What is this QuakerQuaker thing?

There’s been some head-scratching going on about Quak­erQuaker over the last few weeks. In the ser­vice of trans­parency I’ve posted my con­trib­u­tor guide­li­nes on the “About Quak­erQuaker page”. Here they are:

Post should be explic­itly Quaker: Any thought­ful posts from any branch of Friends that wrestles in some way with what it means to be a Quaker is fair game. While we all have our own issues that con­nect deeply with our under­stand­ing of our faith, the Blog­watch only seems to work if it keeps focused on Quak­erism, on how we our faith and lives inter­act. Back when this was just a links list on my per­sonal site I would get com­plaints when I added some­thing that seemed related to my under­stand­ing of Quak­erism but that wasn’t specif­i­cally writ­ten from a Quaker stand­point (when we want to make this kind of link we should do so on our per­sonal blogs where we can put it in bet­ter con­text).

Post should be timely: I’ve billed Quak­erQuaker as “a guide to the Quaker con­ver­sa­tion” and links should go to recently-written arti­cles with strong voices. We’re not try­ing to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive list of Quaker web­sites, so no link­ing to orga­ni­za­tional home­pages. While most links should go to blog posts, it’s fine to include good arti­cles from Quaker pub­li­ca­tions. A link to some­thing like a press release or new book announce­ment should only be made if it’s extra­or­di­nary. Remem­ber that Quak­erQuaker posts will only appear on the main site for a few days (if the ini­tial setup goes well I can start work on some ideas to giave a more time­less ele­ment to the site).

Post should be Inter­est­ing: Don’t book­mark every­thing you find. If the post feels pre­dictable or snoozy, just ignore it (even if the writer or topic is impor­tant). The Quaker blog­gers all have their audi­ences and we don’t need to high­light every post of every blog­ger. Only make the link if the post speaks out to you in some way (it’s quite pos­si­ble that one of the other con­trib­u­tors will pick up, find­ing some­thing you didn’t and high­light­ing it in their descrip­tion). That said, the posts you link to don’t have to be mas­ter­pieces; they can have gram­mat­i­cal and log­i­cal mis­takes. What’s impor­tant is that there’s some idea in there that’s inter­est­ing. It might be a good dis­ci­pline for each of us not to add our the posts from our own per­sonal blogs but to let one of the other con­trib­u­tors do it for us.

That’s it. While there are some vague assump­tions in all this about the role of tra­di­tion and com­mu­nity, dis­ci­pline and indi­vid­u­al­ism, there’s noth­ing about the­ol­ogy or who gets linked. This is a pub­li­ca­tion, with some­thing of an edi­to­rial voice in that I’ve cho­sen who gets to add links and asked them to be sub­jec­tive, but its very mel­low and I’ve been happy to see con­trib­u­tors range far afield. Google tells us that this is one of 18.7 mil­lion “Quaker” web­sites and $10/month will get you your own so let’s not do too much navel-gazing about what’s linked or not linked. If you don’t find it inter­est­ing, there are plenty of non-subjective Quaker blogs lists out there. I do lis­ten to feed­back and am always twid­dling with the site so feel free to send email to me at mar​tinkel​ley​.com/​c​o​n​t​act.

Christian peacemaker Teams News

On Sat­ur­day, Novem­ber 26, 2005 four mem­bers of “Chris­tian peace­mak­ers Teams”:www.cpt.org were abducted in iraq. On March 20th the body of Amer­i­can Quaker Tom Fox was found; on March 23rd, the remain­ing three hostages were freed by U.S. and British mil­i­tary forces.
Here at Non​vi​o​lence​.org, we have always been impressed and highly sup­port­ive of the deep wit­ness of the Chris­tian peace­mak­ers Teams. Their mem­bers have rep­re­sented the best in both the peace and Chris­tian move­ments, con­sis­tently putting them­selves in dan­ger to wit­ness the gospel of peace. Not con­tent to write let­ters or stand on pick­ett lines in safe west­ern cap­i­tals, they go to the front­li­nes of vio­lence and pro­claim a rad­i­cal alter­na­tive.
While we can be grate­ful for the release of the three remain­ing hostages, we should con­tinue to remem­ber the 43 for­eign hostages still being held in iraq and the 10 – 30 iraqis report­edly taken hostage each and every day. As iraq slips into full-scale civil war we must also orga­nize against the war-mongerers, both for­eign and inter­nal and finde ways of stand­ing alongside those iraqis who want noth­ing more than peace and free­dom.

