Robin Says Relax

This is an edited version of my comment on One Quaker Take’s post What does "Convergent Quakerism" mean to you? that hasn’t made it through the moderation system yet.

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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Yearly Meeting (NCYM-Conservative) this past weekend, Lloyd Lee Wilson made the statement that our attempt as Friends should be to never "force the river". That has been on my mind since that time.

God works as God will and in God's time. Of course, this goes against everything that is within me (I need it to happen...NOW!).

I continue to be excited about the convergent Friends movement. Who knows what direction it will take us in and what blessings might be awaiting us just around the next bend?

Perhaps we cannot come to a common definition of what convergent Friends might mean. Is that really a problem for a movement so new, so young?

In my opinion, God will pour out God's Spirit in new wineskins, new models, new paradigms which will bring renewal, Love and Truth to all who seek to know God's heart. That is a promise both from our history as Friends and from the Scriptures.

What has already happened in my life, if I might testify to the working of Truth, is that I have really changed my mind and attitude to my brothers and sisters in the Evangelical Friends Church. Formally, I felt that I had nothing in common with them, especially on the issue of equality for all people. Now, I'm not so sure. Having taken a second look at EFI, there is a definite work of God's Spirit within that community...a work that I would have never seen had it not been for all this talk of convergence.

Love and peace,
Friendship MM
Greensboro, NC

7/20/2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

The key for me is that neither evangelical Friends nor liberal Friends nor conservative Friends are monolithic entities.

7/20/2006 10:48 PM  

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