Random Philly morning commute c 2017
Strange moment this morning when I checked my blog stats and realized that I get a fair amount of traffic for a movie review I wrote last year. I was checking the stats to see if any of the Quaker-related search terms might give clues for future content on Friends Journal or QuakerSpeak and for that purpose the review’s popularity with Google (and readers) isn’t that useful.
But this blog is just my life spun out. I don’t aim for keywords and I don’t want to dominate a thought-sphere. If I see a movie and jot down some impressions that attract a small audience, then my blog post is a success. A dozen or so random people a month Google in to spend a couple of minutes reading my thoughts on a fifty-year-old movie. That’s cool. That’s enough. In all the talk of targeting and SEO we sometimes forget that it’s an honor to simply be read.
The other night stayed up late to cuddled with my wife and watch good-natured but flawed Rom-Com. I read some reviews on IMDB and pondered the cliches in the shower the next morning. Boiling these impressions down into 500 words on a train commute would be easy enough. I should do it more.
This afternoon’s commute home had me walking through the Our Lady of Mt Carmel festival procession through Hammonton. Here’s a little while-walking video montage.
On a recent evening I met up with Gathering in Light Wess, who was in Philadelphia for a Quaker-sponsored peace conference. Over the next few hours, six of us went out for a great dinner, Wess and I tested some testimonies,
and a revolving group of Friends ended up around a table in the
conference’s hotel lobby talking late into the night (the links are
Wess’ reviews, these days you can reverse stalk him through his Yelp
Of all of the many people I spoke with, only one had any kind of
featured role at the conference. Without exception my conversation
partners were fascinating and insightful about the issues that had
brought them to Philadelphia, yet I sensed a pervading sense of missed
opportunity: hundreds of lives rearranged and thousands of air miles
flown mostly to listen to others talk. I spent my long commute home
wondering what it would have been like to have spent the weekend in the
hotel lobby recording ten minute Youtube interviews with as many
conference participants as I could. We would have ended up with a
snapshot of faith-based peace organizing circa 2009.
Next weekend I’ll be burning up more of the ozone layer by flying to California to co-lead a workshop with Wess and Robin M. (details at ConvergentFriends.org,
I’m sure we can squeeze more people in!) The participant list looks
fabulous. I don’t know everyone but there’s at least half a dozen
people coming who I would be thrilled to take workshops from. I really
don’t want to spend the weekend hearing myself talk! I also know there
are plenty of people who can’t come because of commitments and costs.
So we’re going to try some experiments – they might work, they might not. On QuakerQuaker, there’s a new group for the event and a discussion thread open to all QQ members (sign up is quick and painless). For those of you comfortable with the QQ tagging system, the Delicious tag for the event is “quaker.reclaiming2009”. Robin M has proposed using #convergentfriends as our Twitter hashtag.
There’s all sorts of mad things we could try (Ustream video or live
blogging via Twitter, anyone?), wacky wacky stuff that would distract
us from whatever message the Inward Christ might be trying to give us.
But behind all this is a real questions about why and how we should
gather together as Friends. As the banking system tanks, as the environment
strains, as communications costs drop and we find ourselves in a curious new economy, what challenges and opportunities open up?
In the What a Difference a Year Makes (or Doesn’t) Department:
Julie took the kids out to South Jersey’s fabled Storybookland last week.The funniest discovery were the pictures that matched those from Theo’s class trip last year.
We all went together on a family trip this weekend to reacquaint ourselves with one another: our schedules haven’t been syncing well lately. Julie picked a farm B&B out in Lancaster County full of chickens and goats and an easy commute to Strasburg PA, a good place for those who like to look at trains, trains, and trains, then drool over trains, trains, trains, and trains (we haven’t seen trains or trains up close yet). Pictures from around the B&B are here; strangely we forgot the cameras on our steam-powered outings so you’ll have to look at old pics. Here’s a shot of the kids on top of the playhouse barn’s slide: