“Conservative Liberal Quakers” and not becoming a least-common-denominator, sentimental faith

Over on beppe­blog, occas­sion­al QR com­menter Joe Gua­da talks about start­ing a Bible study group in his Friends meet­ing. It’s a great post, which real­ly pulls togeth­er some of the issues of those of us try­ing to be both con­ser­v­a­tive and lib­er­al in our Quakerism.

None of their con­cerns were a sur­prise to me; I’ve had many of the same myself. What did sur­prise me was how long it took mem­bers to final­ly approach me with their “con­cerns” (a Friend­ly euphemism for being in com­plete dis­agree­ment with anoth­er). They seemed to be tak­ing the Bible too literally…

I doubt that I changed any minds dur­ing our lengthy, but respect­ful con­ver­sa­tion. But, unlike what seems like the opin­ion of the major­i­ty of lib­er­al Friends, where per­son­al and cor­po­rate rev­e­la­tion is the sole arbiter of faith, I believe that indi­vid­u­als and groups need far more than that to keep us from dete­ri­o­rat­ing into a “least-common-denominator”, sen­ti­men­tal faith that tries to be all things to (most) every­body (as long as they agree with our pol­i­tics). I believe that Friends have a rich his­to­ry to draw from, which includes our present Faith & Prac­tice (along with past F&P’s), the writ­ings and tes­ti­mo­ny of pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, and (hold your breath) the Bible.

This past week I’ve been won­der­ing whether the best descrip­tion of my spir­i­tu­al state is a “con­ser­v­a­tive lib­er­al Friend,” i.e., some­one in the “lib­er­al” branch of Friends who holds “con­ser­v­a­tive” val­ues (I mean these terms in their the­o­log­i­cal sense, as descrip­tive terms that refer to well-defined his­tor­i­cal move­ments). I feel a kin­ship with Joe and with some of the peo­ple I met this year at the FGC Gath­er­ing. There is a small-scale “con­ser­v­a­tive lib­er­al” move­ment going on and it seems like we should fig­ure out a name for ourselves.

Back in the 1970s and 80s there was a group dubbed “neo­con­ser­v­a­tive Quak­ers,” lib­er­al Friends who moved to con­ser­v­a­tive year­ly meet­ings (espe­cial­ly Ohio) and out­did the home­grown con­ser­v­a­tives, adopt­ing plain dress and gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for being stick­lers on con­ser­v­a­tive the­ol­o­gy and practice.

But although I’ve picked up plain dress, I’m not a 1970s “neo­con­ser­v­a­tive” Friend. First off, I’m not mov­ing to Ohio (it’s a love­ly state I’m sure, but roots trump ide­ol­o­gy for me any day of the week). I’m not even seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing leav­ing Lib­er­al Quak­erism. For all the some­times muddied-thinking, I’m proud of our branch. I’m proud that we’ve said yes to gay and les­bian Friends and I see it as our pos­i­tive come­up­pance that so much of our reli­gious lead­er­ship now comes from the FLGBTQC com­mu­ni­ty (so many of whose mem­bers are sol­id Chris­tians dri­ven out of oth­er denom­i­na­tions). I see us as one of the most dynam­ic, forward-thinking branch of Friends. Besides, lib­er­al Quak­erism is my home. I’ve been giv­en enough hints that I think my min­istry is here too. Not that I’m not grate­ful for all the branch­es of Quak­erism. I am graced with new Friends met through this blog from all the branch­es of Amer­i­can Quak­erism and I’ve found that there are those seek­ing out to reclaim Quak­erism in each of them. I have broth­ers and sis­ters through­out Quak­er­dom, blessed be! But my role, my home, and my min­istry is to be a Conservative-leaning voice among Lib­er­al Friends. And it’s becom­ing increas­ing­ly clear that I’m not alone. Some­thing is afoot in lib­er­al Quakerism.

So what might we call our­selves? Is “con­ser­v­a­tive lib­er­al Friends” a use­ful term?

  • Will I be the first to sug­gest “Bean­ite”? (See Chuck Fager’s descrip­tion here. I think it has some his­tor­i­cal accu­ra­cy, but on the oth­er hand it lacks a bit of lyricism.…

  • Now my head is start­ing to throb … what label, what label? “Qui­etist”? “Qui­et ranter”? The Cana­di­an con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal par­ty some years ago renamed itself the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­v­a­tives — would that do?
    A cute lit­tle demon is sit­ting on my left shoul­der, whis­per­ing “post-liberal” into my ear, and giggling.

  • Tra­di­tion­al Lib­er­al Friends may work, too — it is a less loaded term than con­ser­v­a­tive, although I will say I am dis­mayed at how con­ser­v­a­tive has become a dirty word. (Lib­er­al as well, I suppose.)
    To think, I thought when I was search­ing, that I final­ly had a NAME, a LABEL for what I was. And even now, it’s not quite right. (Actu­al­ly, when asked what I am, I just say Quak­er. If I start going into Lib­er­al Friends or any­thing like that, it con­fus­es peo­ple I know.)

  • Hey, thanks for the quote and link back to my fledg­ling blog. I was hap­py to read that you found some­thing of inter­est in the (lengthy) post regard­ing the Bible study sit­u­a­tion. Also — I’m one of those gay, lib­er­al Friends, Chris­tians (that you men­tioned in your post), too. 🙂
    Hey, I’ve been describ­ing myself as a “conservative-leaning lib­er­al Friend” for a few years now. Sense-of-kinship back at ya!

  • Johan wrote:
    Will I be the first to sug­gest “Bean­ite”? (See Chuck Fager’s descrip­tion here…)
    Hmm, I attend a “Bean­ite” Meet­ing in CA and find them to be even more lib­er­al (in the prob­lem­at­ic sense of the term) than Meet­ings back east (and that’s even giv­en the def­i­n­i­tion pro­vid­ed by Friend Fager)!
    Johan also wrote:
    A cute lit­tle demon is sit­ting on my left shoul­der, whis­per­ing “post-liberal” into my ear, and giggling.
    Ha! I think the very same cute lit­tle demon was gig­gling and whis­per­ing in my ear, too! Then again, I’ve used the label “post-post-Christian” (said with tongue firm­ly plant­ed in cheek) to describe myself to others. 🙂

  • Loved what you post­ed from Joe G’s blog. It speaks to my con­di­tion. I have anoth­er twist on the label ques­tion. For me it’s about prac­tice, not labels. Besides, labels are so not apophatic. 😉

  • I don’t think “Bean­ite” works. I think of col­lege town meet­ings, Friends with Mas­ters and PhDs, Howard and Anna Brin­ton, Pen­dle Hill, mem­ber­ship defined in terms of com­fort­a­bil­i­ty. Bean­ite is what I’m try to get past.
    “Post-liberal” sort of works, but only with peo­ple who have read up enough the­ol­o­gy to know what it means (see my “Post-Liberals and Post-Evangelicals?”:http://​www​.non​vi​o​lence​.org/​m​a​r​t​i​n​k​/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​s​/​0​0​0​0​9​9​.​php entry from last fall.
    Apophat­ic? Whew, Jeanne, now that’s a good word (now who’s been hang­ing around Lloyd Lee Wilson’s “Wrest­ing with Our Faith Tra­di­tion”:http://​ncymc​.org/​j​o​u​r​n​a​l​/​n​c​y​m​c​j​o​u​r​n​a​l​3​.​pdf (pdf)). Fair though. I’m try­ing to search for words to name the kin­ships I’ve been feel­ing with oth­er FGC Friends, but as Friends we know to beware words and easy labels. But some­times I feel so loney and just plain weird in the face of the amne­si­ac lib­er­al ortho­doxy and at this times it helps to say “no, I’m part of a real tra­di­tion, with a past and present. This is who I am.” I just have to remem­ber not to take this iden­ti­ty (or myself) too seri­ous­ly, as Christ is big­ger than all of our human concepts.
    I think it’s sort of how I see plain dress: what mat­ters is not the even­tu­al look or uni­form but the dis­cern­ment process that gets you into plain­ness. If you have the look but not the con­vince­ment then it can be super­fi­cial. I don’t care so much about what even­tu­al term I might set­tle on to describe this conservative-leaning lib­er­al phe­nom­e­non I’m observ­ing: more impor­tant is the con­ver­sa­tion as we try to name our experiences.

  • Melyn­da Huskey

    I’ve been giv­ing this ques­tion *way* too much thought while sit­ting through long, long meet­ings (work meet­ings, not Meet­ings for Wor­ship), and I think we should go with:
    Refresh­ing Quakers
    Wait, now! Don’t brush it off too quick­ly! There are many advan­tages you haven’t thought of yet: it’s as res­o­nant for up-to-date techno-pomo Friends as it could be for neo-traditionalists. It avoids the scary or over­bear­ing impli­ca­tions of “renew­al” and “restora­tion,” while con­not­ing com­fort, sus­te­nance, new­ness, cool­ness (in both com­mon­ly used sens­es), clean­li­ness, and nur­tu­rance. It implies a return to a past fresh­ness (par­don me while my fin­gers go on to type “the dear­est fresh­ness deep down things,” because a Ger­ard Man­ley Hop­kins quo­ta­tion is *always* a good thing), and that handy-dandy gerun­dive allows us to go on doing it world with­out end.
    Refresh­ing Quak­ers. What sayest *thou*?

  • Hmmm, Bean­ites (and Hick­sites) ain’t always what they used to be.
    Read­ing this stream of com­ments has been both sober­ing and fun — but in com­par­i­son to the way I’ve seen labels used too often, way more fun! Hav­ing been called “lib­er­al” by some in Friends Unit­ed Meet­ing at the same time oth­ers accused me of con­duct­ing a “fun­da­men­tal­ist purge,” I’ve most­ly seen labels used in a mean-spirited way. But when they’re dis­cussed in the spir­it that has pre­vailed here (“… more impor­tant is the con­ver­sa­tion as we try to name our expe­ri­ences”), in the inter­ests of com­mu­ni­cat­ing more clear­ly, of enlarg­ing our shared pool of ref­er­ences, of intel­li­gent­ly appro­pri­at­ing a her­itage … it seems pos­si­ble to be more hopeful.
    So far my sug­ges­tion of “qui­etist” has escaped crit­i­cal scruti­ny. (What about “neo-quietist”!? “Post-quietist”?)
    I’ve some­times used the terms “left-wing evan­gel­i­cal” for myself.
    There are terms that I use and hear among Friends, and Chris­tians gen­er­al­ly, in the Spanish-speaking and Russian-speaking cul­tures more than I use them, or hear them used, among Friends in the North Atlantic cul­ture — and they’re sim­ple words: “broth­er,” “sis­ter” and “believ­er.” These words have a qui­et pow­er of their own.

  • Jef­frey Hipp

    I’ve often been tempt­ed to call myself a “non-relativist Friend,” but it seems a bit too smug. Which it is. It’s also true. 😉

  • Carl Magrud­er

    I’m glad to see thee mak­ing such a nuicance of thy­self on line here. What could be more Quak­er than deeply seek­ing Truth, after all? How about call­ing the new move­ment of neo-conservatives the “New Lights?” As in: http://​www​.quak​er​.org/​l​i​b​e​r​a​l​-​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​/​b​a​r​n​a​r​d​.​h​tml
    I am liv­ing and work­ing at Sier­ra Friends Cen­ter in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia where we are strug­gling to live out our tes­ti­monies as a com­mu­ni­ty. (Though the local Grass Val­ley Friends Meet­ing is the most sec­u­lar that I have encoun­tered yet – most­ly because of the elders!!) The so-called “New Years Group” of Cal­i­for­nia Friends is still seek­ing, but has been mak­ing some decid­ed­ly sep­a­ratist nois­es late­ly. Being unaf­fil­i­at­ed is an old Bean­ite tra­di­tion, after all…
    I still find my plain wit­ness very help­ful to my spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. That Tilley hat is just awful, how­ev­er. I have two sug­ges­tions: http://​www​.lan​cast​er​har​vest​.com/​s​t​o​r​e​/​a​m​i​s​h​_​h​a​t​s​.​h​tml
    the oth­er, for bicy­clists, is http://​www​.hat​peo​ple​.com/​s​p​o​r​t​s​h​o​p​/​c​a​t​a​l​o​g​u​e​/​c​a​t​.​h​tml
    This hat sort of looks like a Hut­terite cap for boys.
    Loved the pic of thee and my lit­tle broth­er Zachary wav­ing cel­ery at folk at FGC.
    Now, seri­ous­ly, I must elder thee in Love. Thy web­site here talks about a good many things that are worth­while for us to con­sid­er. How­ev­er, the space giv­en to Plain Dress is out of all pro­por­tion to the space giv­en to sim­ple liv­ing. What is the lifestyle that reflects “liv­ing in that life and pow­er that takes away the occa­sion of all war?” It is sure­ly fos­sil fuel free, for one thing. Ghandhi’s exper­i­ments with Truth involved the spin­ning wheel, and I sus­pect that ours will involve the spin­ning bicy­cle wheel. Per­haps thee could write up a lit­tle some­thing about thy jour­ney toward sim­ple liv­ing for the site – it would be help­ful. (If I just haven’t encoun­tered it yet, for­give me.) With the the­o­log­i­cal and spir­i­tu­al under­pin­nings of thy con­vic­tion, it might just speak of a Quak­erism that Young Friends might find worth exploring…
    Thanks for thy good work!
    Thy Friend,
    Carl Magruder
    Earth­Quak­er Institute

