Editor’s Introduction, #28

This issue covers a broad range of concerns and issues. An account of disciplined interreligious education and dialogue work opens the volume. It describes an approach that is informed by Quaker spirituality, across gaps of understanding and belief that often seem unbridgeable, but which grace and attention sometimes cross.

Three further entries deal with death: First, a remembrance of Friend Tom Fox on the tenth anniversary of his 2006 murder in Iraq, where he was doing peace work; second, a report and reflections on the death by voluntary fasting of Peg Morton, a longtime Quaker activist from Oregon; and third, a review of a memoir by a woman whose husband contracted a terrible terminal condition. His illness and death not only brought her personal grief, it also evoked a religious crisis, from which she found succor in Quakerism. As is typically the case, we did not plan the issue this way; but as a retired politician recently reminded us, “stuff happens.”

Two other pieces deal with concerns involving LGBT Friends and others: pastor-author Philip Gulley describes several high points in his own pilgrimage with gay and lesbian persons; and Mitchell Gould, a major scholar on Walt Whitman’s work and life, examines some seminal articles from early in his career that help illuminate his continuing, deep-seated, but always somewhat mysterious connection with Quakerism, and in this period, that distinctively American philosophy, Transcendentalism.

In our final article, we have yet another update on the ongoing struggles within two yearly meetings, North Carolina and Northwest, about doctrine and division. These reports are still the only detailed published accounts of these events we know of.

                         – Chuck Fager

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