Three day walk to #protectthepinelands ?

map
I’ve just learned that a bunch of New Eng­land Quak­ers and con­cerned friends are going to be doing a march across much of Mass­a­chu­setts and New Hamp­shire along the route of a pro­posed gas pipeline they oppose. It’s a 12 day walk, which is pretty impres­sive.

What if all of the peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions incensed about the South Jer­sey Pinelands pipeline and the Barr nom­i­na­tion and the pol­i­tics behind it did some­thing like this? 

A walk from Mil­lville to the B.L. Eng­land plant in Beesley Point would take a long week­end. It’s 26 miles, which is three easy days if we want to stop to do cool things. It’d be easy to live blog it on Twit­ter, Insta­gram, Face­book, Meerkat. South Jer­sey Gas has already mapped the route for us and the logis­tics of two overnight cam­pouts and food should be rel­a­tively sim­ple. Doing this would bring atten­tion in a way that would cut through the polit­i­cal rhethoric to really show why this is a nat­ural won­der­land worth pro­tect­ing.

This is just idle spec­u­la­tion but it seems doable. Who’s in? Leave a com­ment below or tweet at me or even try email.

Desert temptations


Yes­ter­day I was home with the kids on comp time and got to par­tic­i­pate in their reli­gion ses­sion (my wife keeps them to a sched­ule in the sum­mers and reli­gion makes for a quiet half hour mid­day).

My 9 year old was read­ing the pas­sage of Jesus’s temp­ta­tion in the desert found in Matthew 4. I find it such a relat­able story. No, no one with pointy ears and a red tail has offered me a king­dom lately, but there are a num­ber of nor­mal human ele­ments nonethe­less.

To start with, Jesus is fast­ing and liv­ing with­out shel­ter for forty days. I know I become less of the per­son I want to be when I’m hun­gry, tired, and stressed. The tempter also prof­fers a test to see if God cares. That too is famil­iar: how often do we want some­thing from close fam­ily and friends but hold back to see if it’s offered. “Oh, if they really cared I wouldn’t have to remind them.” We do this with God too, con­fus­ing chang­ing states of for­tune with divine favor rather than wel­com­ing even hard times as a oppor­tu­nity for growth and under­stand­ing.

One of my favorite parts of the Lord’s Prayer is the plea that we not even be led to temp­ta­tion. There’s a cer­tain humil­ity to that. Jesus might be able to resist the sweet promises of the tempter even when cold and hun­gry, but I’d rather skip the tests. 

It’s hard enough liv­ing in this world in a state of humil­ity and coöper­a­tion. None of us are per­fect, start­ing with me, and we all cer­tainly have plenty of room to grow. But it’s nice to know that we don’t have to face the tempter alone. God knows just how hard it can be and has our back. 

Resurrection with the Cross and Rabbi

Of course, that is not the part of the story that moti­vates me. I am not seek­ing to be abused and betrayed, let down by my best friends and hunted by those in power. I may rec­og­nize the neces­sity of suf­fer­ing, but by no means do I seek it out. I think most of us grav­i­tate towards the tri­umphant vic­tory and joy of Jesus\’ res­ur­rec­tion

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So here’s a G+ question

It seems cir­cles are curated only by their cre­ator. What is some cir­cles were pub­licly listed with an opt-in but­ton for recip­i­ents (with an optional approval step by the cir­cle cre­ator).

Here’s the exam­ple: a lot of my photo stream is end­less pic­tures of cute kids. Face­book friends who have friended me for other top­ics have to wade through that col­lec­tion. Some actu­ally like them – our friend­ships aren’t sin­gle issue and they appre­ci­ate glimpses of the rest of my life. But with G+ it’s my job to fig­ure out which issue friends might want to be kid pic­ture friends. I don’t want to put them on a list they don’t like and essen­tially spam them. Is there any G+ fea­tures I might use? 

Google+: View post on Google+

Wow and now FB has video chat

It’s a fast-moving week. https://​www​.face​book​.com/​v​i​d​e​o​c​a​l​l​ing

Embed­ded Link

Face­book
Face­book is a social util­ity that con­nects peo­ple with friends and oth­ers who work, study and live around them. Peo­ple use Face­book to keep up with friends, upload an unlim­ited num­ber of pho­tos, post … 

Google+: View post on Google+

Dusting off the Elders of Balby

One of the blue­prints for Quaker com­mu­nity is the “Epis­tle from the Elders at Balby” writ­ten in 1656 at the very infancy of the Friends move­ment by a gath­er­ing of lead­ers from York­shire and North Mid­lands, Eng­land.

It’s the pre­cur­sor to Faith and Prac­tice, as it out­lines the rela­tion­ship between indi­vid­u­als and the meet­ing. If remem­bered at all today, it’s for its post­script, a para­phrase of 2 Corinthi­ans that warns read­ers not to treat this as a form to wor­ship and to remain liv­ing in the light which is pure and holy. That post­script now starts off most lib­eral Quaker books of Faith and Prac­tice.

But the Epis­tle itself is well worth dust­ing off. It addresses wor­ship, min­istry, mar­riage, and how to deal in meek­ness and love with those walk­ing “dis­or­derly.” It talks of how to sup­port fam­i­lies and take care of mem­bers who were impris­oned or in need. Some of it’s lan­guage is a lit­tle stilted and there’s some talk of the role of ser­vants that most mod­ern Friend would object to. But over­all, it’s a remark­ably lucid, prac­ti­cal and rel­e­vant doc­u­ment. It’s also short: just over two pages.

One of the things I hear again and again from Friends is the desire for a deeper com­mu­nity of faith. Younger Friends are espe­cially drawn toward the so-called “New Monas­tic” move­ment of tight com­mu­nal liv­ing. The Balby Epis­tle is a glimpse into how an ear­lier gen­er­a­tion of Friends addressed some of these same con­cerns.

ONLINE EDITIONS OF THE EPISTLE AT BALBY:
Quaker Her­itage Press: qhpress​.org/​t​e​x​t​s​/​b​a​l​b​y​.​h​tml
Street Cor­ner Soci­ety: strecor​soc​.org/​d​o​c​s​/​b​a​l​b​y​.​h​tml
Wik­isource: en​.wik​isource​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​T​h​e​_​E​p​i​s​t​l​e​_​f​r​o​m​_​t​h​e​_​E​l​d​e​r​s​_​a​t​_​B​a​l​b​y​,​_​1​656

DISCUSSIONS:
Brook­lyn Quaker post & dis­cus­sion (2005): brook​lyn​quaker​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​0​5​/​0​3​/​e​l​d​e​r​s​-​a​t​-​b​a​l​b​y​.​h​tml

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.

3
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.