  • Hi Carl,
    Oh nice to see you vis­it­ing here. The Tilley hat… yes, well I don’t wear it because of my keen fash­ion sense… Ahem, cer­tain­ly not… I wear it because I’ve noticed that the plain­er males in my year­ly meet­ing often wear it (uncon­scious of any plain ref­er­ence it makes). I’m try­ing to live in my com­mu­ni­ty and I’m try­ing to adopt what pieces I can find here. I can’t imag­ine either a broad brimmed felt hat or a Mao cap (sor­ry, a “Hut­terite boys cap”!) work­ing here in the big city. I still find I don’t want to be toooo plain.
    “New Lights,” that’s inter­est­ing, though it’s anoth­er (per­haps unjust­ly) obscure ref­er­ence. Last week I was won­der­ing about “inde­pen­dent con­ser­v­a­tive.” I think the name is less impor­tant than the rela­tion­ship to oth­ers – the degree of inde­pen­dence and cor­re­spon­dence – which is why I want to read Bet­sy Cazden’s new­ly reprint­ed pam­phlet on “Fel­low­ships, Con­fer­ences and Asso­ci­a­tions” ($4) to see the promis­es and pit­falls of var­i­ous models.
    The plain dress focus has been some­thing of a sur­prise. At first it was sim­ply a “repost­ed email”:http://​www​.non​vi​o​lence​.org/​m​a​r​t​i​n​k​/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​s​/​0​0​0​0​8​0​.​php I had sent out to the list­serve set up after Lloyd Lee Wilson’s 2001 FGC Gath­er­ing work­shop. (For read­ers out there: Carl was a live­ly par­tic­i­pant in this work­shop and co-led an impromp­tu inter­est group on plain dress). When I got home from that Gath­er­ing and was think­ing about this lead­ing I felt toward plain dress, I hit Google and was sur­prised that there was almost noth­ing online about it. In almost no time, the plain dress became the most vis­it­ed part of the site. There are months where the plain dress sec­tion gets more hits than the Quak­er Ranter home­page. This is a hunger for this dis­cus­sion out there.
    I find that plain dress is a top­ic that opens up inter­est­ing dis­cus­sions about the rela­tion­ship between tra­di­tion­al and mod­ern Quak­erism. “Sim­plic­i­ty” doesn’t have the _frisson_ for comtem­po­rary Friends that “plain dress” does, and for good rea­son. The ancient tes­ti­mo­ny was called “plain­ness” and it’s refor­mu­la­tion as “sim­plic­i­ty” was part of the twentieth-century the­o­log­i­cal shift I’m try­ing to highlight.
    So much of the Quak­er sim­plic­i­ty talk is as “dis­joint­ed from Quak­er min­istry as Quak­er peace activism is”:http://​www​.non​vi​o​lence​.org/​q​u​a​k​e​r​/​p​e​a​c​e​_​t​e​s​t​i​m​o​n​y​.​php. I’m not look­ing to reclaim Native Amer­i­can val­ues of stew­ard­ship. I’m not look­ing to build an envi­ron­men­tal plank for FCNL lob­by­ing. I don’t want to lec­ture Quak­ers on pop­u­la­tion con­trol. Those might be fine caus­es for Native Amer­i­cans, polit­i­cal junkies and peo­ple who can’t stand their old­er sib­lings, but I’m a Quak­er. I want to frame my faith and my prac­tice in Quak­erism. The answer isn’t sim­ply broad­falls and braces but some­times these props invite the ques­tions that devel­op into the con­ver­sa­tions that solid­i­fy into the friend­ships. It’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for min­istry, one that works right now.
    You know the oth­er part though? I feel uncom­fort­able with the attempts to dress up good caus­es in Quak­er lan­guage sim­ply to appeal to a Quak­er audi­ence. My main web site Non​vi​o​lence​.org gets over a mil­lions vis­i­tors a year and there you will find my essay about “Eco­nom­ics and Sim­plic­i­ty”:http://​www​.non​vi​o​lence​.org/​i​s​s​u​e​s​/​e​c​o​n​o​m​i​c​s​.​php. Most of the sim­plic­i­ty stuff I write has a boil­er­plate eco-lefty feel (hon­est­ly: so does most of the Quak­er Earth­care mate­r­i­al I see). It’s all fine, it’s all good, these are gen­er­al­ly good caus­es, worth pro­mot­ing, which is why I do, even among Friends. But is it min­istry? For me it isn’t, or it isn’t the kind of min­istry I feel called to do explic­it­ly as a Friend. There’s some­thing in all this, some dis­tinc­tion I’m feel­ing. I have to think what it is.
    For the record: yes, I’m a bicy­cle rid­er. I’m a veg­an. I don’t wear leather. I go out of my way to buy local­ly from inde­pen­dent mer­chants. I believe in local com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions. When I do get in a car I dri­ve back roads. I like local his­to­ry. I try to buy less pack­ag­ing and recy­cle the stuff I do pur­chase. I gar­den, I’ve start­ed can­ning. I avoid sweat­shop labor. But why do all these things sound like bumper­stick­ers and clich­es when I list them?
    Again, good to see you, I’d be inter­est­ed to hear how you com­bine all this. I’m hav­ing occa­sion­al guest pieces here on Quak­er Ranter, yours could be the next!?
    Thy Friend,

