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​erQuak​er​.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​erquak​er​.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/