Quakerism 101

In Fall 2005 I led a six-week Quak­erism 101 course at Med­ford (NJ) Month­ly Meet­ing. It went very well. Med­ford has a lot of involved, weighty Friends (some of them past year­ly meet­ing clerks!) and I think they appre­ci­at­ed a fresh take on an intro­duc­to­ry course. The core ques­tion: how might we teach Quak­erism today?

This is the pro­pos­al for the course. I start­ed off with a long intro­duc­tion on the his­to­ry and phi­los­o­phy of Quak­er reli­gious edu­ca­tion and ped­a­gog­ic accul­tur­a­tion and go on to out­line a dif­fer­ent sort cur­ricu­lum for Quak­erism 101.

I took exten­sive notes of each ses­sion and will try to work that feed­back into a revised cur­ricu­lum that oth­er Meet­ings and Q101 lead­ers could use and adapt. In the mean­time, if you want to know how spe­cif­ic ses­sions and role­splays went, just email me and I’ll send you the unedit­ed notes. If you’re on the Adult Reli­gious Ed. com­mit­tee of a South Jer­sey or Philadel­phia area Meet­ing and want to bring me to teach it again, just let me know.

Thoughts on a Quak­erism 101 Course

Over the last few years, there seems to be a real groundswell of inter­est in Quak­ers try­ing to under­stand who we are and where we came from. There’s a revival of inter­st in look­ing back at our roots, not for his­to­ry or orthodoxy’s sake, but instead to try­ing to tease out the “Quak­er Trea­sures” that we might want to reclaim. I’ve seen this con­ver­sa­tion tak­ing place in all of the branch­es of Friends and it’s very hopeful.

I assume at least some of the par­tic­i­pants of the Quak­erism 101 course will have gone through oth­er intro­duc­to­ry cours­es or will have read the stan­dard texts. It would be fun to give them all some­thing new – luck­i­ly there’s plen­ty to choose from! I also want to expose par­tic­i­pants to the range of con­tem­po­rary Quak­erism. I’d like par­tic­i­pants to under­stand why the oth­er branch­es call them­selves Friends and to rec­og­nize some of the pec­u­lar­i­ties our branch has uncon­scious­ly adopted.

Ear­ly Friends didn’t get involved in six-week cours­es. They were too busy climb­ing trees to shout the gospel fur­ther, invit­ing peo­ple to join the great move­ment. Lat­er Qui­etist Friends had strong struc­tures of record­ed min­is­ters and elders which served a ped­a­gog­ic pur­pose for teach­ing Friends. When revival­ism broke out and brought over­whelm­ing­ly large num­bers of new atten­ders to meet­ings, this sys­tem broke down and many meet­ings hired min­is­ters to teach Quak­erism to the new peo­ple. Around the turn of the cen­tu­ry, promi­nent Quak­er edu­ca­tors intro­duced aca­d­e­m­ic mod­els, with cours­es and lec­ture series. Each of these approach­es to reli­gious edu­ca­tion fid­dles with Quak­erism and each has major draw­backs. But these new mod­els were insti­tut­ed because of very real and ongo­ing prob­lems Friends have with trans­mit­ting our faith to our youth and accul­tur­at­ing new seek­ers to our Quak­er way.

The core con­tra­dic­tion of a course series is that the leader is expect­ed to both impart knowl­edge and to invite par­tic­i­pa­tion. In prac­tice, this eas­i­ly leads to sit­u­a­tions where the teacher is either too dom­i­neer­ing _or_ too open to par­tic­i­pa­tion. The lat­ter seems more com­mon: Quak­erism is pre­sent­ed as a least-common-denominator social group­ing, form­less, with mem­ber­ship defined sim­ply by one’s com­fort­a­bil­i­ty in the group (see Brinton’s Friends for 300 Years.) One of the main goals of a intro­duc­to­ry course should be to bring new atten­ders into Quak­er cul­ture, prac­tice and ethics. There’s an implic­it assump­tion that there is some­thing called Quak­erism to teach. Part of that job is teas­ing out the reli­gious and cul­tur­al mod­els that new atten­ders are bring­ing with them and to open up the ques­tion as to how they fit or don’t fit in with the “gestalt” of Quak­erism (Grundy, Quak­er Trea­sures and Wilson’s Essays on the Quak­er Vision).

