Even Christ Jesus?
So then I started to ask who is this leader, Betsy Blake?
The first thing that I heard was that she was part of making the film “Can We ALL Be Friends?” and that she was from North Carolina, maybe the daughter of an FUM pastor. Hmmm. Interesting, I thought.
Then I sent her an email about a minor publicity idea and she wrote back that she would really like the workshop to be about how to hear even Christ Jesus today. I almost fell off my chair. I wrote back that that language spoke to me, sent her a couple of links to my blog, and said I was happy to help her in whatever way might be useful.
The next thing we did together was to work on the text for the flyer about her workshop. I told her to go ahead and say where she really felt God was leading her – it would just make a better workshop. She discussed it with her clearness committee from First Friends Meeting of Greensboro, NC; then emailed me the text. When we finally spoke on the phone, it was wonderful. I am so looking forward to meeting her in person in April.
Here’s the description:
Title: Even Christ Jesus?
Many mark the wet, slippery birth of Quakerism to the radical divine message spoken to a young George Fox in mid 17th century England: "...There is one, even Christ Jesus, who can speak to thy condition..."
It was a life-rattling realization then and now and is currently one of the most tender and controversial topics amongst the wider Religious Society of Friends.
What does it mean to be in relationship with Christ Jesus? What is our calling in Christ? Who is this character? And what message might we be hearing today, individually and corporately?? (And does that mean we should, like, do something?)
This workshop, designed for young adult Friends, seeks in accordance with the example of Christ, to meet people exactly where they are. We will listen, ask, read scripture and early Quaker accounts, sing, write, pray, play, and hang out with one another as we examine what invitation Jesus speaks to us now.
And here’s Betsy’s bio:
Betsy Blake, 29, is a Jesus-loving, lifelong Quaker. As a frizzy headed adolescent, Betsy became intrigued with different kinds of Quakers after attending a Youthquake in 1991.
As a surprise, even to herself, she later enrolled in the Quaker Leader Scholars Program at Guilford College where she spent four years dialoguing and worshipping with Friends from across the spectrum.
Betsy spent four years organizing the World Gathering of Young Friends, serving as the North American-Based Coordinator. During this time, she traveled widely amongst Friends, conducting interviews on the current state of Quakerism and prayerfully visioning the future. During this time she also co-produced the documentary "Can We ALL Be Friends?" available through FGC Books and Pendle Hill Books.
Betsy currently resides in Greensboro, NC, where she is a member of First Friends Meeting (FUM). She is passionate about environmental sustainability, good music, art and illustration, random adventures, and walking around admiring God's handiwork.
The hazards of the internet: I found her Friendster profile too.]
Do you want to come yet?
One of the most fun things I did was to solicit testimonials from various young adult Friends in Pacific Yearly Meeting who already know her to add to the flyer. How often do you hear someone say, “and man, can she get her prayer on” ?
Here’s another line that was too long for the flyer, but speaks to me anyway. “Having Betsy lead a workshop is not only a testimony of a strong spiritual leader coming into her own and bringing wisdom from distant places to California, it is an opportunity for us to gather and listen to where God leads us not simply as individuals but as our potential of becoming a beloved community.”
The next phase is actually to start distributing the flyer and inviting folks to register for the weekend. Which you will be able to do soon, via the Quaker Center website. If you’d like the actual flyer, you can contact QC or send me an email and I’ll get you one. The coordinator of the Western Region of the Christian Friends Conference has promised to send it to his mailing list. I’m also thinking sending it out to Friends all over the western United States – this will be a rare opportunity, and I think it would be worth coming down from Seattle or up from LA, or in from Denver – but we’ll see. If you know a young adult Friend who might be interested, or you are a young Friend who is interested – step right up!
I think I should say right now that you don’t have to call yourself a Christian to come to this workshop, but maybe you should be prepared to hear more God-talk than you’re used to. Also, if you’ve grown up in a Christ-centered family or Friends Church, maybe you should be prepared to hear other people’s doubts and concerns about Christianity. But that will be part of the process – how do we listen tenderly and deeply to each other and to God? And how do we tenderly and deeply speak truth to others?
So the topic of this workshop is not convergence. But just getting the folks together who want to come to something like this will be convergent.
And that brings me great joy.
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