Hi there,

I wouldn't even post except that I'm waiting for two copies of my talking points for tomorrow's Housing Leadership Day event to print. Then I can give one to our board chair for the parts that maybe he could say and I don't have to. Oh, it's nine pages. It includes two jokes:

Q: Why did the chicken cross the playground?
A: To get to the other slide!

Knock Knock. Who's there? Cowzgo. Cowzgo who? No, cows go "moo"!

Don't worry: They're in there as filler. I'll only use 'em if I have to.

Today Robin's car almost broke down. She was able to get it fixed nearby and done in time to pick the kids up at school. In between I think she went to our meeting's vigil for peace and justice. I'm not sure -- I haven't read her blog today. ;)

Early this week my mother was hospitalized with an illness that got more complicated than it had to. It was a bit scary. My oldest sister is with her this week, my middle sister goes next week, and I may go the week after that. We're not quite sure how much convalescing she'll have to do.

Meanwhile, the same day that's unfolding, we get word at work that a major donor is likely to come through with a really generous gift. And we can't tell anybody yet.

Then yesterday we had a board meeting for the local housing trust fund, which went well. I felt frustrated not to be able to talk about the (potential) major gift, let me tell ya! Of course, it hasn't happened yet, either!

Okay, printing's done. Gotta go. Fortunately, I've been praying a lot and fairly centered. God really can hold whatever we put there for God to hold....


David Yount on letting one's life speak

I've been reading David Yount's book, How the Quakers Invented America, which I blogged once already. It's much more about Quakers and less about their impact on the United States of America than I expected from the title. There's some of the cultural history, but a lot of it is explaining in more detail about who the Friends are. It is a pretty good summary of contemporary Quakerism, though I just wasn't expecting it. Here's a passage that struck me as important:

In modern times many sincere men and women have lost the ability to tune in to God’s promptings, yet they sense a void in their lives that can be filled only by something or someone greater than themselves. ... For those still seeking, Friends have a friendly door on which to knock.

Get a group of Quakers to start talking about God, and God himself may have trouble recognizing himself in the discussion. Whereas Jesus promised that “wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20), Friends patiently acknowledge that whenever two or three Quakers get together, there must be five different opinions.

On one thing all Friends agree. In the words of George Fox, “Let your lives speak,” a reiteration of Jesus’ wisdom about people that “by their fruits you shall know them.” The Quaker faith is one of experience and effort rather than speculation. Friends are tested by action.

-- From David Yount, How the Quakers Invented America, page 110

Given Yount's self-professed Christian viewpoint, it's a healthy, inclusive view, if perhaps overly glib, and it also acknowledges the Christian roots of sayings such as, "Let your lives speak."


Collage: cultural pointers and a 100th birthday in Pasadena

Some things on my mind tonight and last night:

- Forrest Church, So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State, 2007 (ISBN 978-0151011858)
--- heard him interviewed on the radio, really interesting!

- Minutemen - Political Song, Have you ever seen the rain, from "Three-Way Tie for Last"
--- found it near my stash of Mekons LPs. Wow. So timely and relevant, just switch out "Guatemala" and insert "Iraq" or "Afghanistan."

- "No End in Sight" - KPFA was playing the soundtrack as part of their membership drive. Amazing, open critiques from former Administration insiders -- diplomats, generals, and bureaucrats. Go see it if you can, and check out the website either way:

- Orange Grove Monthly Meeting's 100th anniversary is next weekend! Happy birthday, Friends!


Found it: How the Quakers Invented America

Found it. How the Quakers Invented America. By religion columnist David Yount.

I wanted it last night for my "introduction to Quakerism" talk at the Friends School. It didn't happen. Buying the book, that is; the talk happened, and it was fine.

On a whim I stopped at the Borders at the mall on the way home. Nothin'. Their only store in the region that had a copy was in Union Square, in downtown S.F. Well, I don't usually go downtown any more, so I didn't have the staffer place a hold on that copy.

However, I just happened to have a meeting near there this morning. So in I went, and there it was. Bingo! Cover blurb by author and blogger Brent Bill!

(Yes, I know I should support www.quakerbooks.org and my now-only-semi-local-since-we-moved bookstore. I've created handy-dandy links to the Quaker Books page so you can order it there yourself.)

In addition to his column for Scripps Howard, Yount has written several other books. He also wrote an article for Quaker Life in March 2002 called "Why Did Quakers Stop Quaking?"

While I'd like to tell you more about the book, I'd have to actually read it first. So stay tuned... Gotta go!

- - - - -
PS Did you know Gen. Smedley Butler, author of War is a Racket, was raised a Quaker? One of his nicknames was "the Fighting Quaker" -- ugh. On a second whim for the evening, I looked him up on Wikipedia, and there it was. Apparently President Herbert Hoover and he didn't get along. Was it partly because of the Quaker connection?

PPS Peggy Senger Parsons, when are you going to publish a book of your columns? Hmmm? Hmmm?

6th anniversary of Peace Vigil in S.F.