The great­est irony behind the Quak­erism 101 class is that its seemingly-neutral edu­ca­tion­al mod­el lulls proud­ly “unpro­grammed” Friends into an obliv­i­ous­ness that they’ve just insti­tut­ed a pro­gram led by a hireling min­is­ter. Argu­ments why Q101 teach­ers should be paid sounds iden­ti­cal to argu­ments why part-time FUM min­is­ters should be paid. A Q101 leader in an unpro­grammed meet­ing might well want to acknowl­edge this con­tra­dic­tion and pray for guid­ance and seek clear­ness about this. (For my Med­ford class, I decid­ed to teach it as paid leader of a class as a way of dis­ci­plin­ing myself to prac­tice of my fel­low Philadel­phia Year­ly Meet­ing Friends.)

The stan­dard Quak­erism 101 cur­ricu­lum com­part­men­tal­izes every­thing into neat lit­tle box­es. His­to­ry gets a box, tes­ti­monies get a box, faith and insti­tu­tions get box­es. I want to break out of that. I can rec­om­mend good books on Quak­er his­to­ry and point par­tic­i­pants to good web­sites advo­cat­ing Quak­er tes­ti­monies. But I want to present his­to­ry as cur­rent events and the tes­ti­monies as min­istry. The stan­dard cur­ricu­lum starts with some of the more con­tro­ver­sial mate­r­i­al about the dif­fer­ent braches of Friends and only then goes into wor­ship, the meet­ing life, etc. I want dis­cus­sion of the lat­ter to be informed by the ear­li­er dis­cus­sion of who we are and who we might be. The course will start off more struc­tured, with me as leader and become more par­tic­i­pa­to­ry in the lat­er sections.

Cur­ricu­lum:

What I want to do is have one sol­id overview book and sup­ple­ment it with some of those fas­ci­nat­ing (and coversation-sparking!) pam­phlets. The overview book is Thomas Hamm’s Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca. Pub­lished last year, it’s the best intro­duc­tion to Quak­erism in at least a gen­er­a­tion. Hamm wrote this as part of a reli­gions of Amer­i­ca series and it’s meant as a gen­er­al intro­duc­tion to con­tem­po­rary Quak­erism. His lat­er chap­ters on debates with­in Quak­erism should be easy to adapt for a Q-101 series.

Ses­sion I: Introductions

  • Wor­ship
  • In-class read­ing of two pages from Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca (pro­file of Ohio Year­ly Meet­ing ses­sions, p. 1), reflec­tions. (maybe start this class 2?)
  • Intro­duc­tions to one another.

Ses­sion II: What Are Our Models

  • Wor­ship
  • In-class read­ing of two pages from Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca (pro­file of First Friends Church of Can­ton, p. 3), reflections.
  • What are our mod­els? Role­play of “What Would X Do?” with a giv­en prob­lem: JC, George Fox, Methodists, Non-denominational bible church, col­lege. Also: the “nat­ur­al break­ing point” mod­el of Quak­er divisions.
  • Read­ing for this class: “Con­vinced Quak­erism” by Ben Pink Dandelion

Ses­sion III: The Schisms

  • Wor­ship
  • In-class read­ing of two pages from Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca (pro­file of Wilm­ing­ton Year­ly Meet­ing ses­sions, p. 5), reflections.
  • Read­ing for this class: Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca chap­ter 3, “Their Sep­a­rate Ways: Amer­i­can Friends Since 1800,” about the branches

Ses­sion IV: Role of our Institutions

  • Wor­ship
  • In-class read­ing of two pages from Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca (pro­file of Lake Erie Year­ly Meet­ing, p. 7), reflections.
  • Read­ing for this class: “The Author­i­ty of Our Meet­ings…” by Paul Lacey

