Sunday, May 9, 2021

John Bartram play

I promised you I'd get you the link as soon as I could; this is it.
This is a site where three Blue River Quarterly events are placed. The Bartram play is the first.

I want to thank Dawn Crimson; I believe it is her site.

Zoom plays are good ways to get carried into another era. In this era, right before the Revolution, Quakers were nervous about the practice of growing wild plants and studying the natural side of things. Bartram got carried up into the issues of the day: proper behavior for a Quaker; absolute allegiance to Jesus; slavery; how to behave during the Revolution. These were issues of the day, and this play shows them.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Cloudy with the chance of war

Here is the article Margaret refered to:
Cloudy with a chance of war
Another play? Maybe!
As I may have shared with you, I have been dealing with an unusual situation in our area. We have wild horses - feral really - and somebody shot four of them in town, and then, when people seemed to not get too mad, went and shot a couple more out in the country, or at least on a country road.

It is true that they are a little too successful in this area, and are somewhat of a hazard - not only on the road, but also in town, eating at the park or in the schoolyard where young kids could get hurt or trampled. It's not ideal. But shooting them wasn't quite cool either. For one thing, this person just left them there for someone else to clean up.

The question is, what is a good Quaker to do? I've been mulling it over. You can join the conversation, if there is one. It's mostly me and myself. I admit, I don't know what to do...

Milhous Cousins

Somewhat upbeat after seeing my John Bartram play performed on zoom, I have stepped up efforts to finish my new book of Quaker closet plays. Here is the latest one:

Milhous Cousins 

It is a story of Richard Nixon and Jessamyn West, second cousins who grew up in the East Whittier Friends Church community in what one could call rural LA (is that possible?). Jessamyn is in contrast to Nixon partly because, though not staying Evangelical as she was raised, she used her writing to explore Quakerism and took it seriously as a lifelong interest. Nixon, on the other hand, did not even try to be a Quaker, and ended up justifying burglary as a political action with political motives and justification.

As it says clearly on top, this is a first draft. If you see anything objectionable or even non-factual, I'd like to know. Most of the things they said, and I'm referring mostly to Jessamyn here, I'm not sure they actually said, but I tried to make them at least agreeable. In other words, I am not aware Jessamyn ever said anything about Nixon, besides that they were related, but I had her saying things that she wouldn't get mad about my attributing to her, hopefully. After all, Nixon was a public figure, and almost everyone had at least something to say about him.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021



New Quaker Play

Bombing the Quaker Zoom is a comedy, but undoubtedly lots of people will take it very seriously. It is the early days of Zoom Quaker meetings, so lots of people just won't try them, or have trouble with the technology when they do. Some of the other problems: being embarassed about the appearance of your living room, or having trouble clerking it - are barely touched here. In fact, if you think it should deal with these issues more, or touch other issues, let me (Tom) know as I can always make it bigger.

Maurine reports that she is feeling better, her skin is healing and she's about to start walking again, and also, will be moving to Indiana as soon as possible. She appreciates the concern shown by Cloud Quaker meeting (worship group) and sends her love!

This article, Turning, Turning by Emily Provance, seems to be saying a lot of things I've been saying. Namely that having all these Quakers on zoom is an opportunity that could change Quakerism for the better. You've heard me say it before. And I personally won't be the one who really moves the whole picture online, although my whole picture has certainly moved online. The play above is my humorous view of how changed everything is. Cheers! -Tom

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Resources with a Spiritual Kinship to Quakers

 This is a good free film on nonviolence produced by the Metta Center in California.

63 Boycott screening  31:04

posted 11 February, 2021 free till 3am ET 19 February

On October 22, 1963, more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let them enroll in nearby white schools. Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Kartemquin founder Gordon Quinn with the participants’ reflections today, 63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.

When: Anytime between February 11-18

Where: Vimeo On-Demand

Click here for the link for the film.

How much: Please make a donation to support our programs. We recommend a $10 ticket donation. Options available.

