Reading Drayton in Community

So I went to the Thursday night study group last night. I think it's been eight years since the last time. Some things never change.

Chris M. and I used to go every Thursday, for about three years. When H. got too big to carry with us and just sleep through everything, Chris and I gave up going. Rather than have one of us be resentful every week, we decided neither of us would go. Harmony in our marriage was more important than our study group. However, I have tried to read some of the same books that the group has read and from time to time, I have recommended books or pamphlets that I have read to the group's semi-official leader. Members One of Another by Thomas Gates is one example that I think they took up.

I have been enthusiastically encouraging the study group to read Brian Drayton's On Living with a Concern for Gospel Ministry for six months now. They finally finished up the William Penn text that they'd been reading for months, and announced that this would be next. Hooray!

Several of us have already read the book. I agree with the person who said last night that he is really looking forward to reading this with other people. I am looking forward to the chance to discuss the calling to vocal ministry with some of the true (if unrecorded) ministers and elders of my Meeting. I phoned several other people in our Meeting who give vocal ministry to encourage them to come too. Some of them have other commitments on Thursday nights; some have too much going on in their lives already to add one more night out. But one of them showed up last night and I hope that others will drop in from time to time.

Last night, in one hour, we got through the Foreword by Fran Taber and about half the Introduction. That's about eight pages. Methinks we'll be reading this book for a long time to come. The group's method is only partly about reading the texts. As Friends said last night, it's also about sharing our spiritual journeys and questions and creating the blessed community among us.

I feel blessed to be part of this community. I had the opportunity to say last night how much the Quaker blogosphere has helped me to appreciate being part of my Meeting.


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Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Hi Robin,
I'd love to be able to join that group. There's a lot to react to and think about in that book. I remember it took me longer-than-usual to read it, simply because I had to just put it down so frequently to reflect on some point he had made. I suspect the real joy will come from the sharing that comes out, whether it's related to the book or not.

11/03/2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger Chris M. said...

I have fond memories of carrying Henry around in the sling that my sister gave us and walking him around the worship room, trying to get him to go to sleep. We would go to each of the exit signs and I would point to the pretty green light and say, "Exit. E - X - I - T. Exit! That means go out!" I'm sure the early exposure to this technology was a big help in his being such a prodigious reader. In fact, maybe I ought to copyright it: "Exit: This Way to Reading(R)"!

-- Chris M.

11/04/2006 1:36 AM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Once my own life slows down a little, I'd like to pursue a book study group like San Francisco's. Maybe if I come out for Quaker Heritage Day, and if you guys are still reading Drayton, I can plan to come early or stay late, just to sit in on the reading group! smile

Shortly after I finished reading Drayton, I loaned my penciled-over copy to a Friend in the worship group. The same day he returned it to me, another Friend in the worship group expressed interest in it, so it went home with him that night.

Good stuff. Yum.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

11/04/2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I'd love to read that book with others. The reading group at Cambridge is doing "Faith and Practice", which is a brilliant idea...get it in our heads before it is diemboweled/overhauled. Unfortunately, I haven't made a single meeting. But at least I think about it.

11/09/2006 12:45 AM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Last night, I attended a reading group about excerpts from a few of George Fox's epistles. I was disappointed. The group is mostly for worship sharing around exercises that have inspired the facilitator as an outgrowth of the reading. All I want to do is let Fox's words sink in and reflect on them with others...

So during the group, I found myself thinking about your post, Robin, and the San Fran Friends reading group, wondering if Way will ever open for such a group to emerge in my part of town... or if, when my schedule quiets down--maybe Fall of 2007?!--I might consider offering such a group here... Maybe call it a "fan of San Fran" reading group...? smile

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

11/15/2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/15/2006 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our adults' First Day school reads through books before meeting for worship. Mostly, we read through books of the Bible... currently, we are reading through Genesis. (We get a chapter or two done each First Day, depending on how much discussion we have.)

But I think this would be an excellent book to suggest when we get to the end of Genesis. Fran Taber gave me a copy because she thought I would enjoy it, and then I gave a copy to another so-far-unrecorded minister, and I think reading it as a group would be great! Thanks for the tip.

(This is my first ever blog comment.... I hope I got it right!)

12/08/2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hi Shawna - good job leaving a comment! If you do read Drayton, let me know how it goes. I missed the SF study group last week, but it has been quite rich along the way. Maybe I will blog more about it one of these weeks.

12/11/2006 2:15 PM  

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