Quaker Universalist Conversations




“Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis”

On reading Linda Villarosa’s New York Times article

Linda Villarosa reports that not only are infant mortality rates for black infants more than double that for white infants, but that this situation is worse than in 1850. She writes that a college-educated black mother is more likely to die related to childbirth than a white mother with an 8th grade education, and points to systemic racism as being a likely root cause.

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Benjamin Lay, Quaker abolitionist

On reading Marcus Rediker’s The Fearless Benjamin Lay

I was asked by a Catholic friend if I knew Benjamin Lay, the Quaker abolitionist. I did not. She gave me an article in the September 2017 issue of the Smithsonian magazine, “The Cave Dwelling Vegan Who Took on Quaker Slavery and Won,” by Marcus Rediker.

I of course know of John Woolman, almost revered by many Friends including myself, but why had I never heard of Benjamin Lay? Indeed, Lay’s portrait, painted by William Williams in 1790, is in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

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The empty day

Reflections on the day before Easter

Some years ago I discovered that, for me, the most important day in the Christian calendar is one not even traditionally noted, that strange, empty day between Good Friday and Easter. I go out into the wilderness by myself and sit, watching and waiting. I have never physically seen or heard Jesus. In the material realm, all I have of him is the stories I have been told. Yet when I sit alone on the empty day, he is no less with me than on any other day.

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Sa’ed Atshan on the Quaker practice of embracing conflict

Excerpts from the Friends Journal interview

On March 31, 2018, Dr. Sa’ed Atshan will present the 54th Walton Lecture, “Quaker Response in Turbulent Times,” to the Southeastern Yearly Meeting (SEYM) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The December 2017 issue of Friends Journal includes Martin Kelley’s interview with Dr. Atshan, “The Challenges We Face and Community We Forge.” We are republishing excerpts with permission.

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