As Way Opens
I read the following quote in a book I picked up this week by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
“Sometimes we think we want to resolve conflicts, but our methods just make things worse. We turn angry and intimidating, thinking we will make people do what we want. But attacks and criticism and threats of punishment backfire with both children and adults. Our angry responses cause the battles to escalate. We become bullies, not realizing the bullies ultimately aren’t powerful at all. Those who display meanness and a berating style on the playground, in business, or in political campaigns are usually the weakest and most insecure. Bapuji [name of endearment given to Mahatma Gandhi] taught me that being able to understand another’s viewpoint and forgive is the sign of real strength.” - Arun Gandhi (The Gift of Anger)
Many of us are concerned with all that is going on in our world right now. Just turn on any media source and you quickly become overwhelmed with intimidating, criticism, anger, bullying, and a great deal of insecurity. It seems too many of us have reverted to living our lives in fear or at the least by fear. A problem I am noticing is that these disturbing behaviors we are presented with are popping up more regularly in our day-to-day lives, not just on TV or in politics, but in meetings, churches, classrooms, even at the local baseball diamond. Its as if there has been a license given to be angry, a bully, and insecure in America (sadly, something other countries have been saying about us for quite some time).
Much like what Gandhi taught, Quakers believe more can be accomplished by appealing to our capacity for love, goodness, and understanding other’s and our own viewpoints, than can be hoped for by threatening punishment or retaliation if people act badly. The early Quakers would have said we needed in these times to turn to the “weapons of the spirit” (i.e. love, speaking truth, non-violence, imagination, laughter, forgiveness) allowing God to reach out through us to that of God in those with whom we are in conflict. I am afraid that many Friends, instead of embracing the Quaker distinctives, have simply given up or given into the behaviors they see in the media.
Arun Gandhi’s words must ring true in our lives, “You may think that making a small change in your life doesn’t solve anything, but all those little actions add up.” Friends, we may not be able to directly change what is happening in the news, but every time we choose to love, speak truth, choose a non-violent solution, use our imagination, laugh, forgive someone, we will make a difference in the lives around us. Our children, friends, neighbors, and enemies will see an alternate example of “real strength” and hopefully it will begin to rub off.
This week, join me in picking up a “spiritual weapon” and be the change you want to see in the world.
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
Many thanks to our Food Pantry volunteers last week: Kathy and Bill F; Dan R; Phil K; Linda and Rik L; Christie M; Carol and Jim D. We were very busy...105 families served. Thank you, all!
Kendal and Chelsea T. entered the National History Day competition with an exhibit about Quakers and advanced to the state level. This display is very creative and informative and it was available for everyone to see at Western Yearly Meeting annual session. Well done Kendal and Chelsea!
This past Sunday we honored our Friends Educational Fund (FEF) Scholarship recipients with a special reception hosted by the FEF Committee. What a joy to share the story of John Williams and Quakers in the Indianapolis area still helping African American children today.
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
Free ink – Thanks to Laura G, we have two ink HP 564XL ink cartridges up for grabs. They are free to anyone who needs them. Please contact the office if you’re interested.
Casseroles for the Henry family ~ During this time of great transition for the Henry family, it would be most appreciated if anyone could donate a casserole to the family. The desire would be for 1-2 casseroles to be delivered each week, for the next few weeks, until the Henrys have moved into their new house. Overflow can always be stowed in the freezer at the Meetinghouse, so exact dates don’t need to be coordinated. We ask that the casseroles be delivered in disposable containers, so that the Henrys do not have to return dishes. Also, please avoid pineapple, as Bob is allergic. If you can bring a dish, please contact the office at email@example.com or phone.
Beneath it all some children go bare.
Those kids need some underwear!
So go and shop because Quakers care.
Briefs and bras, undershirts and camisoles,
socks for the feet, new things without holes.
Underneath It All – First Friends ninth annual underwear drive ends August 31st! We are asking for donations of new underwear, as well as socks, t-shirts, bras, etc, from toddler to adult sizes! Cash or checks are also accepted and may be made out to First Friends and placed in offertory plates if labeled as donations to the Underwear Drive. Contact Linda Lee if you have questions.
