Robin Says Relax
I fully agree with Timothy that not everyone who uses the term convergent Friends means the same thing. Heck, I’m not sure that I mean the same thing every time I use it. I think that’s par for the course of a new word coined by a non-academic thinker. I generally think that’s okay. I’m sure some people are in a hurry to precisely define new words. But I tend to think that convergent Friends is going to have a broad sort of meaning, not a narrow definition. So far, I’ve heard/read some Friends worried that it sounds too Christian and some that it’s not Christian enough. This too is a good sign for me.
So far, my experience of using the phrase convergent Friends and observing others who have embraced this label is that it is describing a sensibility, to quote Peggy Senger Parsons, that already exists. It is not being used to change people’s minds, to convert them to some other branch of Quakerism. It is helping Friends to name something they already felt.
For me, it describes my personal interest in a both/and kind of Quakerism. Open to old Christian language and to new inclusive practices. Waiting upon the Lord and following God into the needy places of the world. The direct inspiration of Christ within and a broad range of names and metaphors for that Light within.
It has come to my attention that there are Friends from all over the U.S., at least, unprogrammed, programmed, and evangelical Friends who are also interested in this experience. What I have found in common for all these Friends is that they claim a deep resonance with the writings of early Friends. Some of them are pastors of Friends churches, some of them are gender bending individuals, some are leaders in the wider Quaker world, some feel like outsiders even in their home Meetings. Some of them may be all of these. And yet, through blogs and in person, they/we are meeting each other, listening and sharing respectfully, discovering that each is not the “only one” who wants to dig deeper into, to live more fully in the vision that George Fox had for the world.
And so Friends, I recommend that we all take a deep breath and relax. We’ve all got a long road ahead of us.
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