Reach up high, clear off the dust, time to get started

It’s been a fas­ci­nat­ing edu­ca­tion learn­ing about insti­tu­tional Catholi­cism these past few weeks. I won’t reveal how and what I know, but I think I have a good pic­ture of the cul­ture inside the bishop’s inner cir­cle and I’m pretty sure I under­stand his long-term agenda. The cur­rent lightening-fast clo­sure of sixty-some churches is the first step of an ambi­tious plan; man­u­fac­tured priest short­ages and soon-to-be over­crowded churches will be used to jus­tify even more rad­i­cal changes. In about twenty years time, the 125 churches that exist today will have been sold off. What’s left of a half mil­lion faith­ful will be herded into a dozen or so mega-churches, with the­ol­ogy bor­rowed from generic lib­er­al­ism, style from feel-good evan­gel­i­cal­ism, and orga­ni­za­tion from con­sul­tant cul­ture.

When dioce­san offi­cials come by to read this blog (and they do now), they will smile at that last sen­tence and nod their heads approv­ingly. The con­spir­acy is real.

But I don’t want to talk about Catholi­cism again. Let’s talk Quak­ers instead, why not? I should be in some meet­ing for wor­ship right now any­way. Julie left Friends and returned to the faith of her upbring­ing after eleven years with us because she wanted a reli­gious com­mu­nity that shared a basic faith and that wasn’t afraid to talk about that faith as a cor­po­rate “we.” It seems that Catholi­cism won’t be able to offer that in a few years. Will she run then run off to the East­ern Ortho­dox church? For that mat­ter should I be run­ning off to the Men­non­ites? See though, the prob­lem is that the same issues will face us wherever we try to go. It’s mod­ernism, baby. No focused and authen­tic faith seems to be safe from the Forces of the Bland. Lord help us.

We can blog the ques­tions of course. Why would some­one who dis­likes Catholic cul­ture and wants to dis­man­tle its infra­struc­ture become a priest and a career bureau­crat? For that mat­ter why do so many peo­ple want to call them­selves Quak­ers when they can’t stand basic Quaker the­ol­ogy? If I wanted lots of com­ments I could go on blah-blah-blah, but ulti­mately the ques­tion is futile and beyond my fig­ur­ing.

Another piece to this issue came in some ques­tions Wess Daniels sent around to me and a few oth­ers this past week in prepa­ra­tion for his upcom­ing pre­sen­ta­tion at Wood­brooke. He asked about how a par­tic­u­lar Quaker insti­tu­tion did or did not rep­re­sent or might or might not be able to con­tain the so-called “Con­ver­gent” Friends move­ment. I don’t want to bust on any­one so I won’t name the orga­ni­za­tion. Let’s just say that like pretty much all Quaker bureau­cra­cies it’s inward-focused, shal­low in its pub­lic state­ments, slow to take ini­tia­tive and more or less irrel­e­vant to any cam­paign to gather a great peo­ple. A more suc­cess­ful Quaker bureau­cracy I could name seems to be doing well in fundrais­ing but is doing less and less with more and more staff and seems more inter­ested in donor-focused hype than long-term pro­gram imple­men­ta­tion.

One enemy of the faith is bureau­cracy. Real lead­er­ship has been replaced by con­sul­tants and fundrais­ers. Finan­cial and staffing crises – real and cre­ated – are used to jus­tify a water­ing down of the mes­sage. Pro­grams are dri­ven by donor money rather than clear need and when real work might require con­tro­versy, it’s tabled for the façade of feel-goodism. Quaker read­ers who think I’m talk­ing about Quak­ers: no I’m talk­ing about Catholics. Catholic read­ers who think I’m talk­ing about Catholics: no, I’m talk­ing about Quak­ers. My point is that these forces are tear­ing down reli­gios­ity all over. Some cheer this devel­op­ment on. I think it’s evil at work, the Tempter using our leader’s desires for posi­tion and respect and our the desires of our laity’s (for lack of a bet­ter word) to trust and think the best of its lead­ers.

