Summer project: making Goop!

From 1,444 Fun Things to Do with Kids comes goop. Start with 8 ounces of white glue, food col­or­ing, water, and borax.

Com­bine glue, three-fourths cup water, and food col­or­ing in one bowl. In anoth­er bowl, mix one-fourth cup water with one table­spoon Borax, and add this to the first bowl, stir­ring until it forms a Goop ball. Remove the ball. Again com­bine one-fourth cup water with one table­spoon Borax and mix it into the glue mix­ture, stir­ring until anoth­er Goop ball forms. Keep repeat­ing the process until the glue mix­ture is gone. Then knead all the Goop balls togeth­er. Now you’re ready to play by pulling and pat­ting the Goop into strings and unique forms. Store the Goop in an air­tight con­tain­er.

We only real­ly man­aged one-round of Goop (see video). We also couldn’t find any food col­or­ing on-hand and so made white Goop.

Remembering George Willoughby

There’s a nice remem­brance of George Willough­by by the Brandy­wine Peace Community’s Bob Smith over on the War Resisters Inter­na­tion­al site. George died a few days ago at the age of 95 [updat­ed]. It’s hard not to remem­ber his favorite quip as he and his wife Lil­lian cel­e­brat­ed their 80th birth­days: “twen­ty years to go!” Nei­ther of them made it to 100 but they cer­tain­ly lived fuller lives than the aver­age cou­ple.

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George in 2002, from War Resisters Inter­na­tion­al

I don’t know enough of the details of their lives to write the obit­u­ary (a Wikipedia page was start­ed this morn­ing) but I will say they always seemed to me like the For­rest Gump’s of peace activism – at the cen­ter of every cool peace wit­ness since 1950. You squint to look at the pho­tos at there’s George and Lil, always there. Or maybe pop music would give us the bet­ter anal­o­gy: you know how there are entire b-rate bands that carve an entire career around end­less­ly rehash­ing a par­tic­u­lar Bea­t­les song? Well, there are whole activist orga­ni­za­tions that are built around par­tic­u­lar cam­paigns that the Willoughby’s cham­pi­oned. Like: in 1958 George was a crew mem­ber of the Gold­en Rule (pro­filed a bit here), a boat­load of crazy activists who sailed into a Pacif­ic nuclear bomb test to dis­rupt it. Twelve years lat­er some Van­cou­ver activists stage a copy­cat boat sail­ing which became Green­peace. Lil­lian was con­cerned about ris­ing vio­lence against women and start­ed one of the first Take Back the Nightmarch­es. If you’ve ever sat in an activist meet­ing where everyone’s using con­sen­sus, then you’ve been influ­enced by the Willoughby’s!

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The Gold­en Rule, 1959, from the Swarth­more Peace Col­lec­tion.

For many years I lived deeply embed­ded in com­mu­ni­ties co-founded by the Willough­bys. There’s a recent inter­view with George Lakey about the found­ing of Move­ment for a New Soci­ety that he and they helped cre­ate. In the 1990s I liked to say how I lived “in its ruins,” work­ing at the pub­lish­ing house, liv­ing in a coop house and get­ting my food from the coop that all grew out of MNS. I got to know the Willough­bys through Cen­tral Philadel­phia meet­ing but also as friends. It was a treat to vis­it their house in Dept­ford, NJ — it adjoined a wildlife sanc­tu­ary they helped pro­tect against the strip-mall sprawl that is the rest of that town. I last saw George a few months ago, and while he had a bit of trou­ble remem­ber­ing who I was, that irre­press­ible smile and spir­it were very strong!

When news of George’s pass­ing start­ed buzzing around the net I got a nice email from Howard Clark, who’s been very involved with War Resisters Inter­na­tion­al for many years. It was a real blast-from-the-past and remind­ed me how lit­tle I’m involved with all this these days. The Philadel­phia office of New Soci­ety Pub­lish­ers went under in 1995 and a few years ago I final­ly dropped the Non​vi​o​lence​.org project that I had start­ed to keep the orga­niz­ing going.

