Liz (Betsy) Klein(top) aka Mom

My mom Liz just passed away tonight. It’s not unexpected. And sadly, given her health, it’s perhaps not even so tragic; she’s been declining for years from Alzheimer’s and all but stopped eating in recent weeks. I’m sure I’ll find voice to tell some stories in the months ahead, but for now I’ll share some pictures. She would have turned 85 next month.

A note about names: she was born in late summer 1930 as Elizabeth Ann Kleintop. In her adult life she went as Betsy and took the last names of her partners. In her late 60s she decided to take back a variation of her last name and overnight Betsy Kelley became Liz Klein.

My privacy and your transparency

My privacy and your transparency. A nice essay from Johan Maurer that weaves together Edward Snowden, shawdowy government officials, protest movement, taxes, Christianity… and the uses and abuses of transparency:

Daniel Webster asserted, and Justice Marshall agreed, that the power to tax is the power to destroy. The power to violate privacy is similarly coercive, which brings us back to the issue of trust. I want to live a transparent life, and I (usually) don’t mind being observed to be doing so. But an uninvited observation that is ultimately for the purpose of compelling my obedience, or tracking my relationships with others, or enforcing political uniformity, is completely unacceptable.

Spiritual Nurture & Advancement

Spiritual Nurture & Advancement. Steven Davison continues is “Quaker-pocalpyse” series with a piece on naming the spiritual gifts of those in our meetings.

I fear, however, that most of our meetings do not try to name our members’ spiritual gifts or nurture them in any proactive way. Too often we are left to our own devices when it comes to maturing in the life of the spirit. As a result, the collective life of the spirit, the spiritual maturity of the meeting, suffers.

C. Wess Daniels and Remixing the Quaker Way

C. Wess Daniels and Remixing the Quaker Way. Brent Bill reviews Wess’s new book:

Here’s why I think Wess’ book bears reading. It’s an articulate, accessible analysis of the current state of North American (primarily) Quakerism. He also provides a cogent portrayal of the participatory and remixing nature of early Quakerism and why it had an such an impact on culture, faith, and life.

Are Quakers Capable of Planting Churches?

Are Quakers Capable of Planting Churches?. Micah Bales starts a fascinating discussion about new Quaker meetings:

Perhaps the Religious Society of Friends, broadly speaking, simply doesn’t have the body mass to lend its strength to new efforts like ours. Could it be that the only way for Friends of Jesus to come to life is through integration and collaboration with other, more robust and mission-oriented communities, beyond the Quaker fold?

Lady Grantham would not be amused

Pentatomidae01At work today we had those lovely internal head-scratching questions on whether the common name of the insects of the pentatomidae family is one word (stinkbugs) or two (stink bugs). Yes, yes, sometimes even Quaker thought and life today includes these horrors.

Our house dictionary (the American Heritage College Dictionary, 4th edition) unambiguously declares it a single word, which would normally end the conversation, but pretty much every other source says two. The proscriptively-correct response is to clutch for dear life to that book and delete the space. But when Wikipedia and state ag college extension offices alike seem to prefer the two words, insisting on the dictionary seems unnecessarily pendantic.

I half-wondered if this might in retrospect be seen as another step on the road to officially endorsing Wikipedia as our house dictionary. If I were the Dowager Countess of Grantham, I’d come up with a quippy line about this being how civilizations crumble.

NYTimes video remembers the 1965 Selma James Reeb attack

One of the white ministers with James Reeb in the 1965 attack that helped propel the Voting Rights Act remembers the night.

He also reflects on the value of white lives vs. black lives for national attention in the Civil Rights Movement. While the actual Selma march was protesting the killing of black civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson by a state trooper, national outrage focused on the visiting white minister.

In 1967, Dr. King noted, “The failure to mention Jimmy [sic] Jackson only reinforced the impression that to white Americans the life of a Negro is insignificant and meaningless.”

Don’t miss Gail Whiffen Coyle’s overview of contemporary Friends Journal coverage of Selma on our website.