Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review of Quaker Leader Becky Ankeny's new ebook, ...Accept Gay Marriage



I wish Becky Ankeny had achieved her goal in her new ebook,
A Leisurely Introduction to How a Bible-Believing Christian Can Accept Gay Marriage in the Church.


Because:
I support equality in marriage for everyone, both same sexual couples and opposite sexual couples. And not only is marriage a human right, it is very important for ethical truth.

Too often in the past, and especially in contemporary culture and society, millions of humans choose promiscuity, polygamy, prostitution, pornography, loneliness and lack of intimacy, etc.

A chosen intimate, permanent covenant between two individuals in contrast delivers humans from the vagaries of immoral and unjust behavior. Even more importantly, is the deep sharing, communing, companionship, and the far-reaching goals two committed to each other
can achieve.

But it goes beyond that, too. A covenant is a transcendent experience which enhances humans' lives in other ways as well.

And, lastly (or firstly) a covenant is a witness to wonder, goodness, truth, justice--to the ultimate nature of reality.

Furthermore:
Becky Ankeny raises so many good points, and puts forward appealing positives in her short booklet. (It is well worth the dollar through Amazon!) She reminds readers of the differences between the "universal" versus the "cultural," the goodness but limited worth of analogies, and that caring is far more important than rules.


And the shocking fact, that she as a conservative Evangelical Quaker has published this pro-gay marriage book at the height/depth of the current debacle going on in North West Yearly Meeting, and that she is a former superintendent of that yearly meeting--ALL of that speaks volumes for her and her effort to give hope to same sexual individuals.

She is working for constructive change, going against the current rejection of gay marriage in NWYM which has been so harmful, divisive, and fragmenting in North West Yearly Meeting.*


Similar divisive arguments are taking place in North Carolina Yearly Meeting (also, breaking up), and several years back in Indiana Yearly Meeting, as well as in other denominations beyond the small circle of Friends.

So I admire Becky Ankeny, standing up and speaking truth to friends, their meetings, yearly meetings, and all others concerned with ethics, equality, compassion, intimacy, and hope.

Brief Bio: "Becky Ankeny is a former general superintendent of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends...a member of Newberg Friends Church. Her parents were Friends missionaries in Burundi, Africa...and she spent much of her first 15 years there. She graduated from George Fox College in 1977 and received an MBA (2009) and PhD in English (1986) from the University of Oregon. Her PhD work was on the fiction of George MacDonald, a Victorian preacher and writer who influenced C.S. Lewis."

"She taught at Westmont College from 1986 to 1988 before returning to her alma mater, George Fox, to work as a professor of English and as an administrator from 1988 to 2011. Becky and her husband, Mark, are the parents of two daughters, Davida and Elizabeth, who with their respective husbands, Richard Brown and Jesse Dillow, all graduated from George Fox University. Becky and Mark rejoice in four grandchildren."
http://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/noteable_individuals/65/


HOWEVER, Becky Ankeny's given explications of the biblical texts are very weak, swallowing a whole herd of camels.

But before I explain why I think she (and the scholars she quotes) have deeply erred in their understanding of the Bible's view of same sexual relations, please consider reading her booklet first. It is a brief version of much longer tomes which I have also read, a good introduction into the whole controversy.

And thank Becky Ankeny for standing up and sharing her own perspective, which she thinks is true.

*For an extensive explanation, details, and view of the controversy in NWYM, read Chuck Fager's
Quaker Theology, Issue #27, and more recent updates.
http://afriendlyletter.com/shattering-quakerism-in-the-northwest-continued/






In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Here's HOPE: COMBATANTS FOR PEACE in Palestine-Israel

Here's hope for now and in the future in Palestine-Israel!

Former violent foes are reconciling, forgiving, sharing, communing, demonstrating that enemies can change,
can leave behind revenge, nationalism, hatred, self-centered ideologies and religions, and so many other factors creating death and destruction in the Middle East.

Check out Combatants for Peace:


"The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but one of human choice.