Here’s links to recent articles on the situation: https://​deli​cious​.com/​m​a​r​t​i​n​_​k​e​l​l​e​y​/​n​e​w​s​.​c​p​t​-​f​o​u​r​.​f​o​x​m​e​m​o​r​ial

And a per­sonal note from Nonviolence.org’s Mar­tin Kel­ley: I myself am a Chris­tian and Quaker and one of our folks, Tom Fox, of Lan­g­ley Hill (Vir­ginia) Friends Meet­ing is among the hostages. I don’t know Tom per­son­ally but over the last few days I’ve learned we have many Friends in com­mon and they have all tes­ti­fied to his deep com­mitt­ment to peace. Some of the links above are more explic­itly Quaker than most things I post to Non​vi​o​lence​.org, but they give per­spec­tive on why Tom and his com­pan­ions would see putting them­selves in dan­ger as an act of reli­gious ser­vice. I am grate­ful for Tom’s cur­rent wit­ness in iraq – yes, even as a hostage – but I cer­tainly hope he soon comes back to his fam­ily and com­mu­nity and that the atten­tion and wit­ness of these four men’s ordeal helps to bring the news of peace to streets and halls of Bagh­dad, Wash­ing­ton, Lon­don and Ottawa.

Action Step:

If you have a blog or web­site, you can add a feed of that will include the lat­est Nonviolence.org-compiled links. Sim­ply add this javascript to the side­bar of your site [Dis­abled Now]

Must read: G/localization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide

a fab­u­lous arti­cle last night and this morn­ing by Diana Boyd, a PhD
stu­dent at UC-Berkeley and a researcher at Yahoo! Research Berke­ley.
She’s writ­ing about the inter­ac­tions of cul­ture and tech­nol­ogy and it
speaks a lot to some of the online and offline con­ver­sa­tions I’ve been
hav­ing lately. 

Here’s the link: G/localization: When Global Infor­ma­tion and Local Inter­ac­tion Col­lide. And here are some snip­pets to entice you to fol­low it:

On cul­ture:

When mass media began, peo­ple assumed that we would all
con­verge upon one global cul­ture. While the media has had an effect,
com­plete homog­e­niza­tion has not occurred. And it will not. While some
val­ues spread and are adopted en-masse, cul­tures form within the mass
cul­ture to dif­fer­en­ti­ate smaller groups of peo­ple. Style-driven
sub­cul­tures are the most vis­i­ble form of this, but it occurs in
com­pa­nies and in other social gath­er­ings.

Techies will like her take on “embed­ded observers”: 

While the cre­ators have visions of what they think would
be cool, they do not con­struct unmov­able roadmaps well into the future.
They are con­stantly react­ing to what’s going on, adding new fea­tures as
needed. The code on these sites changes con­stantly, not just once a
quar­ter. The design­ers try out fea­tures and watch how they get used. If
no one is inter­ested, that’s fine — they’ll just make some­thing new.
They are all deeply in touch with what peo­ple are actu­ally doing, why
and how it man­i­fests itself on the site.

On online com­mu­ni­ties:

Dig­i­tal com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pants some­times find that they
“acci­den­tally” meet some­one. Peo­ple col­lide on Flickr because they took
sim­i­lar pho­tos; the find won­der­ful blogs through search. These ad-hoc
inter­ac­tions typ­i­cally occur because peo­ple are pro­duc­ing mate­rial that
can be stum­bled across, either through search or brows­ing. They may not
intend for the mate­rial to be con­sumed beyond the intended audi­ence,
but they also don’t see a rea­son to pre­vent it. In essence, they are
invit­ing moments of syn­chronic­ity. And syn­chronic­ity is ener­giz­ing.

Call for Tom Fox memorials

John Paul Stephens has asked if I could help com­pile a list of online trib­utes to our Tom Fox, the fal­len Chris­tian Peace­maker for FreetheCaptivesNow.org’sTom Fox Memo­ri­als page. I’ve started a list, now up on Quak​erQuaker​.org, that I’ll keep up for a few months. Any read­ers who know of some­thing that should be included should either email me at martink-at-nonviolence-dot-org or tag it “for:martin_kelley” in Del​.icio​.us. Thanks. Here’s my list so far:

h3. See also:
* “FreetheCaptivesNow.org”:http://freethecaptivesnow.org/
* “Chris­tian Peace­maker Watch”:http://www.quakerquaker.org/christian_peacemaker_teams/ over at Quak​erquaker​.org
* “My posts on the Chris­tian Peace­maker witness”:/martink/cpt
* “A really nice page on Tom over at Elec­tronic Iraq”:http://electroniciraq.net/news/2302.shtml

