We’ve gotten into the habit of visiting Howell’s Living History Farm up in Mercer County, N.J., a few times a year as part of homeschooler group trips. In the past, we’ve cut ice, tapped trees for maple syrup, and seen the sheep shearing and carding. Today we saw the various stages of wheat – from planting, to harvesting, threshing, winnowing, grinding, and baking. I love that there’s such a wide vocabulary of specific language for all this – words I barely know outside of biblical parables (“Oh wheat from chaff!”) and that there’s great vintage machinery (Howell’s operations are set around the turn of the twentieth century).
Last year, the kids and I made a framed handprint collage-like present for Julie and Mothers Day (right). This year I followed it up with a folksy photo of each of the kids holding up hand-drawn letters spelling out “LOVE.” This was inspired by this 2009 post on a blog called The Inadvertent Farmer.
The first step was getting pictures of each kid with a letter. It wasn’t too bad as I just had to take enough to get each one looking cute.
A trickier task was finding a frame to display four pictures. It took the third store before I lucked out. Because of the timing, I had actually printed the pictures before I had the frame and so had fingers crossed that the size would work.
Once made, the absolute hardest was getting a group shot of the kids with Julie holding it!
We’re extending the deadline for the August issue on Quaker Spaces. We’ve got some really interest articles coming in – especially geeky things in architecture and the theology of our classic meetinghouses.
So far our prospective pieces are weighted toward East Coast and classic meetinghouse architecture. I’d love to see pieces on non-traditional worship spaces. I know there newly purpose-built meetinghouses, adaptations of pre-existing structures, and new takes on the Quaker impulse to not be churchy. And worship is where we’re gathered, not necessarily where we’re mortgaged: tell us about your the rented library room, the chairs set up on the beach, the room in the prison worship group…
Fascinating article breaking down the stats on alcohol use in the Washington Post in 2014.
Here are the two pieces that strike me: The “top 10 percent of drinkers account for over half of the alcohol consumed in any given year” and this top 10 represents people who drink an average of 10 drinks per day.
I’m not a teetotaler and I’m glad stats also show that most Americans are light on the alcohol — 30 percent don’t drink and another 30 percent are moderate. But 10 drinks per day average is a serious alcohol problem — with serious social implications and costs. Half of the industry profits come from these drinkers. The article quotes an expert:
If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent.”
I played hooky yesterday to join a family field trip to the Atlantic City Aquarium along with a group of homeschool families. Horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, sting rays and…. rocks in the water. All lots of fun. Pictures up on Flickr.
Craig Barnett tries to define Friends:
“I want to suggest that there is a living tradition of spiritual teaching and practice that makes up the Quaker Way, which is not defined by a particular social group, behavioural norms, or even values and beliefs.”
As usual Craig clearly articulates his premise: that Friends have become something of a content-less, lowest-common-denominator group that fears making belief statements that some of our membership would object to.
I agree with most of his analysis, though I would add some pieces. I don’t think one can understand what it means to be a Quaker today without looking at different types of definitions. Belief and practices is one part but so is self-identification (which is not necessarily membership). We are who we are but we also aren’t. There’s a deeper reality in not being able to separate Quaker philosophy from the people who are Quaker.
In this light, I do wish that Craig hadn’t resorted to using the jargony “Quaker Way” ten times in a short piece. For those who haven’t gotten the memo, liberal Friends are no longer supposed to say “Quakerism” (which implies a tradition and practice that is not necessarily the denominator of our member’s individual theologies) but instead use the vaguer “Quaker Way.” In my observation, it’s mostly a bureaucratic preference: we want to imply there is substance but don’t want to actually name it for fear of starting a fight. Contentless language has become its own art form, one that can suck the air out of robust discussions. A truly-vital living tradition should be able to speak in different accents.