve was greatly strengthened when we visited, of all places, the Regis College library.

Continue reading From “Meetings” — Looking Into the Heart of Darkness

FAQs for Friends– Part #9 (The Last Part): Jesus & The Golden Gate Bridge

FAQs for Friends– Part #9 (The Last Part): Jesus & The Golden Gate Bridge

Since it’s been a few weeks since Part #8 was posted, we’ll repeat the last Query from #8, as a way of catching up.

(To read earlier posts in this series, click here.)

FAQs-LogoQ.  Did Anybody Else Besides These Early Friends Repeat The (radical & disruptive Quaker religious) Ideas?

You bet. One of the most eloquent champions of these ideas didn’t come along until 200 years after Barclay. It was the most famous American Friend of the 1800s, the poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Continue reading FAQs for Friends– Part #9 (The Last Part): Jesus & The Golden Gate Bridge

“Meetings” – Small Is Beautiful – But Is It Buddhist?

“Meetings” – Small Is Beautiful – But Is It Buddhist?

An excerpt:

1976:  I was working essentially full time, for the weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian, but was on a freelance basis. Paid by the published article, I was seriously poor.

Cover-FRONT-Meetings-SM-RockwellYet I was not unhappy with my lot: the Bay Guardian was a journalistic legend; the editors respected my work and kept wanting more. I’d been meaning to demand a regular gig, but had been too busy. 

My “beat” was the offbeat, story ideas outside the paper’s weekly regimen of muckraking about politics and other public corruptions, all plentiful in the region. 

Instead I wrote the stories readers wanted but no one else had thought of: Continue reading “Meetings” – Small Is Beautiful – But Is It Buddhist?

“Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show

“Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show

Ladies, Gentlemen, & Friends: Meet Levi & Katherine (aka Katie) Coffin, circa 1850. They helped make (and followed) the Underground Railroad from central North Carolina to Indiana and Ohio . . . .

Levi-n-Katie-Coffin

Oh, wait — Meet Levi & Katie Coffin, 2016 . . . Snow Camp NC

SCOT-Coffins from 2016-cast

Normally, the young folks above are named Sarah Hornaday and Jay Williams.

Continue reading “Pathway To Freedom” – Getting Ready For The Show

Willie Frye & “What Goes Around Comes Around” in NC Quakerdom

Willie Frye & “What Goes Around Comes Around” in NC Quakerdom

It was a profound but uncredentialed and unknown theologian who came up with this telling proposition: “What Goes Around Comes Around.” 

This thesis has been repeatedly confirmed in North Carolina Yearly Meeting (FUM), but in very unhappy ways. Currently it has produced a proposal to “divide” the YM, in order to purge it of some meetings that some powerful groups regard as heretical.

Few have described this pattern of recurring religious pathology better than the late Willie Frye, a longtime NCYM pastor, in a 1994 presentation to the YM. Willie’s statement dealt with several distinct topics. For NCYM, and those who are observing its agony, one of the most important parts has to do with how NCYM has been influenced by the religious movement known as Wesleyanism. Many NCYM pastors have come to the yearly meeting from very similar backgrounds.

Fire-Danger-Sign Continue reading Willie Frye & “What Goes Around Comes Around” in NC Quakerdom

New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

“May you live in interesting times.” 

That’s a curse, remember? And 2016 marks fifty years for me among  Friends–a half century of almost nonstop “interesting times.” 

I’ve begun putting my experience of this era on paper, in a “religious autobiography, called Meetings. It’s now available.

If I believed in reincarnation, I’d be burning incense & spinning prayer wheels asking that on the next go-round, could the higher powers arrange for the times to be  possibly a bit less interesting? Say with fewer wars, more time to catch my breath, smell the roses, take the long walks on the beach–

Cover-FRONT-Meetings-SM-Rockwell

Who am I kidding?

Continue reading New: A Religious Autobiography From “Interesting Times”

Orlando & Friends: A Quaker Prophet Speaks

Orlando & Friends: A Quaker Prophet Speaks

Fierce controversies over the presence and affirmation of LGBT persons have dogged many Quaker Yearly Meetings in the past decades. In some groups, the debate has been resolved; but in others it continues to rage.

West-Hills-Expulsion-YES

As discussed in an earlier post, the late Willie Frye, a longtime North Carolina Quaker pastor, was the target of intense criticism in the early 1990s by making supportive statements about homosexuals. Charges were made that he was teaching “false doctrine,” and advocating homosexuality. Efforts were made to drive him from the yearly meeting, out of his pastoral career, and to divide the yearly meeting itself.

In 1994, Willie presented a statement on his behalf. Since then it sat obscurely in his papers until a few days ago, when a relative retrieved it, and shared a copy with this blog.

We’ll take up the bulk of the presentation in a future post; it makes gripping reading. But in light of events earlier this week, in Orlando, the following section leaped out as timely, though it is 22 years old. Genuinely prophetic statements have such continuing relevance. Continue reading Orlando & Friends: A Quaker Prophet Speaks

Who Wants The Best Quaker Job There Is?

Who Wants The Best Quaker Job There Is?

When I started as Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, my main task was to get ready for a big war. 

QH-Dove-Logo

The U.S. was already fighting in Afghanistan, and the buildup for an invasion of Iraq was well underway. We could hear the war machine cranking up among the many units at Fort Bragg — some visible, like the 82nd Airborne, and many invisible, Special Forces units we weren’t supposed to know about — not to mention gathering hordes of “contractors”, a euphemism for mercenaries. Continue reading Who Wants The Best Quaker Job There Is?