Category Archives: Cross-Generational Conversation: YAFS & OFFs

Who Knew? Wikipedia Can Be Funny!

Who Knew? Wikipedia Can Be Funny!

(But then, it’s talking about Mark Twain.)

Mark Twain and Dorothy Quick, one of his “surrogate granddaughters” (he had no grandchildren of his own, and filled that role for the daughters of some friends.) One can imagine a bit of dialogue: Quick: “Grandpa Mark, won’t you ever stop smoking those cigars? They’re so stinky.” Twain: “Why certainly, my dear, if it pleases you. After all, quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I’ve done it a hundred times.”

One of the favorite books of my boyhood — back in another century, a different millennium– was Huckleberry Finn. Read it several times.

It’s dispiriting to see articles about schools these days putting Huck in the literary dustbin, because of concerns over trigger words that were authentic to the culture Twain was portraying.  But then, that’s happened a lot to other classics too. Continue reading Who Knew? Wikipedia Can Be Funny!

“Ain’t had a prayer since I don’t know when . . . .”

“Ain’t had a prayer since I don’t know when . . . .”

Imagine this scene (part of it really happened):

It’s August 6, and George W. Bush is at home in Houston, or maybe at the ranch. He’s finishing a watercolor, or (stay with me) reading a book, though certainly not that heavy new biography, “Bush,” by military/presidential historian Jean Edward Smith, which takes another big whack at his tattered reputation.

Maybe he’s even pondering the big presidential decision by Harry Truman made 71 years ago, because for many of the rest of us, August 6 is Hiroshima Day.

Whatever. Meanwhile across town, in a big Houston pavilion, more than 20,000 people are jammed and jamming, screaming their lungs out for — the Dixie Chicks, in a raucous, triumphant concert that sold out in minutes months ago. It’s the Chicks’ first appearance in Houston in fifteen years.

This month, the Chicks broke the record at their gig in Dallas, where they started out 20 years ago. (Last time they played Dallas, though, more than ten years back, they needed bodyguards. Srsly.)

Okay — I really have no idea what GWB was doing that day. But the part about the Chicks is the truth.

Continue reading “Ain’t had a prayer since I don’t know when . . . .”

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–


Who am I kidding?

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

Northwest YM Leaders Kick The LGBT Expulsion Can Down the Road

Northwest YM Leaders Kick The LGBT Expulsion Can Down the Road

Northwest Leaders Kick the LGBT Expulsion Can Down The Road

BREAKING: Two sources in Northwest Yearly Meeting confirmed late Friday Jan. 21, 2016 that the YM Administrative Council {AC} is deadlocked on the appeals calling for reinstatement of West Hills Friends [WHF}, expelled last summer for being an LGBT inclusive church.

Continue reading Northwest YM Leaders Kick The LGBT Expulsion Can Down the Road

A Quaker Christmas Story: Candles In The Window

A Quaker Christmas Story: Candles in the Window

– Part I

A winter view of Pendle Hill from the Yorkshire Dales, England[

This Quaker Christmas story takes place in the  village of Settle, Yorkshire, England – 12th Month, 1814. In those days, candles in the window were not a peaceful sight . . . .

Abram Woodhouse was late, and he knew it. But even so, as the daylight faded he climbed the path up Castleberg hill on the north edge of Settle.

Continue reading A Quaker Christmas Story: Candles In The Window

“Shattering” Quakerism In the Northwest – Continued

“Shattering” Quakerism In the Northwest – Continued

Interview with Steve Angell  – PART TWO
[Part One of this conversation is here.]

Stephen Angell, Associate Editor of Quaker Theology, and  Professor of Quaker Studies at Earlham School of Religion, continues a conversation on his extensive report about the ongoing controversies over LGBT issues at George Fox University and in Northwest Yearly Meeting. [Hereafter GFU & NWYM] This struggle has resulted in the abrupt expulsion of one Meeting, loud protests from several others, and by many individual Friends there.  In Part One, Steve discussed issues at George Fox University. [CEF are the initials of Editor/blogger Chuck Fager.]