Ses­sion V: Con­tro­ver­sies with­in Friends

  • Could pick any 2 – 3 con­tro­ver­sies of Hamm’s: “Is Quak­erism Chris­t­ian?,” “Lead­er­ship,” “Author­i­ty,” “Sex­u­al­i­ty,” “Iden­ti­ty,” “Uni­ty and Diver­si­ty,” “Growth and Decline.” Ear­ly in the course I could poll the group to get a sense which ones they might want to grap­ple with. The idea is not to be thor­ough cov­er­ing all the top­ics or even all the intri­ca­cies with­in each top­ic. I hope to just see if we can mod­el ways of talk­ing about these with­in Medford.
  • Read­ing for this class: Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca chap­ter 5, “Con­tem­po­rary Quak­er Debates,” p. 120

Ses­sion VI: Role of wor­ship, role of min­istry, role of witnesses.

  • Focus­ing on Worship/Ministry (Witness)/MM Author­i­ty (Elders). If the cal­en­dar allows for eight ses­sions, this could eas­i­ly be split apart or giv­en two weeks.
  • Read­ing for this class: “Quak­er Trea­sures” by Mar­ty Pax­ton Grundy, which ties togeth­er Gospel Order, Min­istries and the Testimonies.

Ses­sion VII: What kind of reli­gious com­mu­ni­ty do we want Med­ford MM to be?

  • This should be par­tic­i­pa­to­ry, inter­ac­tive. There should be some go-around sort of exer­cise to open up our visions of an ide­al reli­gious com­mu­ni­ty and what we think Med­ford Meet­ing might be like in 5, 10, 25 years.
  • Read­ing for this class: “Build­ing the Life of the Meet­ing” by Bill & Fran Taber (1994, $4). I’ve heard there’s some­thing recent from John Pun­shon which might work better.
  • Also: some­thing from the emer­gent church move­ment to point to a great peo­ple that might be gath­ered. Per­haps essays from Jor­dan Coop­er & some­one at Cir­cle of Hope/Phila.

Books Used:

  • “Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca” is Thomas Hamm’s excel­lent new intro­duc­tion to Friends is a bit pricey ($40) but is adapt­ing well to a Q101 course.
  • “Con­vinced Quak­erism” by Ben Pink Dan­de­lion mix­es tra­di­tion­al Quak­er under­stad­ings of con­vince­ment with Ben’s per­son­al sto­ry and it sparked a good, widerang­ing dis­cus­sion. $4.
  • “Quak­er Trea­sures” by Mar­ty Grundy. $4
  • “The Author­i­ty of Our Meet­ings…” by Paul Lacey. $4
  • “Build­ing the Life of the Meet­ing” by Bill and Fran Taber. $4

Con­sid­ered Using:

  • “Why Friends are Friends” by Jack Will­cuts. $9.95. I like this book and think that much of it could be used for a Q101 in a liberal-branch Friends Meet­ing. Chap­ters: “The Won­der of Wor­ship,” “Sacred Spir­i­tu­al Sacra­ments,” “Called to Min­istry,” “Let­ting Peace Pre­vail,” “Get­ting the Sense of the Meet­ing,” “On Being Pow­er­ful” – I find the mid­dle chap­ters are the more interesting/Quaker ones).
  • Silence and Wit­ness by Michael Birkel. I haven’t read through this yet, but in skim­ming the chap­ters it looks like Birkel shys away from chal­leng­ing the Quak­er sta­tus quo. With­in that con­straint, how­ev­er, it looks like a good intro­duc­tion to Quak­erism. $16.
  • “Quak­er Cul­ture vs. Quak­er Faith” by Samuel Caldwell.
  • The Philadel­phia Year­ly Meet­ing Quak­erism 101 cur­ricu­lum. It’s not as bad as it could be but it’s too heavy on his­to­ry and tes­ti­monies and too focused on the Jones/Brinton view of Quak­erism which I think has played itself out. I’ve seen Q101 facil­i­ta­tors read direct­ly out of the cur­ricu­lum to the glazed eyes of the par­tic­i­pants. I want­ed some­thing fresh­er and less course-like.
  • I recent­ly fell in love with Rufus Jones again. As some­one who is not a Friend, but a friend of Friends (and an Earl­ham alum­nus) I am most moved by what he has to say to all of us, both inside and out­side your Soci­ety. I hope Quak­ers don’t feel they have “moved beyond” some­one who used tra­di­tion­al Chris­t­ian lan­guage as Jones did, often to express uni­ver­sal truth, but often to express things he felt to be the par­tic­u­lar gifts of Christ. I draw on him exten­sive­ly in the essay on Pur­pose linked to from my web page ref­er­enced above.

