“Um. .¬ . is this thing on?¬ Is anyone watching over this blog?¬ Hello?”¬ I wonder sometimes if that’s what folks think when they come to my site and see that it hasn’t been updated in foreverandeveramen.¬ And sometimes I wonder with my blabberings that are shot out into the great blogosphere if folks think, “Um . . . who let that kid have a blog?”¬ Similar to what happened this week as we took our 21 month old son to a wedding and amazingly enough he started to act up (shocking, I know:¬ a toddler not want to get dressed up and sit still and meet strangers after flying on an airplane and sleeping (well, dozing) in a hotel?!!?).¬ He was across the room being chased, and I started to joke, “Man, who was dumb enough to bring a toddler to a wedding?¬ What a non-non.”¬ Heh heh.¬ Okay, so I’m not that funny.¬ I’ll leave the stand-up comedy routine to Gregg (who this morning compared himself to a dog on a leash.¬ I’ll let him explain that one).
Thank you SO much for your comments.¬ Hearing other experiences and thoughts and ponderings is a true blessing, a gift. ¬ I hope to lead this workshop more as a facilitator than a “teacher” because the collective experiences are so much deeper than my singular experience.
Starla’s comment hit close to home:
I am facinated that the Friends are experiencing the decline of membership from the same demographic that is flocking to the emergent movement. I find it facinating, because Friends are more theologically similar to the emergent movement than almost any other denomination. . . . So, I canΔτt help but be personal about what I experienced. I know that I tired of the love affair Quakers have about beieng Quaker. I tired of reading Fox, Trueblood, etc. I tired of feeling like I need a personality make-over to be a good QuakerΔμhave you noticed the similarity in personality within the group? Similar mannerisms? I tired of silence-all the time. I wanted to mix it up and be loud from time to time. I tired of the tradition of not following tradition, as I see value in the liturgical movement.
I’ve been reading some Quaker history stuff:¬ pamphlets, books, etc.¬ I realized that I’m pretty saturated in emerging church and young adults, but not so much in Quakerism and young adults.¬ Since I’m facilitating two workshops, I figured I should probably know about both.¬ π
In my readings what truly struck me was how responsive the early Quakers were to the Spirit, no matter how abnormal it looked to their culture.¬ Yet, they didn’t behave simply to be counter-cultural:¬ they were following the call of the Spirit.¬ They sought “Primitive Christianity Revived” – hey, isn’t that what the emerging church movement desires as well?¬ Starla seems to resonate with that as well, and this has led her to attend an emerging church.
I don’t feel the call to leave my meeting (yet:¬ you never know), but I do understand her frustration with the “love affair with Quakerism” (I might call it “idolizing”).¬ Living in Northwest Quaker Mecca (i.e. our Yearly Meeting/Area Headquarters and George Fox University are here) I am saturated with Quaker culture, but it’s mixed:¬ some is contemporary, some is old school.¬ Yearly Meeting is interesting – a sort of “which Quaker are you?” experiment.¬ Do you talk about Jesus or Christ?¬ The Spirit or the Light?¬ Are you Board of Evangelism or Social Concerns?¬ Do you think that the Peace committee is making a difference or is a home for misplaced flower children?¬ I’ve heard so much reverence for Fox and Trueblood from folks that I haven’t necessarily seen living out anything radical or worthwhile that I stayed away from those writers until now.¬ And man:¬ I love this stuff!¬ So much truth – straight to the point.¬ But I think I’m in a place where I’m ready to receive their writings due to my experience with Emerging Church – it’s put the overall truths into a cultural context for me.
“It is important, as our contemporary rediscovery proceeds, that we do not succumb to the temptation to idolize the earliest Quaker period.¬ The past cannot be repeated and ought not to be repeated even if it were possible.¬ What is important is that the vision of greatness demonstrated in an earlier time may help¬ men and women of this generation to know how to discover the secret of an equal vitality, with relevance to the contemporary situation.”¬ Trueblood
Starla said she thought Woolman would be jumping and yelling if he were around today, but would it be allowed?¬ What about Fox?¬ Would he be blogging and podcasting as a current means of spreading a message?¬ Would he be saying, “Does thee fare well today?” or “S’up?”¬ Would Elizabeth Fry be wearing gray, or would she be wearing environmentally-friendly, sweatshop-free made clothes, and then campaigning to eliminate the sweatshop environments?¬ Would William Penn have created a place like MySpace, venturing out into the new territory of the internet to create a community?
A lot of time is spent nailing down, “What kind of Quaker are you?”¬ I don’t know how much of the early Quakers did that;¬ it seems that they listened to their leaders, their community, the Scriptures, and the Light.¬ They wanted folks to be pointed, not towards them and their actions, but towards the Spirit:¬ to encounter Christ personally.¬ That’s the type of folks young adults are drawn to.¬ That’s a place where growth and expansion and radical transformation can happen.¬ That’s where I ache to be.
(And instead of riding naked into town on a donkey, do you think Naylor would’ve done a naked stunt on a reality show?¬ You gotta wonder. . . )¬ π