A new definition of convergent Friends?

It’s been a busy year for me since I first published my definition of convergent Friends. I’ve had more time to think about it and a lot of opportunities to talk about it with other Friends, some of whom jumped right in and claimed it for themselves, and some of whom are strongly resistent to the concept or even just the words.

In any case, I think it’s time I updated my definition of convergent Friends. I’m wrestling with how to do it. My current plan is to just edit the text in the old post. Does that complicate or confuse things since there are comments that were made for the original text? Well, somewhat, yes. But it’s my robinopedia. The disclaimer has always said that I reserve the right to edit them at any time, even without prior notice. But I’m open to advice on this matter. And if you want to add more comments with your opinion of the new version, please, go right ahead. (Even if you never commented before, really, I mean it. I love more comments.) If you want to write your own definition of what convergent Friends mean to you, go ahead.

One thing that has always been clear to me, if not to everyone else, is that while I may have coined a new phrase, I didn’t invent the phenomena it describes. Frankly, I was just looking for a more efficient way to refer to a trend that I saw happening, locally, in the Quaker blogosphere, and in a wide variety of Quaker communities across the U.S.

What I can say now is that the conversations that have been opened around this theme have brought me great joy in the last year. Thank you to all of you. Even the people who don’t like the idea or the word. Their questions and comments have also helped me refine what I mean and what I don’t mean. It is still true that I probably don’t mean the same thing everytime I use the word convergent. There is no precise, commonly accepted, peer-reviewed definition. Like any human concept, it is more fuzzy than pure mathematics; more fluid than written in stone; and more likely to change and grow over time.

Thank God.

Here are some other useful links:
Robin M. on Quaker History as a Uniting Force?
Peggy Senger Parsons on Why I Like The Idea of Convergence (and bubbles in the bathwater)
C. Wess Daniels's article in Quaker Life, "Convergent Friends: Passing On the Faith in a Postmodern World"
Robin M. says Relax
Liz Opp unravels some myths about convergent Friends
Wess Daniels notices some new trends within the convergent Friends conversation
All my convergent del.icio.us tags

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Blogger Will T said...

Hi Robin,
So how's this for an idea. Write a new post describing your new definition of convergent Friends and then update your old post with a link to the new one. That way the old conversation is saved and people can still see how your thinking has changed. Of course it is your robinopedia so do what what you want.

God bless you.


3/28/2007 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're thinking about these issues and I would vote for leaving the old post and using links back and forth to point the way. I like the idea of showing a conversation and a sense of things progressing. We are seeking to find open-ended answers, that can always be re-translated and re-thought yet at the same time are substantial and rich right now. Anyways I look forward to your new ideas. that's my 1.5 cents worth.

3/28/2007 11:53 PM  
Blogger Chris M. said...

Friend Will speaks my mind. That would be proper blogetiquette.

-- Chris M.

3/29/2007 1:11 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

So I had posted the new definition yesterday, but I will go back and put the old text at the bottom of the post. It's not very different than the old version. See what you think.

3/29/2007 1:26 PM  
Blogger GMC said...

Thank you Robin.
The others have spoken my mind. I
think that it would be best to show the workings of the spirit by not
tampering with what was said in the

3/29/2007 4:56 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

One of the problems for me is that the old URL has been linked to so many times that I don't want to lose that trail. So I have added to the old post, not deleting anything, but not creating a new one either. The link at the top of this post or in the sidebar will take you to the post in question.

3/29/2007 6:39 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Glad to see the care taken with how best to update the original post, Robin. One suggestion, as I'm looking at the original URL, is to put a note at the top of that post, indicating that it's an updated version of the original definition--which can be pointed at with a simple "See below."

BTW, I'm aware that this is a different sort of process than what Friends typically engage in as spiritual discernment. I'm wary of the "slippery slope" of what sorts of things should or should not be discerned online. I hope we'll be mindful of how we "talk about" suggestions and how we discern God's leading.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

3/29/2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Good idea about the note at the top, Liz.

I think, of all the things that could be considered for online discussion, that how to structure my links and the various uses of URL's is a good thing to open up to online commentary. It's not like the rest of my in-the-flesh Quaker community knows or cares about this part of my work.

3/29/2007 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robin, I totally resonate with that last remark - my in-the-flesh faith community couldn't seem to care less about my blog and frankly it makes me really sad, especially because it's something I thoroughly enjoy doing. And feel like it's a part of me expressing who I am and my faith.

3/30/2007 12:07 AM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

For what it's worth (FWIW), in response to Wess' comment, I feel as though Quaker bloggers know me better, more fully, than most Friends in my monthly meeting--though I've been worshiping regularly at the meeting since 1999 and I've been blogging since February 2005.

Like Wess, I'm sad about that.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

3/30/2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger GMC said...

I don't know anyone else in my meeting(and it's a large one) that blogs, but for me the glass is half full! I celibrate that I can follow the conversation in this media and get to
know(?) the likes of these commenters.
The only blogger that I've ever met is Liz Opp and I never had a chance to say much more than "hi" and worship her from afar.
I think that there is a vibrant, vital group in bloggerland conversing about topics that are deeper and more important than things that are taking place in my home meeting.
Thank you for your courage and persistance.

3/31/2007 5:20 PM  
Blogger Shawna Roberts said...

I think it is vital for us to try to bring the things that we find important and inspiring on the web back to our home meetings. It greatly improves the health of both our in-person meetings and our online meetings, if we can get cross-pollination going.
I have started printing out interesting posts from various blogs to share with my meeting. During announcements after meeting, I make a brief statement about what I've printed, and how it's available on the designated table. I know this is appreciated, because the printouts keep disappearing. (Normally, newsletters n'such sit around for awhile, then are gathered into a pile to sit on the top of a shelf, then are sorted and thrown away just before yearly meeting. You'uns blog posts have met no such fate! I have started printing out 8-10 copies of each post I think is interesting... this keeps them around a little longer......
I am in the middle of compiling a binder of convergent-specific posts for our meeting library, so that we will have a more comprehensive document available.
But, hey... plant those seeds! If you find something inspiring here on the web, bring it to meeting with you next week. You may be surprised who engages you in excited conversation about it over a cup of "Quaker beer" (coffee) after meeting.

Your printout-happy sister in Christ,
Shawna Roberts

4/02/2007 7:22 PM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

Shawna, you rock!

"I have started printing out interesting posts from various blogs to share with my meeting. During announcements after meeting, I make a brief statement about what I've printed, and how it's available on the designated table. I know this is appreciated, because the printouts keep disappearing."

Such a simple thing to do... Now why didn't I think of it?!? Then again, maybe it helps for that sort of initiative and announcement to come from a non-blogger so it doesn't look like self-promotion...

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

4/04/2007 8:12 PM  

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