PlainSpeech Messages | Find YOUR way to GRACE.

I recently read a message I’d given in 1984 and felt a mixture of embarrassment and surprise. Embarrassed because it seems inadequate now, and surprised by how much my worldview has changed. Twenty-five years from now, I might read these messages and have a similar reaction. I offer no guarantee that my work or words will endure the eroding effects of time. I can only assure you these thoughts have been helpful to me, and perhaps a few others, today. With that qualification, I offer them to you.

~ Philip

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The God of Sarah

The God of Sarah

I remember when Russ Arnold, a bright and thoughtful Jewish man who taught the Bible and religion over at DePauw, used to worship with us. His wife, Ginger, was Christian, so they attended Quaker meeting because we didn’t try to turn him into a Christian. Every now...

God and Guns

God and Guns

What is it about guns, and their power? Not just their power to kill, which is their obvious power, but their power to intoxicate, their power to enchant even the most thoughtful among us, their cunning ability to make us believe we are not safe without them, even as they destroy us.

Labor Day

Labor Day

When Joan and I met in 1982, she attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute, and I was a lowly worker at Public Service Indiana. I had no marketable skills, except the gift of persuasion, which I used to convince Joan her life would be wretched without me. So we...

My New Hero

My New Hero

When I was in college, I was required to take a class in sociology, as the goal of a liberal arts education is ensuring one is well-versed in topics outside their chosen major. My major was theology, but there I was in sociology class, and found it fascinating, so at...

The Healing Power of Normalcy

The Healing Power of Normalcy

I want to thank the meeting for its love to my family this past week—the visits, the letters, the phone calls, and all the delicious food after the funeral of my father. An interesting custom, the funeral dinner. In the gospel of John, in the 21st chapter, it tells...

Norman Gulley Memorial Service

Norman Gulley Memorial Service

We gather today to honor the life of my father, Norman Gulley. He was born in 1933 in Benton, Illinois to Glenn and Mary Lois Gulley, and passed away 86 years later. My earliest memory of Dad occurred when I was four or five and he walked into a telephone pole at...

While Sitting In My Father’s Hut

While Sitting In My Father’s Hut

It’s been a last-things kind of week. Dad passed away, so we’ve been going to his apartment to clean it. My two nephews Aaron and Pierson helped me move the heavy furniture. They’re young and strong and I’m old and tricky, so they carried it out while I held the...

What the Miracles of Jesus Tell Us

What the Miracles of Jesus Tell Us

Joan and I were down in Monteagle, Tennessee recently, participating in a Chautauqua, a movement began almost 150 years ago as a means of educating Sunday school teachers by exposing them to lecturers from a variety of fields. I think it’s safe to say I’m probably not...

The Missing Fruits (Self-Awareness)

The Missing Fruits (Self-Awareness)

This past week, I was driving down 86th street, coming home from giving a speech. I’d been gone most of the day, was impatient to get home to Joan, and was frustrated because every one of the 953 traffic lights between where I was and home was red, and the stop cycle...

The Missing Fruits (Enthusiasm)

The Missing Fruits (Enthusiasm)

When I was a kid growing up in the Catholic church I learned all these obscure teachings that caused me, at the age of 16, to prefer the simplicity of Quakerism. For instance, as a child, I was repeatedly cautioned about the seven deadly sins, and was told if I...

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