Embracing our enormous power4

Clark Reddy urges us to recognize our power and acknowledge the responsibility that comes with it: “Oppression is not my fault, and yet I remain responsible for the power that I have been given, even if I did not ask for it. In accordance with my sense of the Quaker testimony of integrity, I cannot know of this power that I have and of the suffering in the world and do nothing.”

Pastoral Authority in Unprogrammed Friends4

Ashley Wilcox looks at what happens to the duties of pastor in an unprogrammed meeting: In my site, Atlanta Friends Meeting, there is no pastoral staff. Paul stated that the pastoral nature of Quakerism is that the community cares for itself instead of having a designated pastor or minister to provide care. Thus, every Friend has an obligation to support the community.”

Jason Snell @jsnell looks at the rise and fall of Macworld4

A great piece. This isn’t just about one magazine in particular or even one industry in general but about the continuing shift of our attention toward screens.

Once upon a time:

Before there were tech web sites there were magazines. Once a month you’d get a new one and read it cover to cover, including all the ads, trying to glean as much information as you could… Back then, Apple would announce a raft of new products and almost nobody would know for weeks or even months. Now we all know in seconds.

The attempt to shift:

The writing has been on the wall for 20 years. When I started at MacUser in 1994 I was already publishing stuff on the Internet myself—and tried in vain to convince higher-ups that we should put up a site on this new thing called the World Wide Web.

The shift completed but insufficient:

Over the last decade we all made an enormous effort to transform Macworld editorial from a magazine mentality to a web site mentality. And honestly, it worked: By the end, the magazine was essentially a curated collection of the best stories from the web site, cut down and copy edited and with nice photographs. The economics of the business just didn’t make it possible to continue.

Why Do Quakers Have Testimonies?4

Derek Parker says we shouldn’t look at Quaker testimonies like a rulebook: “The Testimonies may influence people in terms of what we do, or do not do, but they are not simplistically a list of rules. To reduce the Testimonies to rules, is to make them into a purity code by which we measure and pass judgment on ourselves and others. And a preoccupation with passing judgment is seldom a health practice.”

The danger of false heros4

Johan Maurer on short-circuiting discernment: “False heroism demonstrates operational atheism. False heroes theoretically agree with established norms and processes in public, but behind the scenes they may be conspiring the same old way, talking with trusted allies, lining up all the ducks in a row to pre-empt the decision-making process, as if the Holy Spirit can’t be trusted to work through the larger body.”

Origin of the Quaker Star

A post on Reddit asked about the origin of the “Quaker Star,” most commonly associated in the U.S. now with the American Friends Service Committee. I dug through Friends Journal archives and found a news piece in the December 31, 1955 issue. Since it’s a question that comes up periodically I thought I’d repost the piece for modern-day Googlers:

Last November marked the 85th anniversary of the red and black Quaker star. The star was first used as a symbol by the London Daily News during the Franco-Prussian War to mark its Fund for the Relief of French Peasantry. Friends at the time were sending food wagons and ambulances to both sides, carrying the British flag on one side and the Red Cross on the other. In November 1870 the London Daily News invited Friends to share its star emblem, thus helping to reduce confusion in a situation where a half dozen emblems were in use. The original star had minor variations in color from that in current use. The present star was adopted by the American Friends Service Committee six months after its founding, in November 1917.

There’s also a 2010 blog post on the AFSC site with overlapping information.

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Romanticizing a culture but inspired nonetheless?4

QVS volunteer Hye Sung Francis on the attraction of Friends: “It is no secret that I have been interested in Quaker history and spirituality for a few years now. How George Fox, Margaret Fell, and Robert Barclay articulated the gospel of Jesus Christ does not just resonate with me but inspires me—and the same goes with their, and other Quakers’, stories.”

Bay Area AFSC newsletter profiles activist David Hartsough4

A look at a long-time Quaker activist: “I asked what being a lifelong Quaker has meant to him. He explained that Quakers try to speak out for justice and peace in the world. ‘Quakers believe that all people are created by God. We’re all children of God, so we are brothers and sisters. So we have a responsibility to one another if someone is hungry or in prison or in a war zone.’”

Boardwalk Empire author Nelson Johnson on the task ahead for Atlantic City4

The difference between then and today: at least Nucky invested in A.C. infrastructure so it’d outlast Prohibition:

Yet implicit in this experiment is that vacationers’ tastes are forever changing and so, too, must Atlantic City. Keeping the experiment flourishing, by perpetually reimagining an up-to-date resort economy, requires each generation to develop a new vision.