Post PYM Apathetic Stress Disorder
For instance, talking about Quaker blogs and convergent Friends to the Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM=high school group). I feel really honored that I was invited. I think it went pretty well - nobody fell asleep, at least. One of the most interesting parts was talking about the difference between writing longhand, on paper, and writing directly on the computer. JYM Friends were able to articulate how it is different for them, and I was able to share my experience and it felt like they were really engaged in thinking about it. I gave them basically the same handout that we used at FGC, with its list of books and blogs, and maybe that will be a resource for them in the future. We also did the exercise that Chris M. and I did at our blogging workshop at our Meeting where I taped a few sample posts to the wall with a big sheet of paper for comments and invited them to read and write their own comments. This worked well again. I used an excerpt from LiveJournal about growing up Quaker and wanting to make a recommitment, an excerpt from a post from a young Friend about returning from a dramatic Quaker gathering and trying to adjust to the ordinary world, and my own story about a mystical experience of Jesus. And later in the week, one of the young Friends referred to this experiment as helping him understand how other Friends help him know what he thinks. One thing I learned was that this exercise is not accessible to Friends with some disabilities. I read one of the posts out loud to one Friend with a visual impairment and then he was able to write his own comment. But I hadn't thought about that in advance. I will try to be more thoughtful in the future.
The children's program went fine. Chris did a fine job, lots of people volunteered, and more people than usual thought about how to involve young people in the program.
I was asked to serve on a committee that I hadn't considered before, but I still haven't decided if I will accept this nomination or not. Of course, in a way my indecision is also a no. But we'll see.
I went to the FWCC presentation about the annual meeting in Guatemala. I am more and more sorry that I didn't try to go, but I hope there will be other opportunities. I think it is very important for me to be in contact with the convergent type things that have been going on for years through FWCC.
The interest group that I led was ok. Not fabulous. It felt flat to me. One thing I can name is that I was not sufficiently prepared. I tried to do the same thing that we did at FGC but I didn't plan well enough for the shorter time period. Also, I feel like it was not rightly led that I ran it by myself. I had hoped that C. Wess Daniels would be able to join me, but his class schedule interfered. I debated with myself whether to do it anyway or not, but several Friends asked me about it and said they were looking forward to it, and so I went ahead. Most of the people who came were pleased with it, but I still think it was too much pride on my part and not enough actual convergence that left it lackluster.
Not so the dinner & discussion at the home of Wess and Emily Daniels. That was truly wonderful - inspired and inspiring. Beppe has a podcast about it and Chris M. has posted a picture of the bloggers who were present but one of the best things for me was that it was not all bloggers - there were a half dozen Friends who are not involved in the blogosphere that came to see more and join the discussion.
The semi-programmed worship at the beginning was rich. A couple of good songs, a reading from the Bible and silent worship time. Very nice. Unfortunately, I was changing dirty underpants during the singing, but other than that, a couple of Wess and Emily's friends from their Mennonite church hung out with our kids while they drew with sidewalk chalk and played charades. What a gift to be near enough for my kids to see and hear us but for me to still be able to participate in the discussion. You can hear the kids in the background on the podcast too. One of the older girls came and listened to the conversation while her mom stroked her head. An intergenerational opportunity.
We revisited some old territory - an evangelical Friend asked how can you be Quaker and not Christian. But he asked it in an honestly curious way and he got some general explanations of how Friends have come to this point and some personal testimony about how we individually have addressed this question. Another unprogrammed Friend was honestly shocked that some evangelical and pastoral Friends churches wouldn't agree on the peace testimony. I think these are questions that everyone should have a chance to ask and hear the real answers that come from other Friends - not in a game of Gotcha! but because we truly don't know the answers that others hold until we encounter them live and in person, or at least via personal blogs.
The conversation rolled on without ever getting to the queries that Wess and Chris Frazier had developed, but I think those questions will be handy for another opportunity that just hasn't arisen yet. What this proved for me is that there is more to be explored in this fashion - not formal conferences, but informal meals and conversations.
Well, this has turned out longer than I expected. But one of the few things I have learned about becoming a good writer is that sometimes you just have to write, even if you're not inspired, just to keep up the exercise.
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