An FUM blog for writing on the life of faith.


When Kevin’s mother called me to tell me he had run away from home, she was crying. Anger, fear, and exhaustion poured out of her through the phone. She wept as she explained how her son told her he would rather live on the streets of Portland, Oregon, than stay one more day with her and his younger brother. He didn’t need them or want them—and at fifteen years old, he was perfectly able to fend for himself.

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Ask Tom: How were children expected to behave in traditional Quaker worship?

My sense is that one of the major changes in Quaker worship over the past century-and-a-half, aside from the introduction of programmed worship (definitely a biggie!), has been the growing sense that young children should not be present for the whole period.

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We were driving to my mother’s home in Nashville for our Christmas celebration, and my daughter reacted to a new construction project we hadn’t seen before. Obviously it had been quite a while since we drove south.

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Coffee with Jesus

As a barista, mornings now bid me rise at 4 a.m. to fill enough carafes with liquid motivation for the 6 a.m. rush. Before the sun peeks over earth I’ve heard, “Thanks, hon” from the construction foreman with a gravelly, Sam Elliot-like voice; said, “Have a great day,” to half the hospital’s nurses as they caffeinate before their rounds; and poured refills for the jogging club whose daily circuit ends at the espresso machine.

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