From nonviolence podcasts

Vandana Shiva ‘Neither Extinction nor escape’

December 21, 2020 58:00

“… the ecofeminist option is a third option. Neither extinction nor escape. We stay here on this earth and protect her. That is the work we’ve done. That’s the work that we are called to do, and that’s the revolutionary work of our times. We know the earth is living and all ancient cultures recognized Mother Earth.” — Vandana Shiva

This week’s episode of Nonviolence Radio is a recording of a talk given by Vandana Shiva, environmentalist, activist, author, and scholar. For decades, Shiva has been advocating — nonviolently — for sustainable agriculture, for the rights of small farmers, for biodiversity, for women. She calls for a shift not only in the way we grow and distribute food, but a radical change in the way we understand our relationship with the earth. 

While the environmental crisis we face today has led many to seek to escape (for instance, through space travel) or become pessimistic, convinced of our species’ imminent extinction, Shiva sees a third possibility: ecofeminism.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Quaker Poetry

From my experience with the Cloud Quakers, they have quite a creative streak! One of our members has written some beautiful and thought-provoking poetry. Please take a look at two poems below!

Felled Infodemic

The infodemic has been spotted

sleeping fetal position in ditches

by the roadside now.

Even curious bobcats, packs

of feral dogs turn away.

When awoken, this gigolo,

so used to cleaving to wrath and untruths,

re-arranges himself in elbow and knee

threadbare thrift store garments, that reek

like the well-trodden, popcorn grey rug beneath,

not steam-cleaned for years.

There are few oases for the honest worker,

laborer, in excluding corporate deserts-

the sweating letter carrier donning an oyster-white sun helmet,

her hat turning bisque from exposure, use-

the guys who rinse the ceiling of the Holland Tunnel 

out of trucks with long hoses at 3:30 AM,

invisible as NYC's early morning garbage men.

Those pre-positioned by culture, birth,

or just lucky enough to drink,

think they've outsmarted the awoken

bespoken to justice, struggle, peace

on their hoarder chessboards.

They dip their heads

like roomy and hollow-chinned pelicans

sucking up, storing tax cuts welfare,

and I dare opine,

if the poor are the ones

destined for heaven,

as still promised over two millennia,

why are most obsessed

with restoring the middle class?

You can work full-time

and still be poor-

this is not what we were created for.



The Baby Jesus Is A Joy Bomb  


   Everybody loves that itty-bitty baby Jesus. There he is in a  barn, supine, flailing his arms in a makeshift feeding trough lined with straw, wailing those kinds of infant cries that sometimes piss off middle-aged men on airplanes, shooting looks at mothers in consternation, then resentful resignation. The first to see the Cosmic Christ were some cows, warming him up with their breath too, I hope; curious donkeys, sheep, goats, mice. Maybe a puppy, a kitten were there- that would've been nice. If St. Joseph was up a dirt way talking logistics while his 14 year old spouse was giving birth as I imagine was the custom those days, then "lowly beasts" were placed to illumine their worth too, just like that holy peanut was for homo sapien you. Last Christmas eve, 10 minutes before midnight, I excused myself from a repass to attend to a nagging task. A neighbor left a shattered bedroom dressing mirror on the corner sidewalk for days. Thousands of chunks and shards of glass in a sheet, waiting to impale the paws of urban wildlife traveling through the night. No one on the block moved to remove it. People up, feast-sated, still celebrating, the streets fallow, a quiescent-of-sound kind of vibe in the air. I went to my shed and grabbed a bin and broom, cleaned up that 15 pound mess, checked the late night street lamp light at different angles to find straggler shards that could puncture, harm, hidden in grey crannies, then triple bagged and tossed them. Happy Birthday, baby Jesus. This is for you, because you love all of your friends, not just bleaters, brayers, and moo-ers presented in seasonal, sentimental manger illustrations, but living among us. Then a hidden joy bomb exploded in my chest. No one saw it, or ever will. But I think my new community cat rescue Kamala, a calico, has come to feel its pull.


John Bartram play

I promised you I'd get you the link as soon as I could; this is it.