Love is unconditional and accepts us for who we are

I tried to post this as a com­ment on “this piece by James Riemermann”:http://feeds.quakerquaker.org/quaker?m=299 on the Non­the­ist Friends web­site but the site expe­ri­enced a tech­ni­cal dif­fi­culty when I tried to sub­mit it (hope it’s back up soon!). James describes his post as a “rant” about “conservative-leaning lib­eral Friends,” and one theme that got picked up in the com­ments was how he and oth­ers felt excluded by us (for that is a term I use to try to describe my spir­i­tual con­di­tion). Rather than loose the com­ment I’ll just post it here.
Hi James and every­one,
Well, I think I was one of the first of the Quaker blog­gers to talk about conservative-leaning lib­eral Quak­ers back in July 2003. I too am not sure it’s any­thing worth call­ing a “move­ment.”
I hear this feel­ing of being excluded but I’m not sure where that’s com­ing from. When James had a really won­der­ful, thought-provoking response to my “We’re All Ranters Now” piece, I asked him if I could “reprint” the com­ment as its own guest piece. It got a lot of atten­tion, a lot of com­ments. I didn’t real­ize you were using non​the​ist​friends​.org as a blog these days but “Robin M”:http://www.quakerquaker.org/contributors_robin_m/ of “What Canst Thou Say”:http://robinmsf.blogspot.com/ did and has added a link to your post from “QuakerQuaker.org”:www.quakerquaker.org, which again is a val­i­da­tion that yours is an impor­tant voice (I can pretty much guar­an­tee that this is going to be one of the more fol­lowed links). You and every­one here are part of the fam­ily.
Yes, we have some dis­agree­ments. I don’t think Quak­erism is sim­ply made up of who­ever makes it into the meet­ing­house. I think we have a tra­di­tion that we’ve inherited. This con­sists of prac­tices and val­ues and ways of look­ing at the world. Much of that tra­di­tion comes from the gospel of Jesus and the epistles between the ear­li­est Chris­tian com­mu­ni­ties. Much of what might feel like neu­tral Quaker prac­tice is a clear echo of that tra­di­tion, and that echo is what I talk about that in my blogs. I think it’s good to know where we’re com­ing from. That doesn’t mean we’re stuck there and we adapt it as our rev­e­la­tion changes (this atti­tude is why I’m a lib­eral Friend no mat­ter how much I talk about Christ). These blog con­ver­sa­tions are the ways we share our expe­ri­ences, min­is­ter to and com­fort one another.
That peo­ple hold dif­fer­ent reli­gious under­stand­ings and prac­tices isn’t in itself inher­ently exclu­sion­ary. Diver­sity is good for us, right? There’s no one Quaker cen­ter. There’s muli­ti­ple con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing in mul­ti­ple lan­guages, much of it glo­ri­ously over­lap­ping on the elec­tronic path­ways of the inter­net. That’s won­der­ful, it shows a great vital­ity. The reli­gious tra­di­tion that is Quak­erism is not dead, not moth­balled away in a liv­ing his­tory museum some­where. It’s alive, with its assump­tions and bound­aries con­stantly being revis­ited. That’s cool. If a par­tic­u­lar post feels too carp­ing, there’s always the “elder­ing of the back but­ton,” as I like to call it. Let’s try to hear each other from where we are and to remain open to the min­istry from those who might appear to be com­ing from a dif­fer­ent place. Love is the first move­ment and love is uncon­di­tional and accepts us for who we are.
I bet­ter stop this before I get too mushy, with all this talk of love! See what I mean about being a lib­eral Quaker?
Your Friend, Mar­tin

A time of sadness and prayer

Sad news com­ing over the inter­net: after 100 days of cap­tiv­ity, Chris­tian Peace­maker Tom Fox was found dead yes­ter­day in Iraq, the sta­tus of his three com­pan­ions unknown.