On this particularly difficult day, Israelis and Palestinians acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the “other side” and strive to prevent the next wave of violence."

https://youtu.be/97nIn9NT2G0





"Nonviolence is the greatest force
at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier
than the mightiest weapon of destruction
devised by the ingenuity of man.
Destruction is not the law of the humans."
-M.K.Gandhi

“Peace does not happen by itself; It requires commitment, perseverance and continuing efforts. The more we increase the circle of people involved in activities, the more we will increase our ability to influence the reality in which we live.”

“CFP is a volunteer based movement.
Supporting CFP helps us continue all these activities:

"In-house events – group meetings with a Palestinian and an Israeli member of the Movement who present the personal stories and hold open discussions with the participants."

"Learning Peace" – a series of lectures open to the public."

"Field trips – Tours of the Bethlehem and Nablus areas, where participants get a first-hand look at the actual situation in the occupied territories and meet with Palestinian members of the Movement."

"Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony – in memory of victims of the conflict.
Theatre on the Ground – political theater performances promoting non-violent resistance."

"Combatants for peace" (CFP) is a bi-national movement working throughout Palestine and Israel.























In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, April 7, 2017

Stand Against This: U.S. Is Bombing Again, and Supporting Saudi Arabian Bombing


The U.S. is bombing again. Now we are bombing in 7 different countries,
and supporting oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia which is also bombing civilians in Yemen!

Yet notice we haven't bombed Saudi Arabia!!!!


Plus, we are supporting Muslim jihadists who have killed many civilians, and we are trying to overthrow another government.

Remember we overthrew the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.

BUT WE HAD NO MAJOR PLAN OF HOW TO CHANGE THEM.

So we let Muslim extremists wreck havoc in these countries for years, and more and more civilians suffer!

Millions are wounded and hundreds of thousands die.

Where is our plan?

Where is our commitment to human rights?

When is the U.S. going to learn?

When we overthrew the Nazis we didn't let them continue to rule and to oppress.

Why are we letting Muslims continue to rule and oppress in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.?

Does this make any sense?

No.

Is it morally right?

No.


Stand up against this slaughter by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, HAMAS, Fatah, and most Muslims in other countries.

Stand for the LIGHT, in this "ocean of darkness."

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Guest Post: Our Biggest Mistake by Neil Carter, former Calvinist Christian


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2017/04/04/our-biggest-mistake/

from OUR BIGGEST MISTAKE...

by Neil Carter, former Calvinist Christian leader

"1. We took the Bible seriously. We read the Bible.
This was a big mistake.

2. We prayed for the things the Bible told us to pray for.

3. We shared our faith with others. Boy was that a mistake.


4. We believed God was a person who wants to be known through an intimate, personal relationship.
What this miscalculation did for me was it set up an expectation that I should be able to sense, perceive, hear, and know this Person through direct, immediate contact, spirit to spirit.

5. We believed them when they said the Bible doesn’t contradict itself.

Related: “The Absurdity of Inerrancy.”

6. We landed in leadership positions and got to see how the sausage was made, so to speak.

7. We loved people the way our faith told us to, but soon found ourselves “on the outside,” kicked off the reservation for doing so.

Related: “Five Times When Jesus Sounded Like a Humanist“

It’s one of the great ironies of the Christian faith that if you really try to live the way Jesus taught us to live, you may very well find yourself put “outside the camp” just like he was, hung metaphorically on a cross of your own just as he said you’d be.*

Some of the honorable mentions I could have included:
We studied apologetics and defended our faith against its natural enemies until we realized we were on the losing side.
We tried to be “New Testament” in the way we did church and then discovered that doesn’t work.
We attended creation science conventions. That should pretty much do it.
We were told to follow the evidence wherever it led, and it led us right out the front door."

By Neil Carter, former Calvinist leader

-----

MY RESPONSE:
Neil, you make so many powerful points. And most of them are very similar to my own experiences of how my very serious efforts to be Christ-like is what led me to choose to leave the Christian religion.

While, I completely disagree with your choice to embrace atheism, I understand how that seemed like a strong possibility after your rejecting Calvinistic Christianity.

Instead, I chose the Enlightenment and the Society of Friends, Quakers.

