3.14.2009

Intro to Quakerism for the Emergent Crowd

So a couple of days ago, I got an email from a Presbymergent friend. It was an invitation to folks who are what she calls hypenmergent to send a flyer to a major conference for people interested in the emerging church.

For those of you who are lost already, Presbymergent is a subset of hyphenmergent. The P word is for Presbyterians who are also emergent. Hyphenmergent covers all the people who are part of an existing denomination who also interested in or committed to the emerging conversation. Emergent is better described here on the Emergent Village website. If you're still too confused, then don't worry about it. But keep in mind that I consider convergent Friends to be the Quaker part of the emerging church conversation.

Basically, I am making a handout about Quakers for an audience who are mostly progressive Christians. Many of whom will have heard of Quakers but not really know much about us. Some of whom are already happily in a church community and some of whom are actively seeking a new church community. So I think it's worth sending 100 flyers or so.

A serious problem is that this conference is in New Mexico this coming week. (I would have liked to go, but it's the same weekend as the FWCC Section of the Americas annual meeting in Oregon, which I am committed to attending.) So I have to mail the flyers on Monday for them to have any hope of arriving in time to be put out on the hyphenmergent table in the "resource marketplace."

But I had a total of three days to make this flyer. I will have one day left by the time I post this. I can not make an exhaustive comparison (or even a coherent comparison) between the emerging church and convergent Friends. I want to give a hint of what we're about and point them to additional resources. I want to use stuff that I already had put together for other purposes.

Here is my current draft. It looks a little better in my Word document than in my blog, but it's going to be very basic formatting. I'm thinking straight black ink on white paper. It'll look more "Quakerly" and it may stand out from all the colored paper flyers on the same table. What do you think?


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
curious about Quakers?

CONVERGENT FRIENDS

The Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, is one of the traditional Peace Churches, with a 350 year history of pacifism. Friends are also known for their commitment to social justice, the equality of men and women in worship and society, and plain living. Quakers have not always been able to resolve their own internal conflicts, leading to four (or six, depending on who’s counting) branches of Friends with a variety of practices and beliefs that don’t always get along.

Convergent Friends are seeking a deeper understanding of our Quaker heritage and a more authentic life in the kingdom of God on Earth, radically inclusive of all who seek to live this life.

Linguistically, the name alludes to an affinity for both Conservative Friends and the Emergent Church. Metaphorically, it suggests that Friends are moving closer together towards some common point on the horizon. The winds of the Spirit are blowing across all the branches of Friends, blowing us in the same direction. The convergence of Friends is a fuzzy, changing concept, not an example of pure mathematics or philosophy.

This term includes, among others, Friends from the politically liberal end of the evangelical branch, the Christian end of the unprogrammed branch, and the more outgoing end of the Conservative branch. It includes folks who aren’t sure what they believe about Jesus and Christ, but who aren’t afraid to wrestle with this question. It includes people who think that a lot of Quaker anachronisms are silly but who are willing to experiment to see which are spiritual disciplines that still hold life and power to transform us. Some of these people are communicating across vast distances of geography or institutional theology. Some of them are communicating across dinner tables, while consuming take-out pizza and home-made chocolate chip cookies.

Welcome to the conversation!

To find a Friends’ Meeting or Church near you, visit www.fwccamericas.org/meetingsearch.aspx and enter your zip code

For the latest in convergent Friends blogs, events and dialogue, visit www.QuakerQuaker.org, a collectively edited community of blogs and social media.

---------------other side of the paper-------------------

Some books by and about Quakers:

Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly (HarperCollins, 1996, originally published 1941)

The Journal of John Woolman
(1720-1772), edited by Philips Moulton (Friends United Press, 1989 & 1971)

Through Flaming Sword: The Life and Legacy of George Fox
by Arthur O. Roberts (Barclay Press, 2008, originally published in 1959)

A Plain Life: Walking My Belief
by Scott Savage (Ballantine Books, 2000)

Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order
by Lloyd Lee Wilson (Quaker Press of FGC, 2001, originally published 1993)

Plain Living: A Quaker Path to Simplicity
by Catherine Whitmire (Sorin Books, 2001)

Living the Way: Quaker Spirituality & Community by Ursula Jane O'Shea (Quaker Home Service, 2003)

Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality
by J. Brent Bill (Paraclete Press, 2005)

On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry
by Brian Drayton (Quaker Press of FGC, 2006)

---------------------------------------end--------------------------------------

I'm really interested in what other people think. Even if you're reading this after the deadline, let me know how I could do better the next time.

Labels: , ,

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

12 Comments:

Blogger naturalmom said...

Robin, I think it sounds pretty good. It's a tough concept to explain concisely -- the whole emergent thing is tough to explain and understand, actually.

One observation: the phrase "the Christian end of the unprogrammed branch" would have had zero meaning to me before becoming familiar with Quaker worship and structure. Other terms in the sentence such as "evangelical", "conservative", and "politically liberal" have enough common currency for people to have at least a broad understanding of your meaning. In contrast, "unprogrammed" is Quaker lingo -- both it's literal meaning and theological implication is completely opaque to most outsiders.

