Death will come to us all. But one Friend, Peg Morton, decided to come to it.
The new issue of Quaker Theology (#28) is now out, both in print and now online, here. A feature of the issue is a series of three accounts/reflections on Peg Morton’s chosen death, last Twelfth Month (December.)
Peg was 85, a longtime activist Friend, with numerous arrests on her record. And last fall she seemed ready to continue working for her various causes.
But when she announced to her meeting, in a special called session, that her next witness would be her last — well, you need to read the pieces to gauge the impact.
Norman’s Triumph: The Transcendent Language of Self-Immolation
Quaker Norman Morrison’s act of self-sacrifice –burning himself to death on the steps of the Pentagon on November 2, 1965, in protest of the Vietnam War — was shocking, unforgettable, has been written about extensively.
I’m long since used to being a stereotype: straight white male, heterosexual; middle class. Of course, I can put an asterisk and a “Yes, but –” after each of these; yet, at the same time, they’re useful: they ease the quick categorizations I think most of us make many times every day.
Sure, they are also hooks for prejudices, mine and others; but while broad-brush, none of these is actually inaccurate: I AM all those things, more or less. So mostly I don’t sweat it.
My, how time flies, when you’re having fun. (And even when you’re not.) This month, December 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of my coming among Friends. And much of that whole ongoing adventure can, for this purpose, be boiled down to four things:
A knock on the door; Getting “The Letter”; Riding the bus; and Getting on with it.
Memorial Minute for Katharine “Kat” Royal: January 28, 1982 – October 23, 2015
[Read at her memorial service in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, October31, 2015.]
I’m a Quaker, and at our memorial meetings, Quakers have a custom of preparing and reading what’s called a Memorial Minute. These sound in one way like biographical sketches, and so they are.
But there is a deeper dimension to them for us than simple chronology or the succession of dates and facts. That’s because of an advice that has come down to us from our founders; that advice is to “let your life preach.”