What Does Community Mean When People Keep Leaving?

What Does Com­mu­nity Mean When Peo­ple Keep Leav­ing?. Micah Bales looks at tran­sient com­mu­ni­ties:

What does this tran­sience mean for the pos­si­bil­ity of being part of a long-term, sta­ble com­mu­nity? What does com­mu­nity even mean in the con­text of the unceas­ing ebb and flow of arrivals and depar­tures?

A Gathered People

A Gath­ered Peo­ple. Craig Bar­nett on com­mu­nity in the mod­ern world:

A gath­ered peo­ple is not just an asso­ci­a­tion of indi­vid­u­als who hap­pen to share over­lap­ping val­ues or inter­ests. It is formed by the rais­ing and quick­en­ing of a new spir­i­tual life and power within each per­son.

The refuge of community

The refuge of com­mu­nity. The Malachut blog­ger gives a mod­ern response to the early Quaker let­ter from Balby:

The Elders end this advice with“Lest the Truth Suffer“this to me means that we can­not have onne form of the com­mu­nity with­out the oth​ers​.Com​mu​nity itself can­not exist with­out being some­thing with­out com­pas­sion just as much not being a place that goes far beyond it’s bor­ders.

Reflections on the 2014 Swarthmore LectuBeing honest about the stories we tell

Reflec­tions on the 2014 Swarth­more Lec­tuBe­ing hon­est about the sto­ries we tell:

Mark Russ on the sto­ries in our Quaker the­olo­gies: > We need good the­ol­ogy, because there’s a lot of bad the­ol­ogy out there. I believe that the­ol­ogy in its sim­plest form is the story we tell as a reli­gious com­mu­nity, about our begin­nings, how we got here and where we’re going.

A story incomplete: Virginia Alexander’s life among Friends

A story incom­plete: Vir­ginia Alexander’s life among Friends:

In the AFSC blog, the story of pio­neer­ing Friend: 

Even though Dr. Alexan­der grad­u­ated from two élite uni­ver­si­ties, cared for Quak­ers in her med­ical prac­tice, and was very active in Quaker cir­cles, she was still not wel­comed by all into a reli­gious com­mu­nity that she claimed as her own.

The Atlantic City history of Monopoly

The Atlantic City his­tory of Monop­oly:

Because of a new book by Mary Pilon, the not-so-secret his­tory of Monop­oly is once more get­ting a lot of atten­tion. This excerpt from Pilon’s The Monop­o­lists shares the A.C. his­tory.

On one side were the mas­ters of vice and those who tol­er­ated that vice because of the wealth pour­ing into the town. On the other side were the reformists, includ­ing the Quak­ers, who wanted Atlantic City to be a clean, middle-class get­away, not a sor­did play­ground.

And in case you thought A.C. has changed so much, it’s not a coin­ci­dence that the com­mu­nity col­lege cam­pus where my wife often teaches is on Baltic Avenue,  that dirty-orange, low-price strip Baltic Avenue.

Know your audience

Some good tips about polling your website’s audi­ence to learn what they’re look­ing for. The author +Daniel Tread­well the devel­oper of the Google+Blog plug-in for Word­Press that lets you sync between the two.

Know your Audi­ence
Last year with the release of Google+ it was made very obvi­ous that a large amount of peo­ple have been look­ing for a new com­mu­nity that allows them to share their time, their art and their opin­ions with oth­ers in a way that was not pre­vi­ously avail­able.

Once you have gained a sig­nif­i­cant amount of fol­low­ers (and this amount is sub­jec­tive and per­sonal, what is a large num­ber to one may not be to another) most peo­ple will start to won­der exactly what it is that their audi­ence is most inter­ested in

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Are We More Than Our Demographics?

One of the things that is intrigu­ing me lately is the nature of Quaker debate.  There are half a dozen seemingly-perennial polit­i­cal issues around which Friends in my cir­cles have very strong opin­ions (these include abor­tion, nuclear power, and the role of Friends in the trou­bles of Israel/Palestine) . We often jus­tify our posi­tions with appeals to our Quaker faith, but I won­der how often our opin­ions could be more accu­rately pre­dicted by our demo­graphic pro­file?

How many of your polit­i­cal posi­tions and social atti­tudes could be accu­rately guessed by a savvy demog­ra­pher who knew your date of birth,  postal code,  edu­ca­tion and fam­ily income? I’d guess each of us are far more pre­dictable than we’d like to think.If true,  then what role does our reli­gious life actu­ally play?

Reli­gious beliefs are also a demo­graphic cat­e­gory,  granted, but if they only con­firm posi­tions that could be just as actu­ally pre­dicted by non-spiritual data, then doesn’t that imply that we’ve sim­ply found (or remained in) a reli­gious com­mu­nity that con­firms our pre-existing biases? Have we cre­ated a faith in our own image? And if true, is it really fair to jus­tify our­selves based on appeals to Quaker val­ues?

The “polit­i­cal” Quaker writ­ings I’m find­ing most inter­est­ing (because they’re least pre­dictable) are the ones that stop to ask how Quaker dis­cern­ment fits into the debate. Dis­cern­ment: one could eas­ily argue that Quaker open­ings and tools around it are one of our great­est gifts to human spir­i­tu­al­ity.  When we build a wor­ship com­mu­nity based on strict adher­ence to the imme­di­ate prompt­ing of the Holy Spirit, the first ques­tion becomes fig­ur­ing out what is of-God and what is not.  Is James Nayler, rid­ing Jesus-like into Bris­tol, a prophet or a nut?

When we go deep into the ques­tions,  we may find that the answers are less impor­tant than the care we take to reach them.  Wait­ing for one another,  hold­ing one another’s hand in love despite dif­fer­ences of opin­ion, can be more impor­tant than being the right-answer early adopter. How do you step back from easy answers to the thorny ques­tions? How do you poll your­self and that-of-God in your­self to open your eyes and ears for the poten­tial of sur­prise?