  • Craig

    Wow! You have spo­ken to my con­di­tion. My part­ner and I are new atten­ders at our local Friends Meet­ing (www​.ngfm​.org).
    We are a gay cou­ple who were unwel­come at the church­es of our child­hood. Did a stint in the Uni­tar­i­an Uni­vesal­ist Church. Need­ed more spir­i­tu­al­i­ty in our lives and found the Friends. Luck­i­ly, there are many Meet­ings in our area and there is Guil­ford College.
    Maybe we’ll meet at Gen­er­al Con­fer­ence in Blacks­burg! Peace!

  • Hi Craig,
    Not only luck­i­ly for you but luck­i­ly for us, I sus­pect. I’m glad you and your part­ner have come to Friends. New Gar­den has always impressed me as a meet­ing. I laughed when your min­is­ter called to place a book order a few years ago and iden­ti­fied him­self as that “hireling at New Gar­den.” He said it with just the right mix of iron­ic mirth and his­tor­i­cal self-awareness and it made me want to hop the next bus to North Car­oli­na. I hope I meet you at next year’s “Quak­er Gath­er­ing Con­fer­ence in Blacksburg”:www.fgcquaker.org/gathering; it should be pret­ty easy to find me in the Gath­er­ing store.

  • Aman­da

    It’s so fun­ny how I was wal­low­ing around in Quaker-rich NC for near­ly six years and nev­er made it to a meet­ing — although I was accept­ed at UNC-G and was about to go when I sud­den­ly lost my mind and decid­ed to move to Michi­gan. I actu­al­ly looked at Guil­ford col­lege for its arts pro­grams before I ever thought about join­ing the Friends.
    I’m still short a BA — one of my sis­ters and a broth­er go to the Catholic Bel­mont Abbey in Char­lotte and have been clam­our­ing at me to come join them. The rest of my fam­i­ly lives in Raleigh. Hmmm.

  • Laila

    This is a real­ly inter­est­ing page and I’m glad I found it! I have been attend­ing a lib­er­al friends meet­ing and it is a won­der­ful group of peo­ple. Some­times I won­der, though, if we are TOO open and tol­er­ant to the point that we sim­ply exist to be a nice group of polit­i­cal­ly and social­ly active (in the social jus­tice sense) peo­ple that gets togeth­er peri­od­i­cal­ly. I think it impor­tant to remem­ber the Chris­t­ian roots of the Friends and am glad that there are Friends out there of the same persuasion.