There are a few other differences between us:
#1 You wrote, "We hear that we weren’t authentic enough, or we weren’t fully surrendered to the will of God, or we had some unconfessed sin in our lives, or whatever."


You and many former Christians get tagged with those accusations, but I don't remember hearing them much.

Rather, it was claimed that I was NEVER a Christian to begin with, not when
I was a Baptist youth minister, not when I was an elder, etc.

I wonder if you have been accused of "never having been a Christian," too?


#2 Then you wrote, "I felt God. I heard God. I knew God, in personal experience.

There’s just one problem. If you take this relationship too seriously, if you come to it with too much expectation that reality will match what you were told to expect, you will one day fall hard upon the cold ground of self-honesty whereupon you realize you have been conjuring this relationship through your own imagination your entire life."

That didn't happen to me.

I never could feel God, never heard God, never felt I knew God:-( On the contrary, I spent a whole lifetime wondering why I wasn't experiencing what our leaders, theologians, and most other Christians claimed was happening for them.

I still wonder why I felt like an outsider who doesn't experience what everyone else is talking about.

Sometimes at revival meetings, when the call came to come forward and be saved, I wanted to get up and go forward and experience this wonderful relationship,
BUT reminded myself, that I was already saved!

The very troubling question was then why didn't I feel all of the stuff the evangelist had just preached?

So I lived by faith, but my doubts were severe, sometime much worse than other times. I once even gave my testimony at our church in central California, admitting that I didn't "feel" God. The text I chose was the one from Isaiah, where the prophet says that God will give us "beauty for ashes,"
but
that what I had experienced all of my life (I was 38) was God had given me "ashes instead of beauty.":-(

I thought I might get a lot of counseling, and probably negative feedback from the other members, but it didn't happen. I don't know why. Maybe some of them also were talking the talk, but didn't really experience the Christian God either.

#3 I didn't have to deal with Calvinism, like you did, since I never believed in that god. In fact when I first encountered Calvinism, it was a new leader who claimed Divine Command Theory--that whatever "God" commands becomes moral.

The leader told everyone, and me specifically, especially that God was commanding me to go and kill people! Then he proceeded to "prove" this with the Old Testament.


That horrific experience was the death-knell, however it took me years because I thought I could disprove him and his claim. I still thought that there was a 'true christianity' different from Luther, Calvin, and Augustine.

But the more I studied church history, etc. the more I realized Christianity was on his side.

So I finally left.

Lastly, you wrote, "It’s one of the great ironies of the Christian faith that if you really try to live the way Jesus taught us to live, you may very well find yourself put “outside the camp."

That is your strongest, most convincing point!

Most of the other things you mentioned happened to me, also.

But this was a clincher. The more I worked and worked to be like Jesus, the less and less I fit in the churches my wife and I were members of.


In fact, most of the church members in their beliefs and actions were extremely NOT like Jesus.

Yet I met individuals who weren't part of "born again" creedal Christianity who did think and often act according to Jesus' ethic.

For a long time this confused me to no end! Why were "born again" Christians (like Trumpers now) so self-and-nation centered, so intolerant, so unjust, so for war, even nuclear war!??

Yet, people I knew personally who weren't "born again" worked for human rights, opposed war, were compassionate, emphasized honesty, etc.
And many of these "born again" Christians claimed that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't a Christian, etc.
--
I don't agree with Neil's conclusion that atheism is true.

On the contrary, I am more intellectually convinced of theism now than sometimes when I was "born again" Christian.

But his article is honest, heart-searching, and lucid.

In the LIGHT, seeking for the GOOD, and the Truth,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Advancing in My Receding



Cast your lines out

upon the turbulent waters;


then they splash and widen;


watch the rounded ripple of worded motion,


form waving

back

to you


lapping at your toed

self

that temporary ego


and out to others,


then fading...



Do you ‘sea fair’?





-Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in The Write Room,
also in the published poetry
collection, Psalms, Yawps, and Howls



The Ocean of Light overcomes the ocean of darkness.