CEF: Now let’s turn to Northwest Yearly Meeting and the events that led to the expulsion of an LGBT welcoming meeting there.

Steve Angell with his newest book.

Continue reading “Shattering” Quakerism In the Northwest – Continued

Tom Fox And The Last Supper

Tom Fox And The Last Supper

Tom Fox’s path from suburban northern Virginia to Iraq and a lonely martyr’s death was straightforward. We talked about that path  in August, 2005 when I saw him for the final time. 

I met Tom in the early 1990s at Langley Hill Friends meeting in McLean, Virginia, near Washington DC. We were both members. I didn’t know him especially well, but his children were the same ages as my younger two, and the four of them grew up in that meeting, conspiring to torment a generation of First Day School teachers, on many a weekend morning. 


Continue reading Tom Fox And The Last Supper

Appeal! Groundswell in Northwest Over A Welcoming Meeting’s Ouster

Appeal! Groundswell in Northwest Over A Welcoming Meeting’s Ouster

We reported on July 25 about the abrupt expulsion of West Hills Friends Meeting in Portland, Oregon by Northwest Yearly Meeting.

West Hills has been welcoming to LGBTQ folks for several years. Northwest YM (NWYM), an evangelical body, does not approve, though dissent about the official stance has been growing year by year.

Northwest’s Faith & Practice permits appeals of the expulsion, not only by West Hills itself, but by other local meetings. The period for filing appeals expires tonight at midnight, August 23, 2015. The appeals will be considered by NWYM’s Administrative Council, which has the final say.


The council will have a full packet when it takes up its task. The news of West Hills’ sudden expulsion (officially called a “release”) sent shock waves across the NWYM constituency, and evoked a swift, and increasingly massive, response, especially among younger adult Friends.

Continue reading Appeal! Groundswell in Northwest Over A Welcoming Meeting’s Ouster

Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

The first “favorable” articles I ever read about homosexuality and bisexuality  were in WIN Magazine, a radical pacifist journal, in its “gay liberation issue” of November 15, 1969. (“Gay liberation” was a brand-new coinage then.)

I still remember how the “coming out” (yet another new phrase for me) story of and by David McReynolds, who was then the main staff member of the War Resisters League {WRL}, hit me like a series of physical blows.


Continue reading Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

Guilford College President Responds To “Endangered” Blog Post

Guilford College President Responds To “Endangered” Blog Post


As a regular visitor to Guilford College, undoubtedly you have
witnessed the impact a liberal arts education rooted in Quaker values has on students. I think you would agree the world needs Guilford graduates more today than ever. That’s why we’re working overtime to make sure this important college not only survives but thrives for future generations.

Guilford president Jane Fernandes, center.

We grieve for our friends at Sweet Briar as they close their college. At Guilford, we are proactive. Recently, we took concrete steps to align our expenses with current and anticipated revenues. But that is only the first phase of a community-wide, multi-year effort that will include revenue-generating initiatives under new and inspired enrollment and marketing leadership. We have a powerful story to tell about student outcomes, and we will make a strong appeal to students and families who will benefit from a Guilford education and want to invest in it.

Here’s how you and others can help: Spread the word to high school students and their families about the life-transforming, Quaker-based liberal arts education available at Guilford College. Let them know we are working to make Guilford as affordable as possible, and that the value of the investment a family makes in this College results not only in graduates who are critical thinkers but in ones who are prepared for immediate employment or graduate school. By the way, our job placement rate for graduates is 85% according to our latest survey against a national average of 58%.

And for those who have both vision and means, support Guilford philanthropically. This, too, is a wise investment. If you believe in the value of Quaker education, support Guilford and schools like it. This is a way to ensure that this unique, valuable educational experience is available to students and their families for many years to come.

Chuck, you have dedicated your life to action for social justice. Help us inspire Quakers and others who care about Quaker education to preserve the best educational opportunity out there today!  Way will open.

Jane K. Fernandes


A Blogger’s Footnote: Much as I admire Guilford as a Quaker outpost, I’m not in a position to sign up as a college booster or promoter. I encourage ideas and discussion here (and elsewhere): Friends, what can make sure Guilford will “survive & thrive”?