On Quakers and Pastors

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For three centuries, members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have regularly met to worship in extended times of silence, punctuated by vocal testimony. Anyone can share. This practice reflects the Quaker rejection of hierarchy and the belief that God can speak through any person, regardless of gender, race, or class.

But in the late nineteenth century, revivalism swept through America, and some Quaker meetings began to hire pastors to preach and teach for the benefit of new members—a practice that spread rapidly. Today many Friends meetings have pastors, and in those congregations, the sermon has largely replaced or severely limited traditional Quaker worship.

These changes have not been without controversy. There are those who feel that a professionalized clergy is incompatible with the ethos of historic Quakerism. On the other hand, there are some who believe that the pastoral system saved American Quakerism.
In this study, Derek Brown identifies patterns in Friends churches that have embraced a pastoral system, and he demonstrates how a Christ-centered Quaker pastoral theology might strengthen a church’s Quaker heritage while simultaneously increasing the effectiveness of its pastoral leadership.

As Friends seek to adapt to the needs of twenty-first-century America, they must enter into an ecclesiological conversation with their past practice, their present context, and their current condition. Consider this book a framework and guide for those discussions—the beginning of a journey.

 

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/On-Quakers-and-Pastors.html

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Quakers-Pastors-Derek-Brown/dp/1594980624/ref=sr_1_1

Resisting Empire

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The Book of Revelation as Resistance

Revelation speaks to the reality that we are caught in the fray of cosmic conflict. We are guilty. We’ve already been contaminated. But it’s not too late for us to exit empire and enter the kingdom. We are yet both victim and victimizer. We have healing work to do, and we must take responsibility for the ways in which we have benefited from and been complicit with the religion of empire. This is the truth of Revelation. God wants to liberate us in body, heart, soul, and mind.

  • Revelation reveals how scapegoating functions within empire to define its own boundaries and contours as being over and against wicked others.
  • Revelation critiques wealth and shows that even in the first century there was prophetic critique against an economic system that was based on abundance for some, while exploiting the rest.
  • Revelation demonstrates the importance of liturgy as something that forms people into the likeness of either empire or the lamb.
  • Revelation reveals an alternative social order which becomes the center of resistance rooted in a vision of what the book describes as “the multitude.”

The book of Revelation, according to C. Wess Daniels, is a resistance text for “Angelic Trouble-makers,” who must learn how to remix, understand how scapegoating functions, recognize the shaping and forming powers of liturgy, and discover the composition of the multitude…. I pastor a people who have historically been pushed to the periphery of all existence, even ontologically declared as non-human or three-fifths human. Therefore, to read the “multitude is a beautiful tapestry woven together of all humanity, with those who were lynched, those who were oppressed and victimized, at the center with the lamb. This centering of the victims and marginalized is something that is too often missed within western, white, middle-class Christianity today,” makes my soul happy. This prophetic claim of Daniels places Black people at the heart of God.
–Rev. Darryl Aaron

No other book has been as consistently and wildly misread as has John of Patmos’s visionary narrative. And yet, at the same time, no biblical book carries as much passionate power and imagery aimed at inspiring Jesus-followers to “come out” of the place of imperial violence and domination and to dwell instead in the light- and love-filled realm of God. C. Wess Daniels masterfully and clearly lays out a series of reading strategies and perspectives culled from the best of recent scholarship to invite readers into engagement with John’s vision. If you’ve been drawn to study Revelation but have been stymied as to where or how to start, you can trust Wess’s step-by-step guidance to lead you into the depth and breadth of this unique narrative.
–Wes Howard-Brook

 

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/Resisting-Empire.html

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Resisting-Empire-Book-Revelation-Resistance-ebook/dp/B07PYY7WYJ

I Was Raised in a House of Water

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to the water signs who made me
to the loves & lovers who’ve held me
to every version of my self I am trying to love 

this is how I feel the world

I was raised in a house of water is a gentle rainfall of words, each verse the soft whisper of an old friend, sharing their most patient observations, deepest longings, and wisest insights.

yes, I am here in this world 

Read these poems. Inhale each line. Find hope in the space between.

hold space for an eternal moment
may we see one another
may we see ourselves

 

juniper gives me the courage to jump off the dock or in love or into my voice. Again. I was raised in a house of water wonders at what it means to be alive in this curious world – with and despite the darkness.
Zenaida Peterson, FEM Slam