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George at Fort Gulick in Pana­ma (undat­ed), also from Swarth­more.

I’ve writ­ten before that one of the clos­est modern-day suc­ces­sor to the Move­ment for a New Soci­ety is the so-called New Monas­tic move­ment – explic­it­ly Chris­t­ian but focused on love and char­i­ty and often very Quaker’ish. Our cul­ture of sec­u­lar Quak­erism has kept Friends from get­ting involved and shar­ing our decades of expe­ri­ence. Now that Shane Clai­borne is being invit­ed to seem­ing­ly every lib­er­al Quak­er venue, maybe it’s a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to look back on our own lega­cy. Friends like George and Lil­lian helped invent this form.

I miss the strong sense of com­mu­ni­ty I once felt. Is there a way we can com­bine MNS & the “New Monas­tic” move­ment into some­thing explic­it­ly reli­gious and pub­lic that might help spread the good news of the Inward Christ and inspire a new wave of lefty peacenik activism more in line with Jesus’ teach­ings than the xeno­pho­bic crap that gets spewed by so many “Chris­t­ian” activists? With that, anoth­er plug for the work­shop Wess Daniels and I are doing in May at Pen­dle Hill: “New Monas­tics and Cov­er­gent Friends.” If money’s a prob­lem there’s still time to ask your meet­ing to help get you there. If that doesn’t work or dis­tance is a prob­lem, I’m sure we’ll be talk­ing about it more here in the com­ments and blogs.

2010 update: David Alpert post­ed a nice remem­brance of George.

August 2013 updates from the pages of Friends Jour­nal: The Gold­en Rule Shall Sail Again and Expand­ing Old Pine Farm.

The bishop gets THAT LOOK

I’ve been busy with work late­ly and much of my free time has been spent help­ing Julie and the Savest​marys​.net coali­tion. St. Mary’s is one of about six­ty South Jer­sey Catholic church­es the bish­op is try­ing to close down and replace with smi­ly hap­py Megachurch­es. I’m still not going Catholic on you all, I just don’t like short-sighted reli­gious bureau­crats with secret agen­das, and I like places and peo­ple and church­es with roots and his­to­ry.

On Tues­day night Bish­op Galante and his posse came to vis­it St Mary’s and were greet­ed by an over­flow crowd. He came with charts and a game show host of a priest for MC who tried to start the meet­ing with a pasted-on smile and crowd-control speak­ing rules. The St Mary’s parish­ioners were hav­ing none of it. There were over five hun­dred peo­ple in the pews ask­ing why the Bish­op want­ed to shut down a church with sound finances, an impas­sioned priest, an involved laity and the where­with­al to con­tin­ue anoth­er hun­dreds years.

“Vibrant” has become the Bishop’s stock answer, his new favorite code word. Like a Pres­i­dent backpedal­ing on the ratio­nales of an unpop­u­lar war, his spokes­peo­ple have admit­ted under pres­sure of evi­dence and easy solu­tions that the clo­sures aren’t due to a priest short­age,  finan­cial prob­lems at the tar­get­ed church­es, or the lack of lay par­tic­i­pa­tion and involve­ment. The only expla­na­tion the bish­op can offer for clo­sure is “vibran­cy.” But every time he tries to define “vibrant” he ends up describ­ing St. Mary’s and dozens of oth­er local church­es he wants to close.

There’s obvi­ous­ly more to the def­i­n­i­tion than he’d like to share. One parish­ioner asked whether he thought a small church was even capa­ble of dis­play­ing the “vibran­cy” he demands. He refused to answer, which sug­gests we’ve final­ly dug down to a real answer. His fix for South Jer­sey is Megachurch­es that cop strate­gies from the Evan­gel­i­cal move­ment and con­sol­i­date pow­er more close­ly in the dioce­san offices. 