  • Kevin-Douglas Olive

    It just does not sur­prise me as I type in “Con­ser­v­a­tive Quak­ers” that your blog comes up. I’ve been labor­ing with a renewed call to min­istry and have request­ed that Home­wood Friends pro­vide the nec­es­sary elder­ing. We’ll see where that goes. In the mean­time, I’m try­ing to remain faith­ful to the call. I’ve been shut up in meet­ings for wor­ship late­ly. I thought it was just grief from los­ing Rus­sell. Could be. What­ev­er it is, while my mouth isn’t mov­ing in wor­ship, my spir­it is. I won­der how many oth­er YAFs (as well as old­er Friends and Young Friends) feel at all a call to min­istry with­in the Soci­ety, and have no CLUE what to do about it or even to enter­tain the idea that they could be cal­lled to ministry.

  • Hi Kevin-Douglas! It’s so good to hear from you, I’ve thought about you quite a bit since I first heard that Rus­sell was ill, you both have been in my prayers. I’m grate­ful to hear that the min­istry stirs. I think quiet­ness in wor­ship is not an indi­ca­tion of a spir­i­tu­al desert; indeed, some of the most pow­er­ful min­is­ters I’ve known rarely speak in meet­ing. But when they stand, my heart leaps for joy (yep) and I just sit back with a con­tent­ed assur­ance that I know these Friends have a con­fi­dence in the Source of what they’re about to say! I think re-establishing a sense of the min­istry is our most impor­tant task now, espe­cial­ly for YAFs like you (ha, I’m two years over the FGC def­i­n­i­tion!). You have seen the “workshop”:/quaker/strangers/ Zachary and I are doing, right?!

  • So what might we call our­selves? Is “con­ser­v­a­tive lib­er­al Friends” a use­ful term?
    It’s months after you post­ed this piece on your blog, but I just read a com­ment else­where from fre­quent read­er Robin, who used the phrase “Quak­er renewalist.”
    That has a nice ring to it for me, with­out trig­ger­ing my spir­i­tu­al bag­gage when I hear the sim­i­lar word “revival­ist.”

  • Chris Mohr

    Thanks to Liz’s recent post, I just found this thread for the first time. And won­der­ful to read Carl Magruder’s thought­ful and thought-provoking eldering.
    Com­ing in mid-stream, I was remind­ed of a recent post here on Quak­er Ranter by Rich Accetta-Evans on the “What’s God Got to Do with It?” thread:
    “I hope in time to tell the sto­ry of an “open­ing” I received… Christ told me inward­ly that “I am not the leader of a fac­tion”. I took that to mean that in order to fol­low him I should not act like a mem­ber of a faction.”
    One of the things I appre­ci­ate about (what lit­tle I know of) Bud­dhism is its con­stant reminder that these things are only con­cepts, not the “thing itself.” What mat­ters are the experiences.
    The true gift, to me, of Martin’s min­istry through Quak­er Ranter is the open­ing of a space for peo­ple to have these con­ver­sa­tions about their expe­ri­ences. What’s won­der­ful is how the con­ver­sa­tion fre­quent­ly focus­es on how peo­ple approach nam­ing their self-understanding, and then their sub­se­quent expe­ri­ence of how well — or not — that self-understanding relates back to the local and wider Quak­er com­mu­ni­ties. And, again to me, that wider com­mu­ni­ty def­i­nite­ly includes this one and the sim­i­lar blogs.

  • Hye Sung

    11 years ago.

    • Twelve actu­al­ly, isn’t it? 

      Hey Sung, I won­der how this post sounds from your per­spec­tive. Many of us who used to com­ment on this blog and its close kin have gone from peanut gallery to fac­ing bench. “Con­ser­v­a­tive Lib­er­al” lost to “Con­ver­gent” as the canon­i­cal nick­name for this par­tic­u­lar move­ment but what’s hap­pened to the con­cern? Have things sea­soned and deep­ened or are we too busy with day to day respon­si­bil­i­ties to talk about the big pic­ture anymore?