From SeaQuaker, a writing website of Daniel Eugene Wilcox a poet and fiction writer:


Poetry is creative play in the imagination--
a way of seeing, a way of feeling, a way of being; re-envisioning our perception,
to experience images and moods and truths via the deep structure of far-reaching words. 

Travel within toward the truth and find meaning in this cacophony called Life.

Three collections of Daniel's published poetry are in print--
Dark Energy,
Psalms, Yawps, and Howls,
and selah river.

Browse through his poems, short stories, one speculative novel
and his philosophical musings to see the world, life, and the cosmos from a different perspective.

Daniel earned his degree in Creative Writing from Cal State University, Long Beach. He is a former activist, American and world literature teacher, roving wanderer and explorer--
from Montana to the Middle East, casting lines out upon the turbulent waters and far shores of this troubled world. 

Journey through the wide swim of human consciousness and its many tributaries. 
Yes, travel rivers of the world
and rivers of the soul
and rivers of the mind. 

Check out a haiku, low-cool short poem on the Central California's damp gloom summer at vox poetica:
http://voxpoetica.com/dripping-rain-drizzles/

Reflect on the loss of loved ones and the nature of being human and death--
"Poem for My Dad " and "Deaf to Death" at Lightwaveseeker:
http://infiniteoceanoflightandlove.blogspot.com/2015/12/personal-two-poems-for-my-dad.html

Consider  mirror images in reverse of how we can face Life, dealing with trials, tragedies, and difficulties--"bidingTimeabiding"
http://deadsnakes.blogspot.com/2015/12/daniel-wilcox-three-poems.html

Delve into the joy of romance in "Moon River" published at Poetry Pacific.
http://poetrypacific.blogspot.com/2015/02/2-poems-by-daniel-wilcox.html
_
Encounter the world of Afghanistan in the poem "The Road to Elsewhere"
at Fish Food Magazine.
http://www.fishfoodmagazine.com/poetry/2014/11/22/the-road-to-elsewhere

Need a good laugh in the midst of so much current human tragedy and political chaos?
Try "The Pullout Coyote"
my true but funny poetic story of our encounter
with a wild critter in Yosemite last year.
http://voxpoetica.com/pull-out-coyote/

Experience the speculative alternate history and future narrative of 3 alienologists who travel from across the galaxy to study Earth and its humans, but instead get caught up in alien
joys, trials, and tribulations--
from the Oregon Trail and the  American War Between the States to the Great Depression
and the future high-tech of 2074.
Experience The Feeling of the Earth.
Available now in Kindle e-book or paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,
local book stores, and libraries across the United States.

And get ready for 2 more books coming your way late in 2017, the 4th collection of Daniel's published poetry, Last Things,
and a tense present-day suspense thriller, An Eye for the Beheading.

Our perceptions so decisively affect how we think and make our ethical choices.
Deal with the moving film over your eyes. 
It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a poem...
http://deadsnakes.blogspot.com/2015/07/daniel-wilcox-three-poems.html

Growing older, starting to consider retirement, caring for your elderly loved ones, contemplating the wonder
of our brief lives?

Then head north to Canada's Poetry Pacific Magazine and ruminate on the poem "Retreaded."  
http://poetrypacific.blogspot.com/2013/08/1-poem-by-daniel-wilcox.html

Find a way to bring goodness out of your problems and trials and tragedies. Read "Nail Holes" at Enhance Literary Magazine.
http://enhancemag.onimpression.com/post/54731422579/the-amazing-enhance-no-12

Ready for the joy of romantic love. Read "Roll Ever Columbia" and "Northeast Night" at cavalcadeofstars. 
https://cavalcadeofstars.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/daniel-wilcox-debuts/

Hold hands again! Check out "two hands" a romancing of romance at vox poetica. Share the lyric with your sweetheart. 
http://voxpoetica.com/two-hands/

Looking for  insightful poems on life, social issues, and history:
"The Last Libation,
" Midnight Voyager,"
" The Revolution,"
and "Ah, Bird Poop Van."