The bish­op gave the church-saving move­ment its best metaphor when he dis­par­aged the lit­tle church­es he wants to shut­ter as “Wawa church­es.” Read­ers from out­side the Mid-Atlantic region might know that Wawa is a local con­ve­nience store chain but that’s like say­ing water is a com­mon chem­i­cal com­pound. You can’t dri­ve more than twen­ty min­utes with­out pass­ing three Wawas. South Jer­sians prac­ti­cal­ly live there. The bish­op might was well con­demn moth­er­hood, base­ball and apple pie if he’s going to take on South Jersey’s Wawa.

One dis­grun­tled “Catholic in name only” cam­paign sup­port­er rose to reclaim the Wawa label, say­ing that all these lit­tle church­es were indeed like Wawa: ubiq­ui­tous, open at all hours, with good food that brought peo­ple in. The bish­op obvi­ous­ly prefers the Wal­mart mod­el: big box, big park­ing lot, hid­den Eucharists, gameshow-host priests and clowns for music direc­tors (seri­ous­ly: check out this post of Julie’s and scroll down to the Great­est Amer­i­can Hero dude). I’m not sure why some­one who dis­likes Catholic cul­ture so much would want to become a priest and I’m real­ly not sure why some­one who dis­likes South Jer­sey cul­ture so much would agree to be its bish­op. One blog­ger recent­ly wrote “I have gone through enough merg­ers and con­sol­i­da­tions to know one thing
is true: reduc­tions in man­pow­er and assets are made for tighter
con­trol” which sounds like as good an expla­na­tion as any oth­er I’ve heard. Pow­er and mon­ey: same as it ever was. 

I was fol­low­ing the kids around out­side for much of what turned into a speak-out ses­sion but I got to see twen­ty sec­onds of my wife Julie’s tes­ti­mo­ny on the Fox affiliate’s 10 o’clock news. Julie had THAT LOOK when address­ing the bish­op. It’s a look I know too well, it’s a look that means “I’m right, I know it, and I’m not back­ing down.” If I’ve learned any­thing over the course of the last sev­en years of mar­riage it’s that I don’t stand a chance when Julie gives me THAT LOOK: it’s time to con­cede that yes she is right, because any oth­er option will just pro­long the pain and delay the inevitable. I saw hun­dreds of peo­ple giv­ing the bish­op that same look last night.

It’s nice to see South Jer­sey stand­ing up to an out­sider who hates its cul­ture and wants to force change for the sake of his own pow­er and prof­it. We get a lot of it down here. The pow­er guys usu­al­ly end up win­ning: the woods get chain­sawed and the farm­lands buried under vast expans­es of gener­ic box stores and cookie-cutter McMan­sions financed by Philly mon­ey and greased by the pro-development laws of North Jer­sey politi­cians. I could be wrong, but after this week I don’t think the bish­op stands a chance. The ques­tion now is how long he’s going to pro­long his . And how many church­es will he suc­ceed in tak­ing down in the name of “vibrance?”

Health E Retailers

A site put togeth­er by two con­sul­tants to the nat­ur­al food indus­try. All pages were editable by a Mov­able Type pow­ered con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem. A notable fea­ture was a e-commerce sub­scrip­tion func­tion with pri­vate log-in pages. This con­sul­tan­cy busi­ness was closed in May 2008 and the site was tak­en down.

Yummy eats en route to Ohio

Yummy eats en route to Ohio
More back blog­ging from our Ohio trip, this pho­to from a veg­an eatery a few miles off a rur­al Penn­syl­va­nia turn­pike exit. Prices were steep and the home­made non-dairy ice cream serv­ings small but we ate every­thing from our plates.

Pho­to: Veg­an food & messy boy at Maggie’s Mer­can­tile off exit 91 of the Pen­na Turn­pike, an hour or so east of Pitts­burgh. Enlarged pho­to.