  • Want to come to my Meet­ing to teach? 🙂 This is a great begin­ning! I like the way that you inter­weave the var­i­ous “teach­ing” strands typ­i­cal in oth­er Quak­er 101’s (his­to­ry, tes­ti­monies, etc.). It’s also great that you’re includ­ing infor­ma­tion about the var­i­ous dif­fer­ent forms of Quak­erism (many Friends & new­com­ers are typ­i­cal­ly unaware of these differences).
    Do you plan to do more lecturing/pedigogical, dis­cus­sions, or worship-sharing? I agree that there is a strong bias toward the lat­ter two ver­sus the first approach. How­ev­er, my expe­ri­ence is that new com­ers typ­i­cal­ly want to learn SOMETHING ver­sus only lis­ten­ing to oth­ers’ opinions/personal expe­ri­ences about the top­ic or sit­ting in silence. I’d be inter­est­ed in learn­ing more on how you envi­sion the process of the class­es will go.
    Also, regard­ing the con­tro­ver­sies: although it seems like a good idea to focus on those that the group was most inter­est­ed in, I find that I am more com­fort­able in lead­ing such dis­cus­sions where I have more expe­ri­ence with the con­tro­ver­sy (e.g. Chris­tian­i­ty, sex­u­al­i­ty). Just a thought…
    I’m inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about this cur­ricu­lum and how the exer­peince goes for you and the group!

  • As I read your cur­ricu­lum, the thought that kept run­ning through my head was “I hope he’s not going to lec­ture too much and I hope that there are a few long-time Friends in the group as well as new­com­ers” and then I read Joe G’s response. I thought then about difference.
    Joe assigns a cer­tain kind of learn­ing style to all new­com­ers and I am not one of those kind of learners.
    The Q101 class I took eight or nine years ago was led by a birthright Friend who I felt intim­i­dat­ed by. She seemed so cen­tered and always said the right things at Meet­ing for Wor­ship for Busi­ness. The class was made up of new­com­ers and not-so-newcomers and long­time Friends.
    We read Friends for 300 Years as well as excerpts from oth­er things (that I don’t remem­ber). I didn’t learn any­thing from the books and read­ings. I am an expe­ri­en­tial learn­er – I learned that this birthright Friend didn’t have any bet­ter access to God than I did. I learned that we tru­ly are all equal. This Friend who taught Q101 hum­bled her­self before us and God.
    The class taught me all those things. And it taught me that I had a lot more to learn about Quak­erism and the only way to do that (because we are *ahem* apophat­ic) is to expe­ri­ence it over years.
    So my advice to you is to be hum­ble and not stress one kind of learn­ing style over anoth­er. Peo­ple will come to your class for dif­fer­ent rea­sons and all get dif­fer­ent things out of it.

  • Thanks for ignit­ing this good set of comments!
    And thanks for men­tion­ing Why Friends Are Friends by our late pas­tor Jack Will­cuts. By the way, this book­let has been trans­lat­ed into Russ­ian, along with anoth­er North­west Quaker’s book, Richard Foster’s Cel­e­bra­tion of Dis­ci­pline. I’m part of a small group that is try­ing to pin down good mate­ri­als for use with inquir­ers and at inquir­ers’ retreats in Rus­sia; a cur­rent project is the trans­la­tion of Wilmer Cooper’s A Liv­ing Faith.
    Jeanne’s com­ments are very wise. Self-disclosure is so impor­tant. Auto­bi­og­ra­phy (“tes­ti­mo­ny”!) is, for some of us, the most pow­er­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tor of spirituality.
    Mary Kay Rehard has writ­ten some won­der­ful intro­duc­tions to Friends faith and prac­tice for use in Kenya. Some­how she has man­aged to pro­duce mate­r­i­al that doesn’t pre­sup­pose intel­lec­tu­al sophis­ti­ca­tion (yes, I know that’s a prob­lem­at­ic label!!) while retain­ing gen­uine depth. I hope this mate­r­i­al becomes avail­able here someday.
    Speak­ing of Kenya, the Pen­dle Hill Pam­phlets by Liz and Tom Gates are an intro­duc­tion to at least one seg­ment of the Quaker-Africa rela­tion­ship. I’ve actu­al­ly used them as “tracts” to intro­duce Friends.
    Final­ly: Reed­wood Friends Church uses our year­ly meeting’s Faith and Prac­tice as our pri­ma­ry text for our equiv­a­lent class­es, sup­ple­ment­ing as need­ed with oth­er mate­r­i­al. The book is used not to indoc­tri­nate but to orga­nize all the dis­parate dimen­sions of Quak­er his­to­ry and belief and orga­ni­za­tion­al details in a way that gives new­com­ers insights into the actu­al process­es that are going on around them, and also gives them per­mis­sion to ques­tion the dis­crep­an­cies they some­times see between what we say and what we do.