What a travail is politics and nationalism!
Look at Palestine versus Israel, Afghanistan versus the U.N., Syria and Russia versus the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and 30 or more Islamic jihadists groups.etc. Read of the tragic senseless nature of war at The Write Room:
"After the Battle" 
http://thewritemag.com/poetry/after-the-battle/

Doesn't religion sometimes want to make you gag? 

When natural disasters slaughter thousands of humans, and destroy, many Christian and Muslim leaders claim it is the "finger of God!"

Several years ago a major Christian leader claimed that 90 tornadoes which slaughtered humans were commanded by God,
that the winds were from Jesus!!!
Consider a different perspective:
"Let's Do the 'Twister'"
http://newversenews.blogspot.com/2012/03/lets-do-twister.html

Weep for the innocent in "Caught in the Act in Iraq."
Or be shocked into action by his Christmas poem, "To Whom It Does Not Concern," on the website, protestpoems.org and a reflection on time and history in "Of Things Past and Present" at Static Movement. Daniel has a deep passion for peacemaking, ethics, and human rights.

Read other poems of ethics and passion by Daniel Wilcox
at these fine magazines:
vox poetica, Poetry Pacific, Contemporary American Voices, Dead Snakes, Camel Saloon, Ascent Aspirations, Mad Swirl,  Knot Middle Eastern Literary Journal,  Mouse Tales Press,  The Paradise Review,  Ancient Paths Literary Magazine, The Mindful Review, Greensilk Journal, vox poetica, Front Porch Review, Unlikely Stories, Eunoia Review, Enhance Literary and Art Magazine, hotmetalpress.net, Bigger Stones, Decades Review, Lyrical Passion Poetry, Widowmoon Press, amphibi.us, Midwest Literary Magazine, The New Verse News,
Poetry Super Highway, Three Line Poetry, Media Virus Magazine, Western Friend Magazine, A Handful of Stones, Widowmoon Press, Liturgical Credo, Yes, Poetry, Four and Twenty, Gloom Cupboard, The Clockwise Cat, Rubber Lemon, The Medulla Review, Structo, vox poetica, Willows Wept Review,  Haiku Journal, Lyrical Passion Poetry, Moria,, The Centrifulgal Eye,, Lunarosity,, Hanging Moss Journal, The New Verse News,, ocean diamond,, The Writer's Eye, Mad Swirl, Abandoned Towers, The Scruffy Dog Review, Oak Bend Review, Crossing Rivers Into Twilight, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Cherry Blossom Review,, The Houston Literary Review,, Lucid Rhythms, Word Riot,
and
Identity Theory,, Halfway Down the Stairs,, Right Hand Pointing, Frame Lines, The  Externalist,,The Driftwood Review,, Flutter Poetry Journal,, Frostwriting,, Words-Myth, Ink Sweat & Tears, Erbacce Print Journal, Sentinel Poetry Online, The November 3rd Club, Word Catalyst, the poetry warrior, Mississippi Crow Magazine,, The Cerebral Catalyst, Anthrozine, Ink, Sweat, & Tears, Stylus Poetry Journal, Idlewheel Literary Friction, The Indite Circle, The Rogue Poetry Journal, The WriteSideUp, La Fenetre International Literary Magazine, The Other Side Magazine,  The Bicycle Review, A Handful of Stones, The Copperfield Review, Unfettered Verse,  Leaf Garden, Calliope Nerve, Static Movement, Counterexample Poetics,  outwardlink.net, protestpoems.org, Writer's Ink, The Recusant, Full of Crow, The Shine Journal, Danse Macabre, Clutching at Straws, etc.

Daniel resides on the central coast of California with his wife and former homeless feline, Smoke. Besides creative writing, he reads a lot, shoots photography, and finds time to swim.

He's an old backpacker who in the past hiked up the two tallest peaks in Arizona and California, (to the top of Mount Whitney in the Sierra Nevadas), and down into the bottom of the Grand Canyon on many of its South Rim trails the old Bass Trail is the best). But now he hikes into his computer room each day
in the fall of his years:-).

Well, it's not quite that bad; Daniel has hiked with his wife in the wild red rock country of the Southwest, in Florida, Maine, Kauai, up in Oregon, and in Olympia National Park in Washington State.

