Acting in Faith

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By Madeline Schaefer
Published: December 20, 2013

 And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore: Isaiah 2:4

What I love about this quote—both its content and its historicity— is what it signifies about the seemingly human-ness of our yearnings for peace.  Some impulse in the human Spirit has been calling us to a time when we can lay down our fear and our hatred and to not “learn war anymore,” a time when we can transform our destructive energy into something more constructive.  Humans have...

By Bilal Taylor
Published: December 18, 2013

I used to often struggle with the proper relationship between peace and justice. More specifically, I wrestled with whether or not it is ethical to ask folks who are living in deplorable, violently oppressive conditions to vie for peace when there is such a glaring absence of justice in their daily lives. In many ways, the answer to this question continues to shape my understanding of the question of peace in the modern world.

My first attempt at resolving this coincided with my intellectual journey. On the one hand, I would read the work of such luminaries as Martin Luther King, Jr...

By Madeline Schaefer
Published: December 11, 2013

Studying English in college, one of the things I loved most about literature of all kinds was how it connected me so deeply to the humanity of people living in other centuries and other countries. Now I love reading old publications down in the American Friends Service Committee's (ASFC) archives for the same reasons—to marvel at how language has changed while our core beliefs have remained the same.

In December 1967, AFSC placed an advertisement in The New York Times with the headline, “What days are holy?” It read, “At this time of the holy days of four world faiths—Christianity,...

By Dereje Wordofa
Published: December 10, 2013

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s long illness might have helped us to reflect on his heritage for his country of birth, South Africa, and the world at large well before his death on Thursday, the 5th of December, 2013. Listening to...

By Madeline Schaefer
Published: December 4, 2013

On Nov. 15, Quaker schools from around New England gathered at Moses Brown Friends School in Providence, R.I., for a day-long conference on peace education. Madeline Schaefer, Friends Relations Associate at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), was invited to present and share AFSC's resources for teaching peace to young people.

Along with giving her presentation, which she co-presented with Friends Council on Education's Deborra Sines Pancoe, Madeline spoke with other presenters and organizers to try and answer the question of what peace education looks like, and how...