One thing I love about the internet and blogs is that they’re opening up discussions in the Quaker world. Information and dialog that was once confined to a small group of insiders is opened up to what we might only-half jokingly label “the laity.” The latest few entries to QuakerQuaker show this in operation.
Last month’s annual sessions of Baltimore Yearly Meeting (the regional body for Friends those parts) were marked by an important report from its representatives to Friends United Meeting, an international body of Friends that Baltimore belongs to but has a complicated relationship with. Attendees at the yearly meeting session heard the report, of course, and news trickled out in various ways (one visitor IM’ed me that day with the briefest sketch).
Enter the internet. At some point Baltimore put the report up on their website. The information was there but there’s no opportunity for discussion as the BYM website has no commenting feature. I posted the report up to QuakerQuaker and within a few hours, Johan Maurer was on top of it. Johan used to be the chief executive of Friends United Meeting and a wide experience with Friends from across the Quaker theological and cultural spectrum. He’s also an active blogger and he posted a reply, What is really wrong with FUM, part two: the Baltimore YM report, that I find particularly useful. His blog has comments. I’ve put Johan’s post up on QuakerQuaker and we now have a forum to try to tease apart the range of issues in the Baltimore report: leadership, theology, international relations, etc. How cool is that?
PS: I linked to the Wikipedia articles on Baltimore and Friends United Meeting. Has anyone else noticed Wikipedia makes a much more accessible introduction to Quaker bodies than their own websites?