From MarkleyM:

Please help us observe the sixth anniversary of the vigil. From noon to 1:00 this Thursday we will be on the corner of Larkin Street and Golden Gate Avenue at the old San Francisco federal building. To observe the anniversary AFSC's Cost of the Iraq War banners will return and we will also have seven new signs and a new leaflet.

Here is a photo from last Thursday.
While we vigiled the Blue Angels streaked by, as they do every year, filling the air with ear-piercing shrieks. One man on the sidewalk shook his fist. Another said, "At least they're not dropping bombs," and a woman left the vigil because she couldn't bear the sound and what it stands for. But mostly people stared at the sky. A line from an old Pete Seeger song came to me, "When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?"

And as you can see the mystery landscaping continues. The chain link fences were still with us but now in fancy dress - green-black covers providing a somber background for our vigil. I wonder what these covers are there to hide.

I hope you can be with us for the anniversary. And every Thursday.

In peace, Markley


Hardly Strictly Mekons

So there I was… bringing two young boys through the hazy, smoky air of a crowd in Golden Gate Park when I spotted Robin M. and Friends halfway across the crowd. Yet I couldn’t see where to cross from the walkway into the people and begin the odyssey of stepping gingerly between toes and hands, on blankets, and around lawn chairs, to get to our own family’s blanket at the during the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

Then, bless her heart, Robin popped up at our sides. She’s a foot shorter than I am, and wasn’t carrying an adult backpack, a child’s backpack, and a cooler, and so she was able to navigate the crowd better. Plus she was coming from the inside out, which is just easier.

Anyway, she said I was free to go see the Mekons, bless her heart yet again. So I went.

If you don’t know about them, the Mekons started in the “do-it-yourself” phase of punk rock, immediately post-Sex Pistols, in Leeds, England. They’ve continued playing in various forms off and on since, with a hard-edged honky-tonk rock and roll style being the best way I can describe them. Hank Williams meets the (early) Clash. But better songwriters than the Clash.

Anyway, I arrived and they were singing a song about Quakers and Ranters and Muggletonians!! How appropriate is that?!?

Turns out it was "Thee olde trip to Jerusalem," which I'd never heard before:
"With the Ranters and the Quakers and the Fabians
"William Blake, William Morris, Tony Benn
"The Levellers and the Diggers and the Muggletonians"

They were all sitting down, which led to some geriatrics jokes. The drummer was simply thumping a case. Tom Greenhalgh was playing an electric bazouki (unless it was an oud, but I don't think so) -- at one point with a slide! Not every band plays slide electric bazouki, now, do they??

Another song was about going for rambles in the hills of the U.K. The song had something to do with the end of the world, rhyming “ramble” with “scramble” of fighter jets in a final cataclysm of warfare. This was also appropriate, because the Blue Angels were also in San Francisco this week and flew over the festival periodically, completely drowning out the musicians. Jon Langford, guitarist and front man, shook his fist at the sky as he sang the lines. He also pranced and danced back and forth like Mick Jagger, did a bit of Slavic folk dancing, then did a turn as an Irish dancer in whatever that popular show was from a few years ago.

(On Saturday, during the Flatlanders’ set – also really good – when the planes flew over, there were many shaken fists and a fair number of one-fingered salutes from the crowd. Only in San Francisco! Today they flew over during Doc Watson’s set, and people cheered a lot more. They seemed happy about it. Oh, well.)

They also dug back over 15 years to “Death of American Astronauts,” a newer one called “Hole in the Ground” (I think), and “Perfect Mirror” from their newest album, The Natural.

My favorite, though, was “Oblivion,” sung by Sally Timms, from their 1986 album, The Edge of the World. Wow!

The chorus always speaks deeply to me:
“You’ve always known and always remember
“Then you forget you’ve always known”

Isn’t this a bit like the journey through life with God? When I remember to check back in with the Source, the Way, the Truth, I realize I’ve always known we could be that connected. And then I forget I’ve always known. And so it goes. The cycle of remembering and forgetting. May I remember more than I forget.


Blogging for a Free Burma 10/04/2007

Free Burma!

Okay, so it's minimal. It's what I can do at this time. The following is from the Free Burma website, www.free-burma.org, which I found out about through the Facebook group, "Support the Monks' protest in Burma":

Take part in this action for a Free Burma!

1. Publish a posting (Bulletin Board, Forum, Blog, Social Network, Static Website…) on the 4th of October with the header: “Free Burma!”

2. Tag it if you can with “Free Burma”

3. Choose a grafic from our Grafics page and

4. Link to www.free-burma.org there your readers will find some informations about the campaign and Burma and a participant list which you can join. Even if you're a webmaster of a bulletin board or social network you will find a special Group List to join.

5. Feel free to write any additional text you want

If you have no website or blog we need you even more: Please help us to spread the word across the internet, tell your neighbours, friends or kids and first of all: Sign our list of participants!

Spread the word: Please help to spread the word about the Free Burma! action. Comment on blogs to promote our campaign, write website owners and forum admins to inform them, post on forums and guestbooks, tell your whole neighborhood about us.