So where does that leave us? I’m tired of think­ing that maybe if I try one more Quaker meet­ing I’ll find the com­mu­nity where I can prac­tice and deepen my faith as a Chris­tian Friend. I’m stumped. That first batch of Friends knew this feel­ing: Fox and the Pen­ing­tons and all the rest talked about iso­la­tion and about reli­gious pro­fes­sion­als who were in it for the career. I know from the blo­gos­phere and from count­less one-on-one con­ver­sa­tions that there are a lot of us – a lot – who either drift away or stay in meet­ings out of a sense of guilt.

So what would a spir­i­tual com­mu­nity for these out­sider Friends look like? If we had real vision rather than donor vision, what would our struc­tures look like? If we let the generic churches go off to out-compete one other to see who can be the bland­est, what would be left for the rest of us to do?

20080608-xcjchpscnwekhsh85kg2hr7nbf.previewI guess this last para­graph is the new revised mis­sion state­ment for the Quaker part of this blog. Okay kids, get a step stool, go to your meet­ing library, reach up high, clear away the dust and pull out vol­ume one of “A por­trai­ture of Quak­erism: Taken from a view of the edu­ca­tion and dis­ci­pline, social man­ners, civil and polit­i­cal econ­omy, reli­gious prin­ci­ples and char­ac­ter, of the Soci­ety of Friends” by Thomas Clark­son. Yes the 1806 ver­sion, stop the grum­bling. Get out the ribbed pack­ing tape and put its cover back together – this isn’t the frig­ging Library of Con­gress and we’re actu­ally going to read this thing. Don’t even waste your time check­ing it out in the meeting’s log­book: no one’s pulled it down off the shelf in fifty years and no one’s going to miss it now. Really stuck?, okay Google’s got it too. Class will start shortly.

Pen​n​char​ter​.com Media Pages

William Penn Charter School Media PagesOne ele­ment of a gen­eral social media con­sul­tancy project I’ve under­taken with Philadelphia’s William Penn Char­ter school is a dynamic media page. They had col­lected a large num­ber of pho­tos, movies and pod­cast inter­views, but the media page on their site was sta­tic and with­out pic­tures. I worked with them to come up with media poli­cies and then built a media site that auto­mat­i­cally dis­plays the lat­est Flickr sets and Youtube videos, all laid out attrac­tively with CSS. The Flickr part was com­pli­cated by the fact that Flickr doesn’t pro­duce feeds of sets and this required access to it’s API and fairly exten­sive Yahoo Pipes manip­u­la­tion. The orig­i­nal pod­casts were just uploaded MP3 files and I worked to col­lect them together via Odeo (host­ing) and Feed­burner (feed pub­lish­ing), which then pro­vides RSS and iTunes sup­port. The actual con­tent for the page is col­lected together on the Mar​tinkel​ley​.com server and embed­ded into the Penn Char­ter media pages via javascript. Other work with Penn Char­ter includes Google Ana­lyt­ics and Dreamweaver sup­port.

Update: Pen­n­Char­ter redesigned their web­site in August 2009 and the Media Page is unavail­able.

Client Testimonial:

“Mar­tin has worked for our school to inte­grate Web 2.0 tech­nolo­gies
into our com­mu­ni­ca­tion mate­ri­als. Mar­tin is highly-personable and his
is an expert in cur­rent tech­no­log­i­cal approaches. This is a hard match
to find in con­sul­tants.” April 30, 2009

Michael Moul­ton, Tech­nol­ogy Direc­tor, William Penn Char­ter School.
Hired Mar­tin as a IT Con­sul­tant in 2007, and hired Mar­tin more than once.
Top qual­i­ties: Per­son­able, Expert, High Integrity.


Steady Footsteps

Blog by an Amer­i­can cou­ple liv­ing in Viet­nam and advo­cat­ing for greater motor­bike safety. The tech­ni­cal aspects are pretty straight-forward but the neat part about it was watch­ing the client learn about blog­ging and online photo
shar­ing as we worked on the site: I intro­duced her to Fli­crk, Picasa
and Gmail! She took to it like a fish to water and the site is full of great
pho­tos taken by her hus­band David. Read more about their
work doing phys­i­cal ther­apy in Viet­nam and their posts about life in Da Nang.
. Tech­nol­ogy: Mov­able Type, Flickr. Visit Site.

Publicizing your blog via Flickr

Inte­grat­ing the Flickr photo shar­ing ser­vice
with your blog is a won­der­ful way to eas­ily add pho­tos to your site.
With a lit­tle extra effort you can get Flickr to work for you.

Flickr in your blog

When you want to embed a Flickr-hosted pho­tograph into one of your
blog entries, first start by going to the photo’s page in Flickr. Click
on the “All Sizes” but­ton on top (with the mag­ni­fy­ing glass icon), and
then pick the size you want for your blog post – small and medium work
well for blog entries.

Under­neath the resized pic­ture is a box with Flickr’s cod­ing (you have
to be look­ing at your own account and be logged in to see this). Sim­ply
cut and paste this into your blog entry and the pic­ture will appear
there. If you want your text to wrap around the pic­ture you’ll want to
add a lit­tle cod­ing to what Flickr gives you. Some­where inside the
“img” text you need to add wrap­ping instruc­tions. An easy place is
between the text that reads:

height=“180” alt=“whatever it says”

…now reads:

height=“180” align=“left” alt=“whatever it says”

Change left to right to have your photo align that way.

Your blog in Flickr

Many users don’t real­ize that peo­ple some­times find your Flickr
pho­tos and not your blog. Google indexes Flickr nicely and Flickr’s own
search is pop­u­lar. In the descrip­tion of your pho­tos you should add a
link back to your own blog. If you have a blog entry con­cern­ing that
actual pic­ture, link directly back to that entry. 

You’ll have to hand-write the HTML link for this (sorry, Flickr doesn’t have a link but­ton). It should look some­thing like this:

Descrip­tion of the photo. For more read, <a href=“”>What I know about Flickr</a>.

Here’s a screen shot of the edit­ing screen for this Flickr entry:


That post about my trip to a leg­endary South Jer­sey locale is one of
the most vis­ited pages on my per­sonal blog. A good bit of it comes from
the links in Flickr!

Remem­ber to put a lot of desired key­words into your Flickr title and
all link text. Key­words are those phrases that you think peo­ple might
be search­ing for. 

On pricing philosophy

Via 37Signal’s Sig­nals vs. Noise blog I came across a fas­ci­nat­ing post writ­ten by Brian Fling of Blue last year on pric­ing a project. I’d like to talk about it and to explain my own phi­los­o­phy. First a extended quote from Brian:

I find it funny… in a sad sort of way, that we often
start out our part­ner­ship with bluff­ing, no one say­ing what they are
really think­ing… how much they are will­ing to pay and how much it
should cost… Though every book I’ve read on the topic of pric­ing says
to never ever ball­park, I have a ten­dency to do so. If they can’t
dis­close the bud­get I typ­i­cally try to start throw­ing a few num­bers
from pre­vi­ous projects to help gauge the scope of what we are talk­ing
about, call it a good faith effort to start the dis­cus­sion… While this
is very awk­ward part of the dis­cus­sion it is almost always fol­lowed by
can­dor. It’s as if once some­one starts telling the truth, it opens a
door that can’t be closed.

I com­pletely agree that can­dor is the only way to work with clients.
Maybe it’s the Quaker influ­ence: we report­edly pio­neered fixed pric­ing
back when every­one hag­gled, with the phi­los­o­phy that charg­ing true
costs were the only hon­est way of doing busi­ness. My offi­cial rates and con­tact page includes my list of “typ­i­cal costs” — essen­tially these are the “ball­park esti­mates” that Brian talks about.

When I put together esti­mates I base it on my best-guess informed
esti­mates. I start by tab­u­lat­ing the client’s requested fea­tures and
deter­min­ing how I’ll achieve them. I then esti­mate how long it will
take me to imple­ment each fea­ture and use that to deter­mine a
first-guess for project cost. I then com­pare it to past projects, to
make sure I’m being real­is­tic. I know myself well enough to know I
always want to under­es­ti­mate costs – I usu­ally like the project and want
to make it afford­able to clients! – so I do force myself a real­ity check
that usu­ally ends up adding a few hours to the esti­mate.

When I put together my offi­cial esti­mate I try to guess where
poten­tial bot­tle­necks might hap­pen. Some­times these are tech­ni­cal
issues and some­thing they’re more social. For exam­ple, a client might
be very par­tic­u­lar about the design and the back-and-forth can take
longer than expected. If I think any­thing like this might hap­pen I
men­tion it in the esti­mate. Some­times as we work through the details of
a fea­ture I’ll learn that the client wants some enhance­ment that we
hadn’t talked about pre­vi­ously and which I didn’t fac­tor into the

When I do see a par­tic­u­lar part of the work tak­ing longer than
expected I flag it with the client. I try to keep them informed that
this will add to total costs. In many cases, clients have been happy to
go with the extra work: I sim­ply want to make sure that we both are
aware that the esti­mate is chang­ing before the work hap­pens.

I charge by the hour rather than on a per-project basis since I find
it to be a much more open busi­ness model. Brian Fling’s post agrees:

The prob­lem [with per-project billing is that] one way
or another some­body loses, either the client pays too much, mean­ing
pay­ing more than it’s mar­ket value, or the ven­dor eats into their
profit… One ben­e­fits to hourly billing is the client is respon­si­ble for
increases of scope, pro­tect­ing the ven­dor and the cus­tomer. If the
project is com­pleted early the client pays less, pro­tect­ing the client.
This puts the onus on both par­ties to com­mu­ni­cate reg­u­larly and work
more effec­tively.

I have very lit­tle over­head: a home office, lap­top and DSL.
This means my rates are very com­pet­i­tive (one client described it as
“less than plumbers and elec­tri­cians charge, more than the kid who mows
the lawn”). Being very care­ful with esti­mates mean that I often
com­mu­ni­cate a lot with clients before I “start the clock.” I’ve often
worked with them a few hours before the esti­mate is in and we’re mov­ing
for­ward and of course some of this un-billed work doesn’t result in a

Putting together fab­u­lous web­sites is fun work. It’s very much a
back-and-forth process with clients, and it’s often impos­si­ble to know
just what the site will look like and just how it will work until the
site actu­ally launches. Half of my clien­tele have never had web­sites
before, mak­ing the work even more inter­est­ing! It’s my pro­fes­sional
respon­si­bil­ity to make sure I work with clients to fore­see costs, dream
big, but most of all to be open and hon­est about costs as the process

On job hunting and the blogging future in Metro Philadelphia

I’ve been quiet on the blogs lately, focus­ing on job searches rather than rant­ing. I thought I’d take a lit­tle time off to talk about my lit­tle cor­ner of the career mar­ket. I’ve been apply­ing for a lot of web design and edit­ing jobs but the most inter­est­ing ones have com­bined these together in cre­ative ways. My qual­i­fi­ca­tions for these jobs are more the inde­pen­dent sites I’ve put together — notably Quak​erQuaker​.org—than my paid work for Friends.

For exam­ple: one inter­est­ing job gets reposted every few weeks on Craigslist. It’s geared toward adding next-generation inter­ac­tive con­tent to the web­site of a con­sor­tium of sub­ur­ban news­pa­pers (appli­cants are asked to be “com­fort­able with terms like blog, vlog, CSS, YourHub, MySpace, YouTube…,” etc.). The qual­i­fi­ca­tions and vision are right up my alley but I’m still wait­ing to hear any­thing about the appli­ca­tion I sent by email and snail mail a week ago. Despite this, they’re con­tin­u­ing to post revised descrip­tions to Craigslist. Yesterday’s ver­sion dropped the “con­ver­gence” lingo and also dropped the pro­jected salary by about ten grand.

About two months ago I actu­ally got through to an inter­view for a fab­u­lous job that con­sisted of putting together a blog­ging com­mu­nity site to fea­ture the lesser-known and quirky busi­nesses of Philadel­phia. I had a great inter­view, thought I had a good chance at the job and then heard noth­ing. Days turned to weeks as my follow-up com­mu­ni­ca­tions went unan­swered. 11/30 Update: a friend just guessed the group I was talk­ing about and emailed that the site did launch, just qui­etly. It looks good.

Cor­po­rate blog­ging is said to be the wave of the future and in only a few years polit­i­cal cam­paigns have come to con­sider blog­gers as an essen­tial tool in get­ting their mes­sage out. User-generated con­tent has become essen­tial feed­back and pub­lic­ity mech­a­nisms. My expe­ri­ence from the Quaker world is that blog­gers are con­sti­tut­ing a new kind of lead­er­ship, one that’s both more out­go­ing but also thought­ful and vision­ary (I should post about this some­time soon). Blogs encour­age open­ness and trans­parency and will surely affect orga­ni­za­tional pol­i­tics more and more in the near future. Smart com­pa­nies and non­prof­its that want to grow in size and influ­ence will have to learn to play well with blogs.

