Quaker Universalist Conversations

“Talking About God at Buchenwald”

On reading & sharing Richard Beck’s blog post

“After touring the grounds of Buchenwald and going through the crematorium, where we viewed the ovens used to burn the corpses, I walked the group over to a shady spot, the zoo built for the entertainment of the SS officers. And there I tried to talk about God.” —Richard Beck

We humans put a human face on God. Then we blame and barter with that God, having projected onto God the capacity for human action, human courage and compassion, human intervention. We ask, “Why does God allow this?”

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Rescuing Romans 13:1-7

How do we answer authoritarian use of these words?

Amid the wide global turmoil stirred by America’s current flexing of authoritarian nationalism, a deeper spiritual turmoil has been brought to light by the current administration’s use of the apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

There is a willful blindness at work in this government and its supporters, a steadfast unwillingness to acknowledge—or care—that the families fleeing to the United States from Central America are refugees seeking asylum from violence in their homelands.

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“33 Years of Resistance”

A post on war tax from Pedals and Seeds

How can I remove myself from the war economy? Jesus’ message is to drop the sword and find wholeness. Can I embody Truth — to become a clear bell — to offer concrete love? I need to take my money out of the US federal bank account. On Tax Day, April 17, 2018, I will not voluntarily pay a nickel for war.

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“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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