Naked Leadership on QuakerQuaker This Week

On the blogs, Robin Mohr wrote about Friends lead­er­ship and vision and the “Nakedness/You’re Not a Quak­er” respons­es con­tin­ue with two more follow-up’s among this week’s Edi­tor Picks. Else­where, the Mod­ern Quak­ers and Cloth­ing project has been col­lect­ing some great per­son­al sto­ries. And on a house­keep­ing note, dona­tions for Quak­erQuak­er have been pret­ty light late­ly; please con­sid­er help­ing out.

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Naked Lead­er­ship? [Quak­erQuak­er This Week, 2/26/12] — Quak­erQuak­er
Naked Lead­er­ship?
On the blogs, Robin Mohr wrote about Friends lead­er­ship and vision and the Nakedness/You’re Not a Quak­er respons­es con­tin­ue with two more f… 

Another Saturday at St Nick’s

Most Saturday nights find me following my wife to St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Millville NJ. I'm often chasing kids and this Saturday was no exception. Tonight I snapped as I chased. Most of these shots have a tousled head just off camera. It's a nice little church. You can learn more at their website at

In album St Nicholas 2/25/12 (8 photos)

The interior from the balcony.

Vision and leadership: keeping the long view

In her lat­est post at http://​robin​msf​.blogspot​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​2​/​v​i​s​i​o​n​.​h​tml, +Robin Mohr asks for “sto­ries of Quak­er lead­ers and committees/organizations that have func­tioned well togeth­er.”

It was in col­lege that I first heard Max Weber’s idea that bureau­cra­cies grow to even­tu­al­ly see their own main­te­nance as their prime objec­tive (Wikipedia has a sec­tion on Weber­ian bureau­cra­cy http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​B​u​r​e​a​u​c​r​a​c​y​#​W​e​b​e​r​i​a​n​_​b​u​r​e​a​u​c​r​acy). At the time I assumed we were talk­ing about gov­ern­ments but it didn’t take long in the non­prof­it world to see the phe­nom­e­non alive there as well. Resources go to the pro­grams that can attract the biggest donor atten­tion. Com­mit­tee dis­cern­ment gets short-circuited. Inter­nal bench­marks become the mea­sure even if the are dis­con­nect­ed from actu­al effect or mis­sion. If a need aris­es from out­side of the bound­aries of the inter­nal struc­tures, it is ignores: there’s lit­tle incen­tive to address it.

The only real solu­tion is to keep remem­ber­ing why we’re doing what we’re doing. It’s the prac­tice of self-reflection, it’s the exer­cise of ask­ing what we might be called to. Per­haps this is a leader’s real job descrip­tion.

I’ve been think­ing again late­ly of the way the Soci­ety of Friends respond­ed to the Tom Fox kid­nap­ping, a sto­ry I recount­ed in “Why Would a Quak­er Do a Crazy Thing Like That”(http://​www​.quak​er​ran​ter​.org/​2​0​0​6​/​0​6​/​w​h​y​_​w​o​u​l​d​_​a​_​q​u​a​k​e​r​_​d​o​_​a​_​c​r​a​zy/). I think the under­whelm­ing response was most­ly a fail­ure of imag­i­na­tion. Too many of the orga­ni­za­tions in ques­tion had set­tled them­selves into narrowly-defined mis­sion silos of their own mak­ing. They didn’t know what to make of the sit­u­a­tion. I’d like to hope that a Rufus Jones or Howard Brin­ton would have cut through the slack, and I am encour­aged at some recent con­ver­sa­tions I’ve had with some emerg­ing lead­ers, but as a stu­dent of his­to­ry I know these are eter­nal prob­lems that are always ready to return.

My the­o­ry of media and social change is that 90% of the time we’re talk­ing amongst our­selves, invit­ing peo­ple in to the con­ver­sa­tion and build­ing an infra­struc­ture of com­mu­ni­ty. It’s one-on-one work, slow, peo­ple inten­sive (but then that’s what makes it enjoy­able, right?). The fruits of this labor become vis­i­ble with unex­pect­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties – those times when we’re called on by a larg­er pub­lic to explain our­selves or describe the world as we see it. If we’ve been doing our back­ground work – plant­i­ng the seeds that is the peo­ple of our com­mu­ni­ty – then we will be ready to step up to the chal­lenge. If we’re not, oppor­tu­ni­ty slips away. 

The his­to­ry of Friends – maybe the his­to­ry of the church uni­ver­sal – is one of missed oppor­tu­ni­ties; the mir­a­cle of faith is that some­times we con­nect with one anoth­er in the love that is God and lay some more bricks and mor­tar for God’s king­dom on Earth.