But the future is lit­tle suc­cor to the present. In the Philadel­phia met­ro­pol­i­tan area it seems that the rare employer that’s think­ing in these terms have have a lot of back and forths try­ing to work out the job descrip­tion. Well, I only need one enlight­ened employer! It’s time now to put the boys to bed, then check the job boards again. Keep us in your prayers.

Reading John Woolman 3: The Isolated Saint

Read­ing John Wool­man: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 (miss­ing)

It’s said that John Wool­man re-wrote his Jour­nal three times in an effort to excise it of as many “I” ref­er­ences as pos­si­ble. As David Sox writes in Johh Wool­man Quin­tes­sen­tial Quaker, “only on lim­ited occa­sion do we glimpse Wool­man as a son, a father and a hus­band.” Wool­man wouldn’t have been a very good blog­ger. Quot­ing myself from my intro­duc­tion to Quaker blogs:

blogs give us a unique way of shar­ing our lives — how our Quak­erism inter­sects with the day-to-day deci­sions that make up faith­ful liv­ing. Quaker blogs give us a chance to get to know like-minded Friends that are sep­a­rated by geog­ra­phy or arti­fi­cial the­o­log­i­cal bound­aries and they give us a way of talk­ing to and with the insti­tu­tions that make up our faith com­mu­nity.

I’ve read many great Wool­man sto­ries over the years and as I read the Jour­nal I eagerly antic­i­pated read­ing the orig­i­nal account. It’s that same excite­ment I get when walk­ing the streets of an iconic land­scape for the first time: walk­ing through Lon­don, say, know­ing that Big Ben is right around the next cor­ner. But Wool­man kept let­ting me down.

One of the AWOL sto­ries is his arrival in Lon­don. The Journal’s account:

On the 8th of Sixth Month, 1772, we landed at Lon­don, and I went straight­way to the Yearly Meet­ing of min­is­ters and elders, which had been gath­ered, I sup­pose, about half an hour. In this meet­ing my mind was humbly con­trite.

But set the scene. He had just spent five weeks cross­ing the Atlantic in steer­age among the pigs (he doesn’t actu­ally spec­ify his non-human bunk­mates). He famously went out of his way to wear clothes that show dirt because they show dirt. He went straight­away: no record of a bath or change of clothes. Sto­ries abound about his recep­tion, and while are some of dubi­ous origin, there are first hand accounts of his being shunned by the British min­is­ters and elders. The best and most dubi­ous story is the theme of another post.

I trust that Wool­man was hon­estly aim­ing for meek­ness when he omit­ted the most inter­est­ing sto­ries of his life. But with­out the con­text of a lived life he becomes an ahis­tor­i­cal fig­ure, an icon of good­ness divorced from the minu­tiae of the daily grind. Two hun­dred and thirty years of Quaker hagiog­ra­phy and latter-day appeals to Woolman’s author­ity have turned the tai­lor of Mount Holly into the oth­er­worldly Quaker saint but the process started at John’s hands him­self.

Were his strug­gles merely inte­rior? When I look to my own min­istry, I find the call to dis­cern­ment to be the clear­est part of the work. I need to work to be ever more recep­tive to even the most unex­pected prompt­ing from the Inward Christ and I need to con­stantly prac­tice humil­ity, love and for­give­ness. But the prac­ti­cal lim­i­ta­tions are harder. For years respectibil­ity was an issue; rel­a­tive poverty con­tin­ues to be one. It is ask­ing a lot of my wife to leave respon­si­bil­ity for our two small boys for even a long week­end.

How did Wool­man bal­ance fam­ily life and min­istry? What did wife Sarah think? And just what was his role in the sea-change that was the the “Ref­orm­ation of Amer­i­can Quak­erism” (to use Jack Marietta’s phrase) that forever altered Amer­i­can Friends’ rela­tion­ship with the world and set the stage for the schisms of the next cen­tury.

