What is this QuakerQuaker thing?

There’s been some head-scratching going on about Quak­erQuaker over the last few weeks. In the ser­vice of trans­parency I’ve posted my con­trib­u­tor guide­lines on the “About Quak­erQuaker page”. Here they are:

Post should be explic­itly Quaker: Any thought­ful posts from any branch of Friends that wres­tles in some way with what it means to be a Quaker is fair game. While we all have our own issues that con­nect deeply with our under­stand­ing of our faith, the Blog­watch only seems to work if it keeps focused on Quak­erism, on how we our faith and lives inter­act. Back when this was just a links list on my per­sonal site I would get com­plaints when I added some­thing that seemed related to my under­stand­ing of Quak­erism but that wasn’t specif­i­cally writ­ten from a Quaker stand­point (when we want to make this kind of link we should do so on our per­sonal blogs where we can put it in bet­ter context).

Post should be timely: I’ve billed Quak­erQuaker as “a guide to the Quaker con­ver­sa­tion” and links should go to recently-written arti­cles with strong voices. We’re not try­ing to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive list of Quaker web­sites, so no link­ing to orga­ni­za­tional home­pages. While most links should go to blog posts, it’s fine to include good arti­cles from Quaker pub­li­ca­tions. A link to some­thing like a press release or new book announce­ment should only be made if it’s extra­or­di­nary. Remem­ber that Quak­erQuaker posts will only appear on the main site for a few days (if the ini­tial setup goes well I can start work on some ideas to giave a more time­less ele­ment to the site).

Post should be Inter­est­ing: Don’t book­mark every­thing you find. If the post feels pre­dictable or snoozy, just ignore it (even if the writer or topic is impor­tant). The Quaker blog­gers all have their audi­ences and we don’t need to high­light every post of every blog­ger. Only make the link if the post speaks out to you in some way (it’s quite pos­si­ble that one of the other con­trib­u­tors will pick up, find­ing some­thing you didn’t and high­light­ing it in their descrip­tion). That said, the posts you link to don’t have to be mas­ter­pieces; they can have gram­mat­i­cal and log­i­cal mis­takes. What’s impor­tant is that there’s some idea in there that’s inter­est­ing. It might be a good dis­ci­pline for each of us not to add our the posts from our own per­sonal blogs but to let one of the other con­trib­u­tors do it for us.

That’s it. While there are some vague assump­tions in all this about the role of tra­di­tion and com­mu­nity, dis­ci­pline and indi­vid­u­al­ism, there’s noth­ing about the­ol­ogy or who gets linked. This is a pub­li­ca­tion, with some­thing of an edi­to­r­ial voice in that I’ve cho­sen who gets to add links and asked them to be sub­jec­tive, but its very mel­low and I’ve been happy to see con­trib­u­tors range far afield. Google tells us that this is one of 18.7 mil­lion “Quaker” web­sites and $10/month will get you your own so let’s not do too much navel-gazing about what’s linked or not linked. If you don’t find it inter­est­ing, there are plenty of non-subjective Quaker blogs lists out there. I do lis­ten to feed­back and am always twid­dling with the site so feel free to send email to me at mar​tinkel​ley​.com/​c​o​n​t​act.

A time of sadness and prayer

Sad news com­ing over the inter­net: after 100 days of cap­tiv­ity, Chris­t­ian Peace­maker Tom Fox was found dead yes­ter­day in Iraq, the sta­tus of his three com­pan­ions unknown.

The Chris­t­ian Peace­maker Teams issued an ele­gant and heart­felt state­ment begin­ning “In grief we trem­ble before God who wraps us with com­pas­sion.” Fox knew the risk he was tak­ing going to Iraq unarmed. But he also knew that this wit­ness  would mean more to the Iraqi peo­ple than a hun­dred tanks. He knew the war we Friends wage is the Lamb’s War, a war won not through strength but through meek­ness, our only weapon our humilty before God and our love of neigh­bor. My prayers are with his fam­ily and friends, may Christ’s com­fort con­tinue to hold them through these aching times.
More his­tory and resources on my “Chris­t­ian Peace­maker Team Watch”:http://www.quakerquaker.org/christian_peacemaker_teams/

It’s witness time

Hi Quak­er­Ran­ter friends: I’ve been busy today cov­er­ing the Quaker response to the Chris­t­ian Peace­mak­ers Teams hostages. Two sites with a lot of over­lap­ping content:

  • Quaker Blog Watch page focused on the hostages
  • Non​vi​o​lence​.org state­ment and list of responses

Both of these fea­ture a mix of main­stream news and Quaker views on the sit­u­a­tion. I’ll keep them updated. I’m not the only busy Friend: Chuck Fager and John Stephens have a site called Free the Cap­tives — check it out.

It’s always inter­est­ing to see the moments that I explictly iden­tify as a Friend on Non​vi​o​lence​.org. As I saythere, it seems quite appro­pri­ate. We need to explain to the world why a Quaker and three other Chris­tians would need­lessly put them­selves in such dan­ger. This is wit­ness time, Friends. The real deal. We’re all being tested. This is one of those times for which those end­less com­mit­tee meet­ings and boil­er­plate peace state­ments have pre­pared us.

It’s time to tell the world that we live in the power that “takes away the occa­sion for war and over­comes our fear of death” (well, or at least mutes it enough that four brave souls would travel to dan­ger­ous lands to wit­ness our faith).

Two Years of the Quaker Ranter and Quaker Blogs

An amaz­ing thing has hap­pened in the last two years: we’ve got Friends from the cor­ners of Quak­erism shar­ing our sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences, our frus­tra­tions and dreams through Quaker blogs. Dis­en­chanted Friends who have longed for deeper con­ver­sa­tion and con­so­la­tion when things are hard at their local meet­ing have built a net­work of Friends who under­stand. When our gen­er­a­tion is set­tling down to write our mem­oirs — our Quaker jour­nals — a lot of us will have to have at least one chap­ter about becom­ing involved in the Quaker blog­ging community.