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What Canst Thou Say?: Vision
With­out vision, the peo­ple per­ish. Most­ly because they get eat­en by tigers they didn’t see com­ing. Isn’t that a joke from Calvin & Hobbes? I’ve been think­ing a lot about vision late­ly.…

Seth Godin on the idea of the “book”

Godin tends to be too enamored by big ideas for my tastes, but there's a few ideas in here worth chewing over, specifically how the forced-scarcity of traditional book publishing is giving way to nearly infinite electronic bookshelves.

The structures of books certainly are bounded by the forms of their marketing. One limitation Godin doesn't mention is the 64 page minimum--this is what you need to be able to put a spine on the book, am essential feature if it's to show up bookstore shelves. One of my trickiest typesetting assignments back in my nonprofit publishing career was to stretch a 40 page essay to 64 so it could be a book. I used all the tricks of a desperate first year student with class twenty minutes off (the book went on to become one of our bestsellers, if I could have stretched it 96 pages we might have remained solvent).

This book just exaggerated a common phenomenon. Many of our authors had a few great insights that could be adequately shared in the first few chapters. The rest of the books wouldn't just be my calorie-free margins. There were enougn words to fill up a book but after 70 or 90 pages the reader would have read the most original content and could safely put the book down in the "to be finished later" pile.

Free of book limitations--and book selling limitations--most of these works would habe been far different. some of the more basic questions will remain with us: how do we get our works into the hands of readers, and how we pay the rent while doing it?

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The end of paper changes everything - The Domino Project
Not just a few things, but everything about the book and the book business is transformed by the end of paper. Those that would prefer to deny this obvious truth are going to find the business they lo...

Posted February 17th, 2012 , in Uncategorized Tagged ,

Using apps to help kids with autism

Sounds like a therapy that can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, and the article shares concerns about just how helpful all of these might be. Still, I have to admit it's pretty amazing to watch my 6yo playing the reading games on website and he's pretty instinctive with the touchscreen of my smart phone.

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Using apps to help treat autism | Macworld
Some parents of autistic children see benefits from the use of apps and technology; however, experts raise concerns.

Posted February 12th, 2012 , in Uncategorized Tagged

An Atsion Walkabout

An unusually warm beginning of February so I took the boys up to nearby Atsion NJ. The abandoned rail tracks were part of the New Jersey Southern Railroad. The semi-famous "Blue Comet" train would have roared through here:
* NJ Southern:
* Blue Comet:

In album Atsion Walkabout (5 photos)

Posted February 1st, 2012 , in Uncategorized Tagged ,


My long-running blog over at http://​quak​er​ran​ter​.org has been out of the loop for awhile. I don’t often have the time for long-form blog­ging. The style of clas­sic blog­ging feels less imme­di­ate nowa­days: Face­book, Google Plus, Tum­blr, etc. are eas­i­er to post to and get more respons­es. The imme­di­a­cy of the social net­works pro­vides mini ego boosts. The staff at the hos­pi­tal where my daugh­ter Lau­ra was born last week invit­ed me to bring my cam­era phone into the oper­at­ing room to take pic­tures of the new one. The hos­pi­tal had pub­lic wifi so it was just a click of a but­ton to share it to Face­book. I was receiv­ing my first rounds of aww’s and con­grat­u­la­tions before my wife has even been stitched up.

But being an ear­ly blog­ger (start­ing near­ly a decade before Face­book became an open net­work), I know that the most influ­en­tial posts took months and even years to make a dif­fer­ence. It’s not very rev­o­lu­tion­ary to find out your friends are your friends, which is 90% of Face­book com­men­tary. Per­son­al change hap­pe­na when you meet some­one new; cul­tur­al change hap­pens when you’re exposed to peo­ple whose ideas are new to you. On the inter­net that hap­pens at two in the morn­ing when you won­der whether any­one has made a con­nec­tion between two ideas obsess­ing you – the unex­pect­ed results in a Google search can change how you under­stand the world. It can starts you down the path of a new self-identity. It doesn’t mat­ter if the post is a cou­ple of years old: what mat­ters is that it’s speak­ing to the spir­i­tu­al con­di­tion of that searcher. 

I know this (and I’ve writ­ten about it before) but I still tend toward short social media posts. So I’m going to inte­grate my Google Plus account with my WordPress-powered blog at Quak​er​ran​ter​.org. I’m pick­ing Google Plus because it’s where I’ve found myself writ­ing the more thought­ful bits and pieces. A neat Word­Press plug in called Google Plus Blog (link below) will help the inte­gra­tion.

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The Google+ mus­ings of Daniel Tread­well
Google+ Blog Con­cept — Daniel Tread­well. View your Google+ Posts in the form of a clean and sim­ple blog. Also home of the Google+Blog Word­Press plu­g­in.