More cumbersome but better understood might be something like, "the Christian end of the theologically liberal branch" There's probably better phrasing than that, but that's the best I can do off the top of my head. Best of luck!

3/15/2009 1:51 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Robin,

Thanks for sharing this draft. I didn't know what, if anything, might actually get drawn up.

My main remark is about the title and subtitle, "Curious about Quakers? ...Convergent Friends."

I wonder if the connection between Quakers and the Emergent Church couldn't be made more transparent this way:

"Curious about Quakers? The Emergent Church and the Religious Society of Friends"

or even:

Quakers + Emergent = Convergent Friends
(intended to be on one line, as in an equation)

I guess there's no easy, plain-speaking sort of way to deal with our quirky words, but I find I have a reaction to having the phrase "Convergent Friends" hanging out there at the top, when so many Quakers are still scratching their heads about what "convergent" means...

I truly appreciate your willingness to test this draft with a few folks, especially when time is so tight.

Blessings,
Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

3/15/2009 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Kenneth said...

WOW! I took a machete to it and came up with this:

Quakers + Emergent = Convergent Friends

Convergent Friends are seeking a deeper understanding of our Quaker heritage and a more authentic life in the kingdom of God on Earth, radically inclusive of all who seek to live this life.

The Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, first emerged during the English Civil War, 350 years ago. For much of that time Friends have been known for their pacifist ideals. Friends are also known for their commitment to social justice, the equality of men and women in worship and society, and plain living. Quakers have not always been able to resolve their own internal conflicts, leading to four (or six, depending on who’s counting) branches of Friends with a variety of practices and beliefs that don’t always get along.

Metaphorically, the phrase "Convergent Friends" suggests that Friends are moving closer together towards some common point on the horizon. The winds of the Spirit are blowing across all the branches of Friends, blowing us in the same direction. The convergence of Friends is a fuzzy, changing concept, not an example of pure mathematics or philosophy.

This term includes, among others, Friends from the politically liberal end of the evangelical branch, the Christian end of the theologically liberal branch, and the more outgoing end of the Conservative branch. It includes folks who aren’t sure what they believe about Jesus and Christ, but who aren’t afraid to wrestle with this question. It includes people who think that a lot of Quaker anachronisms are silly but who are willing to experiment to see which are spiritual disciplines that still hold life and power to transform us. Some of these people are communicating across vast distances of geography or institutional theology. Some of them are communicating across dinner tables, while consuming take-out pizza and home-made chocolate chip cookies.

3/15/2009 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Kenneth said...

Apropos of the "convergent" image and the winds of the Spirit. One of the best metaphors of the Light I've ever learned is to think of a lamp on a stand, with a shade (and a single bulb) in the center of an otherwise dark room. Each of us in the room, if we have eyes to see (metaphorically, so we all do!), will see something slightly different, but we are all seeing the Light. If we "mind the Light" and draw close to it, we will draw closer to one another. The light will show us things about ourselves, and it will also show us things about others that they may not be able to see themselves. Some of us may have an obscured view, or a veiled view, but it is still the same Light illuminating our vision.

I have been amazed at how neatly this physical example corresponds to what Quakers have taught about a spiritual reality. So seldom do metaphors align so well.

3/15/2009 8:30 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Thank you, all of you. I have adopted most of Kenneth's edits, which reflected Stephanie and Liz's suggestions. Kenneth, I wouldn't call it machete work, more like barber's scissors.

It's good to get more than two eyes, or even the four that Chris and I have, to look at something. Couldn't do it without my Friends...

3/16/2009 12:05 AM  
Blogger Hystery said...

Thank you. I've been puzzled about the term "convergent" for some time. This provided helpful clarification.

3/17/2009 3:38 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hystery, I'm glad it helped!

3/18/2009 2:02 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Oh, Robin, that's fantastic! A little late for this version, but I'd like to see some blogs on the reading list. I think blogs are an easily accessible way for Quaker curious folks to learn more.

3/22/2009 8:05 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Thanks, Holly. Glad you liked it. And I heard that the flyers did make it and were out on the table. For blogs, I thought that listing QuakerQuaker.org was the best into to Quaker blogging, rather than trying to make a list of individuals. Do you think that's not enough?

3/22/2009 4:22 PM  
Blogger Jenell Williams Paris said...

Testament of Devotion changed my life. I heard a Quaker sociologist lecture around 1993 (lisa McMinn, now at George Fox U), and read the book she mentioned in her talk. I had never heard of the Light Within, but I recognized what he meant as I read.

I wrote down a few others of yours for summer reading. I love your handout.

3/28/2009 6:53 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Thank you, Jenell, I'm glad you liked it. Yes, reading Thomas Kelly is life changing if you let it. He wrote another book called The Eternal Promise, which is also very good, but hasn't been reprinted lately I think. I hope you enjoy your summer reading.

3/28/2009 11:23 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Robin and Jenell, The Eternal Promise was reprinted in 1991. Not sure if that's considered an old version (but not the oldest) or a new(er) version...

Looks like a new essay was added to this edition, regardless. (Click on link, above)

Blessings,
Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

3/29/2009 1:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home