"Be the change" lunch on December 1
From: John Wallace (walla003TC.UMN.EDU)
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 08:20:21 -0600
November 26, 2003

To:    Folk School folks

From: John Wallace

Invitation to:  Folk School lunch at John Wallace's office, this coming 

Monday, December 1, 11:30 -- 1:00

Note the shift in place from the meetings we had for several Mondays at 

Trinity Lutheran Congregation.  You are welcome to bring your brown bag 

lunch.  Juice and cookies will be served.

     The purpose of these weekly lunch meetings is to dig into Gandhi's

saying, "You must be the change you seek in the world."  They are open, 

rolling conversations happening throughout this academic year, where 
people are free to come when they can, and come at any time between 
11:30 and 1:00.

     Last week we began by reading out a poem by William Stafford and a 

short text from John Woolman's Journal.  This seemed to work well 
(again).  We will start with another Stafford poem and an excerpt from 

Woolman's Journal this Monday.

     I am pasting in below the pieces we used last Monday.

     My office is 868 Heller Hall, on the U of MN West Bank campus.  
Close to Wilson Library and the Humphrey Institute.

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

William Stafford

The Journal of John Woolman

John Woolman lived from 1720 to 1772.  Like many Quakers, Woolman kept 

a spiritual journal, that he began writing in 1756.  The writing looks 

backward, beginning with his birth, and continues until the end of his 

life.  The entry below concerns how he made his living; it is from 
Chapter Three of the Journal and describes events that happened in 1756.

Until this year, 1756, I continued to retail goods, besides following 
my trade as a tailor; about which time I grew uneasy on account of my 
business growing too cumbersome. I had begun with selling trimmings for 

garments, and from thence proceeded to sell cloths and linens; and at 
length, having got a considerable shop of goods, my trade increased 
every year, and the way to large business appeared open, but I felt a 
stop in my mind.

Through the mercies of the Almighty, I had, in a good degree, learned 
to be content with a plain way of living. I had but a small family; 
and, on serious consideration, believed truth did not require me to 
engage much in cumbering affairs. It had been my general practice to 
buy and sell things really useful. Things that served chiefly to please 

the vain mind in people, I was not easy to trade in; seldom did it; and 

whenever I did I found it weaken me as a Christian.

The increase of business became my burden; for though my natural 
inclination was toward merchandise, yet I believed truth required me to 

live more free from outward cumbers; and there was now a strife in my 
mind between the two. In this exercise my prayers were put up to the 
Lord, who graciously heard me, and gave me a heart resigned to his holy 

will. Then I lessened my outward business, and, as I had opportunity, 
told my customers of my intentions, that they might consider what shop 

to turn to; and in a while I wholly laid down merchandise, and followed 

my trade as a tailor by myself, having no apprentice. I also had a 
nursery of apple-trees, in which I employed some of my time in hoeing, 

grafting, trimming, and inoculating. In merchandise it is the custom 
where I lived to sell chiefly on credit, and poor people often get in 
debt; when payment is expected, not having wherewith to pay, their 
creditors often sue for it at law. Having frequently observed 
occurrences of this kind, I found it good for me to advise poor people 

to take such goods as were most useful, and not costly.

(later in the same chapter he picks up the theme again)

Though trading in things useful is an honest employ, yet through the 
great number of superfluities which are bought and sold, and through 
the corruption of the times, they who apply to merchandise for a living 

have great need to be well experienced in that precept which the 
Prophet Jeremiah laid down for his scribe: "Seekest thou great things 
for thyself? seek them not."

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