  • What was so won­der­ful to me, as a per­son who was raised entire­ly as a Charis­mat­ic Chris­t­ian, was dis­cov­er­ing what Quak­erism wasn’t. 🙂

  • Just found your blog, and I find it fas­ci­nat­ing. Can’t wait to digest your writ­ings. I belong to an Evan­gel­i­cal Friends church, but find myself mov­ing a bit more towards the clas­sic lib­er­al Quak­er stances. I have put to your blog at my blog. Hope my read­ers find their way to you.

  • Aman­da

    Friend Mar­tin, I’ve been won­der­ing how this course went/is going, if it’s already been done? I’m devour­ing all I can learn these days — there have been mur­murs of a Q101 course at 15th St — only faint rustlings, mind you, and I’m curi­ous about how it might go.

  • Hi Aman­da! Actu­al­ly the course fin­ished up the past First Day. It went sur­pris­ing­ly well. Med­ford can be a bit of an intim­i­dat­ing Meet­ing: there’s a Quak­er retire­ment com­mu­ni­ty near­by and lots of very expe­ri­enced weighty Friends. But they were all very open to talk­ing about the issues I raised and quite will­ing to engage in the exer­cis­es I put them through (“Friends, we have a prob­lem. Lil’ ol’ Obadiah’s grown up and he’s just signed up for the Marines…”). The last ses­sion turned out to be about attract­ing young seek­ers and while I don’t think I was ful­ly heard, it was still an impor­tant discussion.
    I took pret­ty exten­sive notes after each of the ses­sions. I’d like to rework the cur­ricu­lum to reflect the changed I’d make if I were to do it again. I’m still scep­ti­cal of the “Quak­erism 101” mod­el but I hope 15th Street will have some adult R.E. pro­gram to help pull you into the fold and stoke the fires higher!

  • Aman­da

    Right now I am read­ing Friends for 350 years — and seek­ing out some of the oth­er read­ing mate­r­i­al you suggested.
    Last 1st day there was a mini sem­i­nar on tra­di­tion­al Quak­er prac­tices, such as elder­ing and vocal min­istry. What was fas­ci­nat­ing was that it quick­ly turned into a very gath­ered meet­ing with a con­cern for the life of the meet­ing. There have been about half a dozen seek­ers of about my age attend­ing the meet­ing on and off — and a Friend raised the ques­tion of attract­ing younger mem­bers, or fall­en away teenage and twen­ties friends — this lead to some great dis­cus­sions, and though I didn’t end up learn­ing much new about Quak­er tra­di­tions, I did end up meet­ing many friends I had only exchanged friend­ly glances with at social hour. We are going to orga­nize a young friend’s meet­ing for Weds nights, with old­er sea­soned friends attend­ing and being open for ques­tions after­wards. There seems to be a renewed inter­est in unit­ing the gen­er­a­tions and reach­ing out to new­com­ers in a more mean­ing­ful way. A vis­it­ing friend from anoth­er meet­ing said that they had just dis­cov­ered that that the teenagers in her meet­ing were not attend­ing the First Day meet­ing but were qui­et­ly arrang­ing and hold­ing their own meet­ings — and she was shocked at how “hard­core” and faith­ful they were. “I think we are too “tame” for them.” she said. Anoth­er young friend, also in his ear­ly twen­ties, who was in atten­dence and myself acknowl­edged that we too have a desire for some­thing deep­er, and for the tra­di­tions and fire of the first Friends.
    I don’t know what fruit will come of it, but it was a very hope­ful afternoon.
    Amanda

