First thoughts about convergent weekend

Hey all, the Reclaim­ing Prim­i­tive Quak­erism work­shop at California’s Ben Lomond Cen­ter wrapped up a few hours ago (I’m post­ing from the San Jose air­port). I think it went well. There were about thir­ty par­tic­i­pants. The make­up was very inter­gen­er­a­tional and God and Christ were being named all over the place! 

Group shot

I myself felt stripped through­out the first half, a sense of vague but deep unease – not at how the work­shop was going, but about who I am and where I am. Christ was hard at work point­ing out the lay­ers of pride that I’ve used to pro­tect myself over the last few years. This morning’s agen­da was most­ly extend­ed wor­ship, begun with “Bible Read­ing in the Man­ner of Con­ser­v­a­tive Friends” (video below) and it real­ly lift­ed the veil for me – I think God even joked around with me a bit.

As always, many of the high points came unex­pect­ed­ly in small con­ver­sa­tions, both planned and ran­dom. One piece that I’ll be return­ing to again and again is that we need to focus on the small acts and not build any sort of move­ment piece by piece and not wor­ry about the Big Con­fer­ence or the Big Web­site that will change every­thing that we know. That’s not how the Spir­it works and our push­ing it to work this way almost invari­ably leads to fail­ure and wast­ed effort.

Anoth­er piece is that we need to start focus­ing on real­ly build­ing up the kind of habits that will work out our spir­i­tu­al mus­cles. Chad of 27Wishes had a great anal­o­gy that had to do with the neo-traditionalist jazz musi­cians and I hoped to get an inter­view with him on that but time ran out. I’ll try to get a remote inter­view (an ear­li­er inter­view with him is here, thanks Chad for being the first inter­view of the weekend!)

Wess and Martin computeringI con­duct­ed a bunch of video inter­views that I’ll start upload­ing to my Youtube account and on the “reclaiming2009” tag on Quak­erQuak­er. When you watch them, be char­i­ta­ble. I’m still learn­ing through my style. But it was excit­ing start­ing to do them and it con­firmed my sense that we real­ly need to be burn­ing up Youtube with Quak­er stuff.

I need to find my board­ing gate but I do want to say that the oth­er piece is putting togeth­er col­lec­tions of prac­tices that Friends can try in their loca­tion Friends com­mu­ni­ty. Gath­er­ing in Light Wess led a real­ly well-received ses­sion that took the Lord’s Prayer and turned it into an inter­ac­tive small group even. We took pho­tos and a bit of video and we’ll be putting it togeth­er as a how-to some­where or other.

Pic­tures going up on Flickr, I’ll orga­nize them soon. Also check out Con​ver​gent​Friends​.org and the Reclaim­ing Prim­i­tive Quak­erism work­shop page on QuakerQuaker.

  • This is VERY excit­ing to read, and it’s lift­ed my very yucky mood today. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing more from you, the oth­er facil­i­ta­tors, and the participants!

    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

  • Meg Giv­en

    Mar­tin, I’m so glad I took you to the air­port via High­way 9 instead of the free­way, because I saw on the way back that the free­way was closed in both direc­tions! I hope the rocks and trees in the road weren’t too hair-raising.

    • @Meg: good luck indeed. Thanks for the ride. It wasn’t so much that the rocks and trees were hair-raising but that the twists, turns and inclines were a bit belly-raising. I love those kinds of roads but whew!, there’s a lot of them out there. Both plane rides were remark­ably smooth. 

  • It was great to be togeth­er. So many won­der­ful Friends.

  • Susanne R. Wilson

    I real­ly appre­ci­ate all the hard work that all three group lead­ers put into this work­shop. Yes, it went very well. I thought the three of you worked togeth­er very well as a team and I enjoyed the relaxed qual­i­ty of your togeth­er­ness. I liked the pace of the week­end which felt com­fort­able and not rushed as some week­ends like this feel. There is much food for thought and con­tem­pla­tion. It will take a while to “process” all that I recewived at the work­shop. I espe­cial­ly enjoyed the mix of peo­ple and the ease of shar­ing with every­one.. By the way, Mar­tin, what do you mean exact­ly when you say (in the first para­graph above) that “God and Christ were being named all over the place”?

  • Thea

    Years ago we attend­ed a Gath­er­ing lead by Susan and John Smith at the Quak­er Center.
    From Thea, who lives in San­ta Cruz,CA