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 martinkelley.com/contact.
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/
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
- “Nonviolence.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 Nonviolence.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).
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.
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)
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.
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.