  • Aman­da

    I for­got to say — I bet if you typed up some of the notes, we’d be inter­est­ed in see­ing them here!
    A

  • Hi Aman­da, the Wednes­day night groups sound great. I’m kind of want­i­ng some­thing like that in Philadel­phia. I have almost con­stant con­ver­sa­tions with twenty- and thirty-something Friends and seek­ers who do want to be seri­ous and involved – that line about most meet­ings being “too tame” real­ly rings true. I’d dare say that most of my peers have left, incred­i­bly frus­trat­ed and I’d real­ly hate if anoth­er gen­er­a­tion left because old­er Quak­ers didn’t tend the fire. I don’t know why any­one would think twenty-somethings would be any­thing oth­er than “hard­core.” Why do we sell young min­is­ters so short?
    _Friends for 350 Years_ is dat­ed and tends toward that 1950s out­ward affi­a­bil­i­ty, but it’s a good way of under­stand­ing where that gen­er­a­tion of Friends is com­ing from. Tell your meet­ing librar­i­an that he needs to order a sup­ply of the new _Quakers in America._ It’s prici­er but _so_ much bet­ter. And as I’ve writ­ten Samuel Bownas’s _Description of the Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Nec­es­sary for Gospel Min­istry” is a breath of fresh sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry air: won­der­ful and also some­thing I total­ly thing you should read.

  • Aman­da

    Well, I was warned by the librar­i­an that I have two months to think up good rea­sons why I shouldn’t be on the library com­mit­tee because come Jan­u­ary he wants me there. Should that come to pass, I will cer­tain­ly turn to you for more sug­ges­tions. As it is I am going to ask Eli to order those books.
    It was real­ly very touch­ing to see the eager­ness with which some of the old­er friends respond­ed to the com­ments that I, a bold new­com­er who seems to have dropped out of the sky and this oth­er young man, who had just attend­ed his 2nd meet­ing there offered. While I agree that there can be a degree of smug­ness in the old­er gen­er­a­tions, I think there has also been fault on the side of younger peo­ple for not speak­ing out and mak­ing their needs known.
    I have tak­en inspi­ra­tion from the way you don’t back down when rebuffed — and I think it is equal­ly impor­tant not to back down if we feel ignored or unheard. I think that exam­ples of that Ear­ly Quak­er clev­er­ness, humour, earnest­ness, and fire, admin­is­tered in reg­u­lar dos­es, might unblock some plugged ears. If we want to be seri­ous and involved, we shouldn’t wait to be invit­ed. Why the con­stant con­ver­sa­tions instead of con­stant action? We should organ­ise, attend our meet­ings for busi­ness, put forth our ideas, plans, dreams — and then put them into action. As long as we give up, drift­ing away, lick­ing our wounds about how the present state of the soci­ety doesn’t speak to our con­di­tion, noth­ing is going to change.
    I’m not sure where I am going to find all these oth­er young peo­ple for our Weds. meet­ing — friends like you and I seem to be scat­tered. But if I build it, I have faith they will come.
    I am going to take full advan­tage of what I know is per­ceived by some as typ­i­cal newly-convinced overea­ger­ness. Per­haps it is, but why not turn it to our advan­tage? We young and new­ly con­vinced Friends are not burnt out yet, we are not dis­cour­aged yet, we have not yet been lulled into a state of false com­pla­cen­cy — and so it seems to me that this lot and respon­si­bil­i­ty falls nat­u­ral­ly to us. Even if we are des­tined to become staid old back-benchers some day, why not leave some­thing behind us?
    Bah, I’ve just need­ed to blurt that for a bit. Thank thee for thy online min­istry, Mar­tin, it encour­agesme, for one, very much.