These poems draw back the curtain of the known world. They enter the territories of walkabouts and the songlines of pain, grief, and rising. They ask the question: “What is it to witness a soul?” Brimming with confused and hard love, magic, rebirth, and a changing sense of what is true, you will walk with juniper in the slow strangle of losing her voice and the flood of coming back to herself. It is a wild place she takes us, and it is filled with love for the world she lives in.
Peg Edera, author of Love Is Deeper Than Distance

juniper finds openings to the cosmos in the humble and mundane. A rocking chair, a spider, a bell pepper – juniper sees them all as a spell for connection, healing, grieving, and a slow, rumbling transformation. juniper’s language sounds the rooted, pulsing low notes as well as the shimmering highs, inviting the reader to pass through the looking glass into the magical moment of just right here, just right now.
Angelica Brown

juniper’s words are a gift – so fresh from the heart you can still feel them faintly beating. juniper holds their own life in tender, outstretched hands, and invites us to join them in the sweet, aching journey.
Kateri BoucherGeez Magazine

These poems shake with tears of pain and shimmer with tears of joy.
Carole Spencer, author of Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism

I was raised in a house of water is a gentle rainfall of words, each verse the soft whisper of an old friend, sharing their most patient observations, deepest longings, and wisest insights. “Yes, I am here in this world.” I read these poems, inhaling each line as I travel; truly a space in between. “Hold space for an eternal moment,” juniper writes, and I can’t help but sense a deep wisdom in their words, connecting disparate places, times, and stories. “May we see one another. May we see ourselves.” Wherever you find yourself on your journey, juniper invites you to go deeper, to listen, and to trust.
C. Wess Daniels, author of A Convergent Model of Renewal

Poems that touch more deeply, soothe more gently, and challenge more aggressively. juniper is one of the best in the Northwest because she is willing, not only to look within herself, but also to exist.
Julian Phillip Doumit, Little Comfort

juniper sings a song of experience – the sanctification and romance of life: “To shift is to be alive.” Their words, drenched in the devastation of being, help us hold on to hope.
Hye Sung, Friendly Fire Collective

juniper klatt has more than succeeded in writing their life as a poem in this stunning collection. The naturalness of the work is easy like a comfy sweater, and as juniper removes one layer after another, they make it safe to approach hard truths and beautiful stories. At the end, juniper seems to stand naked before us, and you can do nothing else but join them.
M Jahntz

Beautiful words shared from a beautiful heart always.
Amy Kopsa

juniper expresses the beauty and challenge of our times. She speaks of love, loss, and cookie-baking. But the poem that best captures the joy of being a human being, and the one I’d most like to hear her read out loud, begins, “I forgot how to pray with the structured words of my teachers and preachers and remembered how to dance with the colors and moans and songs of my ancestors.” juniper invites us to make magic. And to dance.
Stephen Deatherage

Aw well! She knows how to touch my soul to my toes. She’s got a knack for articulating that connection oh so lovely. It’s her gift for sure.
Lori Williams

juniper’s ability to gather together the pieces of the world – her curation of the sensory and emotional – makes me pause. To wonder and wonder.
Damon Motz-Storey

We sat across from each other at a table many years ago. juniper looked like any other beautiful young woman just coming into her own. The next day, her time came to stand at the microphone, and as she began her heart performance, the depth and strength – the wisdom and power that came as she transformed into her poem – stunned me. I will never forget. juniper is a gift, for she can speak deeply what so many of us feel. I am grateful for her presence in the world.
Lori Bosteder

 

Available from Fernwood Press: http://www.fernwoodpress.com/2019/03/06/i-was-raised-in-a-house-of-water/

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/I-was-raised-in-a-house-of-water.html

What Is Justice?

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A Personal Exploration

Denham’s internal exploration, aided by poetry and letters and images, offers us a portrait of one man’s attempt to practice revolutionary love in response to murder. Wrestling with grief over the killing of a boy he loved as a son, Denham confronts his own impulses to condemn the ones who murdered him. With the courage to perform “open-heart surgery” on himself, Denham returns again and again to restorative justice as the only way forward. A solemn read, a quiet contemplation, a hopeful longing, What Is Justice? is a respite for anyone committed to labors of love and justice.

 

Wrestling with grief over the killing of a boy he loved as a son, Denham confronts his own impulses to condemn the ones who murdered him. With the courage to perform “open-heart surgery” on himself, Denham returns again and again to restorative justice as the only way forward. A solemn read, a quiet contemplation, a hopeful longing, What Is Justice? is a respite for anyone committed to labors of love and justice.

Valarie Kaur, Founder of the Revolutionary Love Project

There is a murder; there is a pending “execution.” There are victims and there are perpetrators. Into the midst of these deep contradictions, Bill Denham plunges with his honest, searing, hope-filled poetry. He dares to imagine that we are all bound together in this human crisis as one. We are not “over-against”; we are rather “with” and “belonging to.” That solidarity evokes compassion that presses toward restorative justice and away from revenge. Denham sees that it “falls to me” to do justice. Indeed, it “falls to me” and you and you and you. Those who enter Denham’s world of poetic imagination may be called to care in transformative ways. It is his hope. Indeed, it is our hope!

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

What does it mean to love our enemies? I know of no better answer in our time than the care Bill Denham shows the men who killed his stepson. With vulnerability and courage, he uses a poet’s ear and a prophet’s eye to redefine justice. His story moved me deeply.

Bruce Murphy, retired as President at Northwestern College, a former Pastor at La Jolla Presbyterian Church and Bethany Presbyterian Church

Bill Denham has given us a gift in a few short pages. As he shares his experience of losing someone he loves to violent death, he invites us to accompany him as he searches his own heart and enters as he can into another’s experience. The insights he gathers into his poetry, prose, and the quotations he incorporates challenge us to do the hard work of subverting the systems that numb us by learning compassion for the other.

Becky Ankeny, Ph.D., Recorded minister in Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting of Friends

After the 2008 gang-related murder of his stepson, Bill Denham embarked on ten years of deep and profoundly revealing self-examination. This book is a compelling account of the results of that questioning. Here, in both prose and poems, Denham voices an impassioned plea for replacing our retributive justice system with restorative justice. Avowing that true justice “must come from an honest and humble place,” he bears wise and eloquent witness to “the excruciatingly hard work of forgiveness and reconciliation.”

Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

 

Available from Fernwood Press: http://www.fernwoodpress.com/2019/04/01/what-is-justice/

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/What-Is-Justice.html

Why Ice Cream Trucks Play Christmas Songs

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A gentle wind blows through Paul Jolly’s poems, uncovering the gaps in our knowledge, our presumptions and assumptions, the spaces in which humor, creativity, and magic are born. The stories seem familiar, but the wind-blown words, unjumbled by Jolly, no longer say exactly what they’re supposed to. Alice escapes from a pack of Disney scouts. Over-inflated cows float over a squadron of slugs. Ice cream trucks play Christmas songs.

It is a collection that rebels against reality. Each poem performs a sleight-of-hand replacement of the objective and concrete with imagination and dream. What if? How come? Why not?

Read these poems. Read them carefully. Take your time. Inhale, exhale, and think. Why Ice Cream Trucks Play Christmas Songs is a work of art, and it is a gift.


“Delightful, essential, full of renewed wisdom and old magic, of the natural elements that sustain body and spirit. Paul Jolly’s poems are to be savored time and again, like the ice cream in trucks that play Christmas songs. Bravo! Encore!”
Lucha Corpi, author of Eulogy for a Brown Angel and Confessions of a Book Burner

“Paul Jolly’s consonance crackles but is seldom gnarled. His poems are funny but never cruel. Like Kay Ryan, he sees the universe in little things. Jolly’s tenderness is understated, his language unrestrained.”
Flossie LewisBrief but Spectacular (PBS)

“To read these poems is to enter a richly imagined world; brightened by dry touches of humor, parody, and wit. The poems are very much of the present day, both in language and in outlook. Though deeply felt, they contain nothing sentimental, let alone anything maudlin.”
Marie Borroff, Sterling Professor of English, Emeritus, Yale University

“Drawing upon a metaphoric area that hops nimbly from nursery rhymes to the spiritual lives of goats, from family history to the history of the zero, these poems surprise and delight. Jolly’s light touch and humorous outtakes remind us that language in poetry is an adult thinker’s playground.”
Johnna Schmidt, Director of Jimènez-Porter Writers’ House, University of Maryland