Indians Ball Game with Friends! Join First Friends on Sunday, August 27th at 1:30 PM to see the Indianapolis Indians! This is a time of fun for anyone to join in from First Friends and ticket costs will be free! Friends are encouraged to carpool with each other to save on parking, and we will all meet at the ballpark. It’s also the last home game of the season and kids 14 and under eat free! Contact the office if you're interested. Please RSVP as soon as possible—first come, first served!
Did you know the Quakers helped the Japanese after WWII? All are invited to visit a small exhibit at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center in Indianapolis to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the signing of executive order 9066, which sent Japanese Americans into the internment camps. Around the country, and here in Indianapolis as well, Japanese families had to start their lives over. As it turns out, Quakers, who could see the injustice of this incarceration of innocent people, stepped in and helped many Japanese families restart their lives during this time. The exhibitor herself, Anne Moore, was part of a family that was helped by the Quakers. Come see her exhibit--running through October 1, 2017. More details can be found at http://www.discoverirvington.com/venue/bona-thompson-memorial-center/
New Library Books Ready for Checkout! Now that the library committee under John M's direction has purchased 30 new books, brief descriptions of them will slowly appear in Friend to Friend. In the library, you will find a clipboard with a sign out sheet. Please remember to let us know when you return the book, as well as when you check it out. Here are some more of the new Library Books Ready for Checkout:
Living the Quaker Way: Discover the Hidden Happiness in the Simple Life
By Philip Gulley
In his usual lively style, Phil Gulley, perhaps the most famous contemporary Quaker, conveys the elements of what makes this faith so attractive. Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality—each of our testimonies is given a chapter and then a 30 day guide to spiritual reflection is included. This book was a Publishers Weekly "Top 10 in Religion" selection.
Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality
J. Brent Bill
This is a revised and expanded edition, 2016, of the 2006 book about the uses and practices of silence. Brent Bill shares personal experiences along with poems, quotes, and lyrics from other writers. Added to the new edition is a section of 12 practical steps to experience silence. The queries in each chapter remain. As Parker Palmer wrote it is "A beautiful introduction to the depths and riches of silence." I am reminded of the joke, "I'm a Quaker. In case of emergency please be quiet."
Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way
By Nancy L. Bieber
The author is a Quaker, clinical psychologist, workshop leader, spiritual director, and author. In this book she examines Willingness—to be open, to face fears. Attentiveness—listening to the inner self, noticing, making a habit. And Responsiveness—step by step testing our decisions. ""With the Spirit illuminating the complexities of our decisions, we can see and understand more about ourselves and our choices." "Staying spiritually grounded and open to divine wisdom as you shape your life." She has included practices with each chapter and at the end a guide for six group sessions that could be used by one of our Sunday school classes.
Valley Mills Friends invites you to a Quaker Concert with Annie and Peter Blood Patterson Thursday, August 24 at 7pm. If you know the songbook "Rise Up Singing" that has been used at many fun Quaker sing-alongs, you might know of Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-Patterson who compiled it. They are released Friends who travel in Quaker circles bringing their ministry of community-building through singing together. Committed to fostering Hope, they are coming to Indiana in August. This is a fundraiser for Valley Mills Friends and the Blood-Pattersons' with a suggested donation at the door and opportunity to buy songbooks and CD's. The concert & singalong will take place in the meeting room of Valley Mills Friends, 6739 W Thompson Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46241. Refreshment to follow. For more information, see the flyer here: https://goo.gl/f814qw.
Earth Care 101: Faith in Action ~ Every faith tradition recognizes the importance of caring for God’s creation. If you would like to learn more about environmental action from a faith perspective, you may consider attending a 4-session workshop hosted by Indianapolis Green Congregations entitled “Earth Care 101: Faith in Action”. This free workshop will be given on 4 consecutive Saturday mornings (September 16, 23, 30, and October 7) from 8:30 to 10:30 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 4600 N. Illinois Street, 46208. Attendance at all four sessions is encouraged, but each session stands alone. For more information and to register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Alice Miley, 317-842-7901.