Con­tinue read­ing

Strangers to the Covenant

h3. A work­shop led by Zachary Moon and Mar­tin Kel­ley at the 2005 FGC Gath­er­ing of Friends.

This is for Young Friends who want to break into the power of Quak­erism: it’s the stuff you didn’t get in First Day School. Con­nect­ing with his­tor­i­cal Quak­ers whose pow­er­ful min­istry came in their teens and twen­ties, we’ll look at how Friends wove God, covenants and gospel order together to build a move­ment that rocked the world. We’ll mine Quaker his­tory to reclaim the power of our tra­di­tion, to explore the liv­ing tes­ti­monies and our wit­ness in the world. (P/T)

Con­tinue read­ing

Aggregating our Webs

On Beppe­blog, Joe talks about start­ing a clear­ness com­mit­tee [link long gone]to assist him with his strug­gles with Friends. But he also touches on some­thing I’ve cer­tainly also expe­ri­enced: the impor­tant role this elec­tronic fel­low­ship has been playing:

Just the other day I real­ized that I felt more com­fort­able being a Friend since not attend­ing Meet­ing on an ongo­ing basis. My ongo­ing “e-relationships” via the blo­gos­phere has helped me stay “con­nected”. Observe how pleased I responded to Liz’s recent post (the one that I quoted in the post before this one). It’s as if I’m starv­ing for good fel­low­ship of some kind or another.

There’s even more talk about internet-mediated discernment/fellowship in the “com­ments to his followup.

Given all this, I’m not sure if I’ve ever high­lighted a “vision for an expanded Quaker Ranter site” that I put together for a “youth lead­er­ship” grant in Third Month:

I’ve been blessed to meet many of my [age] peers with a clear call to inspired min­istry. Most of these Friends have since left the Soci­ety, frus­trated both by monthly meet­ings and Quaker bod­ies that didn’t know what to do with a bold min­istry and by a lack of men­tor­ing elder­ship that could help sea­son these young min­is­ters and deepen their under­stand­ing of gospel order. I would like to put together an inde­pen­dent online pub­li­ca­tion… This would explic­itly reach out across the dif­fer­ent braches of Friends and even to var­i­ous seeker move­ments like the so-called “Emer­gent Church Movement.”

As I’ve writ­ten I was selected for one of their fel­low­ships (yea!!) but for an amount that was point­edly too low to actu­ally fund much (huh??). There’s some­thing in the air how­ever. “Quaker Dharma” is ask­ing sim­i­lar ques­tions and Russ Nelson’s “Plan­etQuaker” is a sometimes-awkward auto­mated answer (do its read­ers really want to see the ultra­sounds?). I’m not sure any of these combo sites could actu­ally work bet­ter than their con­stituent parts. I find myself unin­ter­ested in most group blogs, aggre­ga­tors, and for­mal web­sites. The invi­did­ual voice is so important.

And don’t we already have a group project going with all the cross-reading and cross-linking we’re doing. Is that what Joe was talk­ing about? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found some new inter­est­ing blog­ger and went to post a wel­come in their com­ments only to have found that Joe or LizOpp had beaten me to it. (Some of us are to the point of read­ing each other’s minds. I think I could prob­a­bly write a great Beppe or LizOpp post and vice-versa.) Is this impulse to for­mal­ize these rela­tion­ships just a throw­back to old ideas of publishing?

Maybe the web’s form of hyper­link­ing is actu­ally supe­rior to Old Media pub­lish­ing. I love how I can put for­ward a strong vision of Quak­erism with­out offend­ing anyone–any put-off read­ers can hit the “back” but­ton. And if a blog I read posts some­thing I don’t agree with, I can sim­ply choose not to com­ment. If life’s just too busy then I just miss a few weeks of posts. With my “Sub­jec­tive Guide to Quaker Blogs” and my “On the Web” posts I high­light the blog­gers I find par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing, even when I’m not in per­fect the­o­log­i­cal unity. I like that I can have dis­cus­sions back and forth with Friends who I don’t exactly agree with.

I have noth­ing to announce, no clear plan for­ward and no money to do any­thing any­way. But I thought it’d be inter­est­ing to hear what oth­ers have been think­ing along these lines.

On the Web: Where’s that Power of the Lord?

The new Quaker Life has an arti­cle by Charles W. Heav­ilin ask­ing “Where’s the Power of the Lord Now?”:http://www.fum.org/QL/issues/0506/heaviland.htm
bq. In our post­mod­ern, frag­mented world, where now is the power of the Lord among Quak­ers? There is a vast divide between the accounts of early Friends and that of con­tem­po­rary Friends. Most mod­ern Quaker report­ing is per­func­tory — accounts with the spir­i­tual qual­ity of recipes in a cook­book. Con­ver­sa­tions at Quaker gath­er­ings now revolve around declin­ing atten­dance or bleak assess­ments of the spir­i­tual shal­low­ness of soci­ety. Sel­dom, if ever, is there any men­tion of the power of the Lord.
Great stuff. He gets into the way our cul­ture has neg­a­tively influ­enced Friends. After you read it check out “C Wess Daniel’s”:http://gatheringinlight.blogspot.com/2005/06/i-appreciate-article-charles-has.html com­men­tary on the arti­cle:
bq. Sim­ply put, I think we need to learn the sto­ries of the Quaker church once again, and begin to tell them, live them, and move for­ward in this tra­di­tion that has been past down to us as one that has been formed by the Spirit of Christ through such won­der­ful lead­ers as Fox, Fell, Bar­clay, Wool­man, etc.