“I spent a first afternoon of immersion in this wonderful collection of poems, smiling with occasional outbursts of delighted laughter at the poet’s flights of fancy: Humpty Dumpty paired with Icarus, a Grandmother whose saliva does futile battle with her grandson’s cowlick, farmers who carbonate cows to get ‘bubble milk,’ a factotum who does the dirty work for God during the six days of creation. Throughout, zany humor and vigorous imagination construct send-ups that are not without compassion and insight. There is import here I cannot explain, but only nod, knowingly.”
Catharine Lucas, poet and professor of English, Emerita, San Francisco State University

 

Available from Fernwood Press: http://www.fernwoodpress.com/2018/11/26/why-ice-cream-trucks-play-christmas-songs/

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/why-ice-cream-trucks-play-christmas-songs.html

Untangled

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A Go-To Guide for Caregivers of Traumatized Children, Families, and Communities

Trauma creates substantial pain and suffering and can inevitably create cycles of dysfunction that may span generations. We can and should break these cycles and build bridges of trust and empowerment that renew hope and help families heal, not just for this generation but for the sake of all those to follow.

The good news is that children are resilient and have innate abilities to recover from their painful past, heal the invisible wounds of trauma, and rebuild their lives. But this will not occur without the perseverance and hard work of good people who care deeply about children.

If you are a parent or caregiver whose children have been traumatized by events like war, forced displacement, disaster, abuse, neglect, or violence, this book is for you. This book will increase your understanding about your empowering role, what your children need, how they develop, how trauma interrupts their development, how to show your children healing love and attention, and how to use community resources to achieve that. It will also suggest ways to take care of yourself in the process.

If you are a mental health professional, a teacher, an advocate, or community leader, this book is also for you.

 

Dr. Omar Reda knows first-hand the impact of war and dislocation on families and children. But Untangled is not about extreme situations. It is about the lessons learned from survivors on how to cope with everyday life. It is impressive, not only in its scientific content, but also in its presentation. It is a poetical essay that highlights the importance of love and hope in our lives and in the care of children. These ideas are expressed in the metaphor of Untangled and in its mantra for families to recite, “This is us, together.” Dr. Reda brings to us beautiful ideas and images that can help us protect and heal our children, our families, and our communities affected by trauma. Thank you, Dr. Reda, for this excellent contribution.

—Dr. Richard F. Mollica, MD, MAR, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

In this book, Dr. Omar Reda offers a deeply compassionate exploration of trauma-informed parenting. His heartfelt dedication to improving the lives of children and families stands out on every page. Dr. Reda understands the needs of both parents and children, and he shares openly from his own parenting experience. The drawings from children are a beautiful touch. This book can have a powerful impact to improve the lives of people who have suffered and who can heal.

—Lisa Najavits, PhD, Director of Treatment Innovations and adjunct professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Omar Reda’s work is deeply compassionate, intelligent, and thoughtful. Untangled is a needed book that has the capacity to change the world one life at a time. By drawing on research and his extensive experience, both personal and professional, Dr. Reda has found the words that give voice to traumatized children and their families. Untangled is respectful, practical, and most importantly, hopeful. In his own words, because they are so powerful, “Trauma loses its power to ruin us when love and hope step in.” Untangled is this step in.

—Karen Young, author, speaker, and psychotherapist, specializing in childhood and adolescent anxiety

Trauma is one of the most impactful, isolating, and developmentally disrupting experiences humans face. It tears down, it injures, and its effects spread like a cancer when left unexplored. In his groundbreaking book, Untangled, Dr. Omar Reda gives parents and families the information and tools they need to address and work through individual and cultural trauma while, at the same time, offering a strong example of how to do so with his authoritative, yet deeply loving, voice. This is far more than a workbook. It is a guidebook, offering descriptions of what trauma is and how it impacts families and children in a language that is accessible to all. Guided explorative questions and surveys peppered throughout the book offer opportunities for reflection and application as well as planning and goal setting.

For parents facing the daunting task of helping their children navigate traumatic experiences well, this is an indescribable gift. I am a psychologist and yet, when my own family suffered a traumatic loss, I felt adrift and untethered, uncertain of how to help my children live through indescribable grief while I, myself, was also suffering. I wish a book like Untangled would have been available to me at that time. This book is part comfort, part authoritative guide, and wholly grounding.

If someone you love has experienced trauma, please read this book, take notes, use the worksheets, then go and put all you’ve learned into practice. In this way we could heal the world.

—Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Psy.D., Cinical Psychologist and author of Deviced! Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World

 

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-Go-Caregivers-Traumatized-Communities/dp/1594980594

As Clean as a Bone

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Emmett Wheatfall’s As Clean as a Bone is a collection for both the heart and the mind, a collection seasoned with the vital and invigorating salt of poetry and of wisdom. This remarkable book questions history, memory, culture. Its poems don’t just talk: they wrestle with experience, they debate, they think and play, they sing out with love and pain. “Can we sing a new song?” Wheatfall asks. With their deft musical cadences and resonant depths, the poems in this new book answer back with a resounding YES.

Annie Lighthart, poet, author of Lantern and Iron String

 

From “the perspective that is black,” Emmett Wheatfall gives us this collection of evocative meditations on the African American experience, meditations “seasoned with / the salt of [his] poetics.” Ranging from a tribute to contemporary black women (“Election Evening in Alabama”) to a lamentation spoken to Langston Hughes, these are moving poems that compel us—all of us who call ourselves American—to “…sing a new song / for what we are now.”

Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

 

“Do you know what I mean?” Emmett Wheatfall asks—a question he poses in poem after poem, sometimes in agonizing and sometimes in darkly humorous ways. Emmett calls upon us, his readers, to exercise our imaginations as we read As Clean as a Bone, to know what he means about the black experience in America and in the world.

Bill Denham, poet, author of death will come

 

Emmett Wheatfall’s latest book As Clean as a Bone is just that. Taking his title from James Baldwin, Wheatfall has produced a work that gets to the core of things. “I question myself,” he writes, and whether his subject is race, justice, inequality or a “little black boy,” his poems speak with power and credibility. Time spent with As Clean as a Bone is time well spent.

Tom Hogan, poet, author of The Promise of the Trail

 

Available from Fernwood Press: http://www.fernwoodpress.com/2018/05/04/as-clean-as-a-bone/

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/as-clean-as-a-bone.html

Because of This

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Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching: How to Live, Love, and Lead

While teaching English in China, Jim Teeters received a copy of the Tao Te Ching from a student. Jim writes that he was drawn to Lao Tzu’s ancient meditations on what it means to be a human instrument guided by the power of the right way. Drawing on his Quaker experience of submission to the Inner Light, “the voice of Christ who speaks to my condition,” Jim waited with each of Lao Tzu’s eighty-one wisdom poems, reading them over and over, listening both for meaning and for how he might respond.

In the first section, “How to Live,” Jim notes that we strive for success, we strive for satisfaction, and we strive for peace. But we can’t earn God’s blessings. We must simply accept them. In the second section, “How to Love,” Jim focuses on the importance of listening and of empathy, showing warmth in a nonpossessive way. In “How to Lead,” Jim suggests that seeking control results in loss of control, but trust empowers people to move forward together.

Keep your mind and heart open as you read and react. Peruse, ponder, and discover.

25

What we seek
existed before
the universe.

Calm existence.
Inexhaustible Source.
True guide
for soul’s journey.

We call her Mother,
unfathomable and comforter.
We arise from and return
to Her.

 

Available from Fernwood Press: http://www.fernwoodpress.com/2018/01/10/because-of-this/

Available from Barclay Press: http://www.barclaypressbookstore.com/Because-of-This.html

Practical Mystics: Quaker faith in action

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Are Quakers mystics? What does that mean? And how does it translate into how we are and what we do in the world? A book in the new series of little books about different aspects of the Quaker way, Quaker Quicks.

“Jennifer Kavanagh has written a lovely book which I found to be to be compelling reading. In a very practical way she explains the meaning of mysticism for Quakers and how an experience ,which some might regard as being esoteric, can be truly meaningful for many today.” Terry Waite

” [Jennifer Kavanagh writes] as vividly about spiritual inwardness as she does about the urgent, unstoppable impulse to give service to others. The result is an inspiring book about a wellspring of inspiration. I thoroughly recommend it.” Geoffrey Durham, author of The Spirit of the Quakers and Being a Quaker

The Silence Diaries

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Suzie and Orbs are in their thirties and have been together for a couple of years. Orbs reluctantly makes a living in the City and Suzie is a respected financial journalist, but each has another life hidden from the outside world.

Their secret existence is threatened first when Suzie is offered a highly visible job, and then by an accident that turns their lives upside down. The novel traces their struggle to survive as a couple, retain their privacy, and how each of them can find a new and more authentic life. This is a novel about voices and silence, truth and lies. The motivating factor is love, and the gift is finding a voice.

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