The Chris­tian Peace­maker Teams issued an ele­gant and heart­felt state­ment begin­ning “In grief we trem­ble before God who wraps us with com­pas­sion.” Fox knew the risk he was tak­ing going to Iraq unarmed. But he also knew that this wit­ness  would mean more to the Iraqi peo­ple than a hun­dred tanks. He knew the war we Friends wage is the Lamb’s War, a war won not through strength but through meek­ness, our only weapon our humilty before God and our love of neigh­bor. My prayers are with his fam­ily and friends, may Christ’s com­fort con­tinue to hold them through these aching times.
More his­tory and resources on my “Chris­tian Peace­maker Team Watch”:http://www.quakerquaker.org/christian_peacemaker_teams/


Quakersong.orgWeb­site for Peter Blood & Annie Pat­ter­son, musi­cians most well known for their insanely-popular song­book Rise Up Singing. They sell books and tapes on the site (e-commerce han­dled ably and sim­ply by Pay­pal) and they also have lots of high-quality con­tent includ­ing a lot of hard-to-find Pete Seeger CDs. Mov­able Type is used as a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS).

Tech­nolo­gies: Mov­able Type, Pay­pal. Visit Site.

Deepening the intervisitation of Gathering

The pro­gram for this year’s FGC Gath­er­ing of Friends went online at mid­night yes­ter­day – I stayed up late to flip the switches to make it live right as Third Month started – right on sched­ule. By 12:10am EST four vis­i­tors had already come to the site! There’s a lot of inter­est in the Gath­er­ing, the first one on the West Coast. 

Stu­dents of late-20th Cen­tury Quaker his­tory can see the pro­gres­sion of Friends Gen­eral Con­fer­ence from a very Philadelphia-centric, provin­cial body that had its annual gath­er­ing at a South Jer­sey beach town to one that really does try to serve Friends across the coun­try. There’s losses in the changes (alumni of the Cape May Gath­er­ings all speak of them with misty eyes) but over­all it’s been a needed shift in focus. In recent years, a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of Gath­er­ing work­shop lead­ers have come from the “inde­pen­dent” unaf­fil­i­ated yearly meet­ings of the West. It’s nice.

Joe G has been send­ing me emails about his selec­tion process (it’s almost real-time as he weighs each one!). It’s help­ful as it saves me the trou­ble of sort­ing through them. It’s usu­ally tough to find a work­shop I want to take. A lot of Friends I really respect have told me they’ve stopped going to the Gath­er­ing after awhile because it just doesn’t feed them.

It’s a shame when these Friends stop com­ing. The Gath­er­ing is one of the most excit­ing annual coming-together of Quak­ers in North Amer­ica. It’s very impor­tant for new and/or iso­lated Friends and it helps pull all its atten­ders into a wider Fel­low­ship. Inter­vis­i­ta­tion has always been one of the most impor­tant tools for knit­ting together Friends and the Gath­er­ing has been fill­ing much of that need for lib­eral Friends for the last hun­dred years.

I’ve been hav­ing this sense that Gath­er­ing needs some­thing more. I don’t know what that some­thing is, only that I long to con­nect more with other Friends. My best con­ver­sa­tions have invari­ably taken place when I stopped to talk with some­one while run­ning across cam­pus late to some event. These Oppor­tu­ni­ties have been pre­cious but they’re always so fran­tic. The Trav­el­ing Min­istries Pro­gram often has a won­der­ful evening inter­est group but by the time we’ve gone around shar­ing our names, sto­ries and con­di­tions, it’s time to break. I’m not look­ing for a new pro­gram (don’t worry Liz P!, wait it’s not you who has to worry!), just a way to have more con­ver­sa­tions with the Quak­erQuaker Con­ver­gent Friends – which in this con­text I think boils down to those with some­thing of a call to min­istry and an inter­est in Quaker vision & renewal. Let’s all find a way of con­nect­ing more this year, yes?
_For those inter­ested I’ve signed up for these work­shops: “Blessed Com­mu­nity in James’ Epistle”:http://FGCquaker.org/gathering/workshops/work14.php (led by “Max Hansen”:http://alphamind.maxhansen.net/ of “Berke­ley Friends Church”:http://www.berkeleyfriendschurch.org/), “Deep­en­ing the Silence, Invit­ing Vital Ministry”:http://FGCquaker.org/gathering/workshops/work20.php (20), and “Find­ing Our­selves in the Bible”:http://FGCquaker.org/gathering/workshops/work22.php (22)._
h4. Related Entries Else­where:
* “Robin”:http://robinmsf.blogspot.com/2006/03/FGC-gathering-registration-begins.html
* “LizOpp”:http://thegoodraisedup.blogspot.com/2006/03/posters-themes-and-historyof-FGCs.html