  • Aman­da

    Inter­est­ing devel­op­ment — one of our Elders dis­cov­ered Quak­ers in Amer­i­ca and LOVES it, and spon­ta­neous­ly decid­ed it would be a great basis for a Q101 course. We were chat­ting about it, and so I sent him here.
    This could be good!

  • Chris­tine Greenland

    Hi, Mar­tin –
    Final­ly, I’m get­ting around to read­ing your mate­ri­als. I like your approach.
    Every time I’ve taught Quak­erism 101, I’ve start­ed in a dif­fer­ent place, depend­ing upon the life and needs of the par­tic­u­lar Meet­ing. I use the Q101 cur­ricu­lum as a guide only, and have used Wilmer Cooper’s A Liv­ing Faith, with Tom Hamm’s book as a sec­ondary text, along with Richard Foster’s and Jack Will­cuts’ writings.
    I par­tic­u­lar­ly like the ques­tions at the end of each chap­ter in Cooper’s book, and some of Richard Foster’s reflections.
    When I teach Q101, I tend to start with church his­to­ry, and weave into the dis­cus­sion a com­par­i­son of Catholic, Luther­an, Angli­can, Calvin­ist and Pen­te­costal under­stand­ings. I feel it impor­tant to main­tain per­spec­tive and to acknowl­edge pre­vi­ous reli­gious expe­ri­ence as “spir­i­tu­al step­ping stones.” We’re not the “only kids on the block.”
    I’m tak­ing a break from all PYM committees/working groups to con­cen­trate on writ­ing and teach­ing. One of my hopes is empha­size deep­er spir­i­tu­al expe­ri­ences with­in my Quar­ter­ly Meet­ing and my Month­ly Meet­ing. Per­haps we should get togeth­er. All of us need some­thing of sub­stance… It isn’t just the 30-something folks.
    Aman­da, Mar­tin, per­haps we should get togeth­er some­time in 2005. I hang out at the Tract Asso­ci­a­tion office twice a week. We still have a few copies of the Bow­nas book.

  • Absolute­ly, Chris­tine. There are so many of us active online-Quakers who should meet up. Mar­tin, thee, me, Jeff Hipp, my 15th St. Friend Ryan, just to name a few.

  • Robin Mohr

    One of the first things I did here in San Fran­cis­co (well, after six months) was to orga­nize a Seeker’s Class. Some of my hus­band and my first dates were after a sim­i­lar class at 15th St. in 1992. How­ev­er, instead of a pre­pro­grammed cur­ricu­lum, I used the Pacif­ic Year­ly Meet­ing Faith and Prac­tice as a text and invit­ed Friends from our Meet­ing to teach dif­fer­ent weeks of a six week series.
    If I were to do it now, I would start with the premise that the main point of Quak­erism is that God can change your life. And then look at how that hap­pens and has hap­pened in dif­fer­ent ways at dif­fer­ent times.
    My favorite book of last year, maybe it’s the text for Quak­erism 301, is Plain Liv­ing by Cather­ine Whitmire.

  • Yo Mar­tin,
    So quick­ly I find your web pres­ence and my Friend friends Johan and Chris­tine respond­ing to it! Great to see you at QUIP again and I echo Johan’s appre­ci­a­tion for our late pas­tor Jack L. Willcuts.
    I have been a year­ly meet­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Reed­wood long ago and par­tic­i­pat­ed in some revi­sions of the NWYM Faith and Prac­tice. In my view, it needs to be revised again. That was the begin­ning of my huge respect for the edi­to­r­i­al process vs. Friends and con­sen­sus. Gracious!
    Glad also to see your use of the mate­ri­als by Thomas Hamm and by Ben Pink Dan­de­lion. This is an excit­ing time to be a Friend.
    Blessings,
    Ros­alie V. Grafe

  • Lau­ra

    I was raised Bap­tist, in a small com­mu­ni­ty. If I “con­vert­ed” to Quak­erism, would I have to move north, to Philidel­phia or some­where such as that?

  • Hi Lau­ra: there are Quak­ers all over and most have intro­duc­to­ry Quak­er class­es. You can see if one is list­ed in your local phone book or you can use an online ser­vice such as Quakerfinder.
    Your Friend, Martin