He ages but doesn't petrify, because he takes walks with his wife on the Central Coast, and swims lots of laps.

*Reference of the Site Logo:

I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also, I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings...
George Fox

Also, check out Daniel's newer writing websites at  http://www.selahriver.com/ 
http://buddingzin.weebly.com/,
http://lastthings.weebly.com/,
http://www.psalmsyawpshowls.com,
and a bit of jabbwocky whimsy at http://planktonpelican.weebly.com/

​Experience a few of his poems and stories 
at Lightwaveseeker:  http://lightwaveseeker.weebly.com/


In the Light,

Daniel Eugene Wilcox

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Help Free a Human Rights Worker Imprisoned in Saudi Arabia


Please help free Issa al-Hamid who has been sentenced to 11 years in prison
for leading a human rights group in Saudi Arabia.


an urgent message from Amnesty International:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/take-action-now/urgent-action-update-human-rights-defender-s-prison-sentence-upheld-saudi-arabia-ua-8616


"The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh has upheld Saudi Arabian human rights defender Issa al-Hamid’s 11-year prison sentence."

Call on the Saudi Arabian government to overturn Issa al-Hamid’s conviction...as he has been sentenced solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association.

Ask Saudi Arabian leaders to stop arresting and imprisoning human rights defenders.

Contact these two officials by 17 April, 2017:
King and Prime Minister
His Majesty Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior)
+966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)
Twitter: @KingSalman
Salutation: Your Majesty

Ambassador Abdullah bin Fisal
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington DC 20037
Fax: 1 202 944 5983
Phone: 1 202 342 3800
Email: info@saudiembassy.net
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

--

It's tragic that more and more governments are violating human rights. Even worse, as difficult as it is to comprehend, more and more secularists in the United States and else where are claiming that human rights don't exist, aren't real!

For instance, the Israeli historian,
Yuval Noah Harari,
wrote "the only place where such universal principles exist is in the fertile imagination...
and in the myths they invent and tell one another.
These principles have no objectively validity...that all humans are equal is also a myth"!

He also proclaims that "liberty...exists only in their imagination."
According to Harri, the views of the Enlightenment founders and the opening preamble of the Declaration of Independence are all wrong.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari, Harper Collins, 2015

Add that to the many religious leaders worldwide who oppose human rights, and the future looks mighty dim.

We Friends need to launch a new abolition movement worldwide to free not only the millions still enslaved in human trafficking, but to give new life to the transcendent truths of equality and human rights and objective ethics.

We don't look to the obvious, and the temporary,
but to the eternal and the truly ethical.

We need to remember Martin Luther King's powerful words:
"I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.
I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him
morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him."
--Martin Luther King Jr

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Part #2: From Baptist Warrior to Friendly Conscientious Objector

My Life Journey TimeLine--
Lifestance, Philosophies, and Spiritual Seeking

Age 17, 1964 Drastic Change #2

(For ages 4? to 17, see Part #1)

Gung-ho for Goldwater for president, promoting the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, Christian warrior-to-be. God and Country.


BUT then the conservative Baptist edifice of ethical and political understanding came crashing down one Saturday evening at Youth for Christ when an avid Christian girl strongly disagreed with my militant support of the war including the bombing of Hai Phong, Vietnam.

I don’t think I had ever considered enemy civilians as real live people like you and me. They were all our communist enemies who needed to be destroyed for God, for Christ.

She demanded, politely, that I face what I was really saying.

She asked, Would Jesus gun down other humans? Would Jesus push the button that dropped napalm and other heavy bombs?


(In Vietnam War, the U.S. would drop more bombs than all of WWII!! At least 1,450,000 (maybe 2 million) civilians would die in the war, and millions more would be wounded. About 1,250,000 Vietnamese soldiers would die, and over 58,000 American soldiers. Also, remember many people died in Laos and Cambodia, too.)

Stunned, I kept dialoguing with her, while she emphasized for me to go back and study the Sermon on the Mount more thoroughly.

Up to age 17, it had been my understanding that in the Matthew text, Jesus was talking about personal enemies, such as a grumpy relative or the malicious next-door neighbor.

But I soon discovered, that on the contrary, Jesus was saying we ought to love the Roman soldiers (or any other enemy soldiers) who’ve invaded our country, abused us, oppressed us, killed us!

Whew! NO one else, not a single other Christian was saying ethical stuff like this. I studied the Sermon on the Mount intensely. Read various opposing views.


And I struggled immensely for months. I had already invited the Navy, Army, and Air Force recruiters out months previously to decide which military branch to join after high school; probably, the Navy like my dad and 2 of my uncles, but wanted to make a wise choice.

Now all of that was shot-to-heaven;-) by the Sermon on the Mount.

Finally at 18, contrary to everyone I knew except this one Christian family, and one former missionary (who seemed to view war similar to Desmond Doss),
I registered for the Draft as a Conscientious Objector.

I was going against my parents, my relatives, our Baptist church, nearly everyone I knew. And I lost my best friend because of my anti-war stance.
Yet, I really did think this was the way of Jesus.

Then I had to go before my draft board and answer their difficult questions about my commitment to Jesus’ ethics, etc.

Before C-O service, I worked one summer as a mission volunteer on the Cheyenne Reservation in southern Montana, near the Little Bighorn Battlefield (Custer's Last Stand).

I did youth work for Mennonite Missions and talked with a new friend, a Friend, one of a Quaker family doing reconciliation work on the reservation.

The town hall, Brent Barksdale Community Center in Lame Deer, had been built years earlier by a young adult Quaker Work-Team.

After I was drafted in the spring of 1967, I got assigned to serve at mental hospital if I continued to refuse military service.

I did the C-O service at Eastern State School and Hospital in Pennsylvania, just a hop and jump of history from Washington’s infamous crossing, escaping from the British.

And also living for weeks in Haight-Asbury as a spiritual hippie who didn’t do drugs, had never tasted alcohol--but will skip all of that--
this is a philosophical timeline, not an autobiography:-)

Age 20, 1967 Here come the Quakers

Working at a mental hospital with schizophrenic, autistic, and sociopathic children and teens, (after driving my van—the Mystical Hippopotamus—across the nation to near Philadelphia).

When I visited a Baptist church there, it was shocking, and disconcerting to hear the minister claim that the King James Bible was the only Bible, etc.!

Having already long ago—when I was about 13—ceased to believe in inerrancy, and knowing that the KJB wasn’t even the most accurate Bible in translation from the Greek and Hebrew, I left early, may have even skipped out before the sermon finished. Delusionary.

Also, most Baptists were very pro-Vietnam War, and Mennonites while against the war, tended to be as literalistic as Baptists when it came to the Bible.
Where could I find liberal theists?

About then, I remembered the Quaker option, the Society of Friends came into view, me remembering the good times I had spent dialoguing with the Quakers on the Cheyenne Reservation a year earlier.

And from my first introduction to Quakerism back in 1960, at about 13, when I saw them on the TV news opposing nuclear weapons. Who were they?
They mystified me, that some Christians weren’t in favor of the atom bomb. But why? How idealistic.

Now I had the opportunity to find out more, maybe become a Friend.


One Sunday, I visited the local Friends Meetinghouse in Newtown, PA. This first experience was incredibly disappointing.

In a huge plain church, there was almost nobody there, maybe a several oldsters, and only one other young adult. I got acquainted with her by walking her part way home (coming back for my van later).

The Baptist church had been packed. Why so few Quakers?

Later I took the L-train into downtown Philly to Backbench Friends Meeting, a young adult gathering (on some of my weekends off; at the mental hospital, we worked a 10-days-on-4 days off schedule).

Then I was kicked out of my apartment because of the anti-war poster on the back window of my van, so I lived during the summer in it on a small island in a campground near Newtown, fording over
the concrete ramp, through the shallow stream morning and evening.

To be continued
ISRAELI KIBBUTZNIK
YOUTH MINISTER
HITCH-HIKER
TEACHER
AI MEMBER
ETC.