We also lose the con­text of Woolman’s com­pa­tri­ots. Some are named as trav­el­ing com­pan­ions but the col­or­ful char­ac­ters go unmen­tioned. What did he think of the street-theater antics of Ben­jamin Lay, the Abbie Hoff­man of Philadel­phia Quak­ers. The most widely-told tale is of Lay walk­ing into Philadel­phia Yearly Meet­ing ses­sions, open­ing up a cloak to reveal mil­i­tary uni­form under­neath, and declar­ing that slave-made prod­ucts were prod­ucts of war, plunged a sword into a hollowed-out Bible full of pig’s blood, splat­ter­ing Friends sit­ting nearby.

What role did Wool­man play in the larger anti-slavery awak­en­ing hap­pen­ing at the time? It’s hard to tell just read­ing his Jour­nal. How can we find ways to repli­cate his kind of faith­ful­ness and wit­ness today? Again, his Jour­nal doesn’t give much clue.

Read­ing John Wool­man Series

  • Part One: “The Pub­lic Life of a Pri­vate Man”
  • Part Two: “The Last Safe Quaker
  • Part Three: The Iso­lated Saint (this page)
  • Part Four: I Really Do Like Wool­man!

Picked up today in the Philadel­phia Yearly Meet­ing Library:

PYM Librar­ian Rita Var­ley reminded me today they mail books any­where in the US for a mod­est fee and a $50/year sub­scrip­tion. It’s a great deal and a great ser­vice, espe­cially for iso­lated Friends. The PYM cat­a­log is online too!

Strangers to the Covenant

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)

Per­cent­age of time: Wor­ship 20 / Lec­ture 30 / Dis­cus­sion 50


Extended Description

We hope to encour­age Friends to imag­ine them­selves as min­is­ters and elders and to be bold enough to chal­lenge the insti­tu­tions of Quak­erism as needed. We want to build a com­mu­nity, a cohort, of Friends who aren’t afraid to bust us out of our own lim­ited expec­ta­tions and give them space to grow into the aware­ness that their long­ing for deeper spir­i­tual con­nec­tion with shared widely among oth­ers their age. Our task as work­shop con­ven­ers is to model as both bold and hum­ble seek­ers after truth, who can stay real to the spirit with­out tak­ing our­selves either too seri­ously or too lightly.

Mar­tin and Zachary have dis­cov­ered a Quaker tra­di­tion more defined, more coher­ent and far richer than the Quak­erism we were offered in First Day School. In integrity to that dis­cov­ery, we intend to cre­ate a space for fel­low­ship that would fur­ther open these glimpses of what’s out there and what pos­si­bil­i­ties exist to step out boldly in this Light.

Sun­day: Intro­duc­tions
The most impor­tant task for today is mod­el­ing the grounded wor­ship and spirit-led min­istry that will be our true cur­ricu­lum this week. In a wor­ship shar­ing for­mat we will con­sider these ques­tions:

  • What brought me to this work­shop?
  • What did they fail to teach me in First Day School that I still want to know?

Mon­day: What is this Quak­erism?
Today will be about enter­ing this grounded space together as Friends, begin­ning to ask some ques­tions that reveal and open. How do I artic­u­late what Quak­erism is all about? What ideas, lan­guage, and words (e.g. “God”, “Jesus” “Light”) do use to describe this tra­di­tion? Today we start that dia­logue. At the end of ses­sion we will ask par­tic­i­pants to seek out an older Friend and ask them for their answers on these queries and bring back that expe­ri­ence to our next gath­er­ing.

  • Wor­ship. Read­ing of selected texts from jour­nal and Bible
  • Present ques­tion: When some­one asks me “what is Quak­erism?” how do I respond.
  • Mar­tin and Zachary will share some thoughts on this ques­tion from other Friends
  • Jour­nal­ing on Query
  • Dis­cus­sion of ideas and lan­guage.

Tues­day: The Mys­ti­cal Tra­di­tion and Gospel Order
We enter into the lan­guage and fab­ric of our Tra­di­tion at its mys­ti­cal roots. Ask­ing the ques­tions: What does God feel like? Intro­duce early Quaker’s talk about God. What does it feel like to be with God? What is Gospel Order?

  • Wor­ship. Read­ing of selected texts from jour­nals and Bible
  • Follow-up on pre­vi­ous day’s discussion/homework what new came into the Light overnight?
  • Jour­nal­ing on Query: When have I felt the pres­ence of God? Describe it in five senses?
  • Ini­tial dis­cus­sion and shar­ing of thoughts and ideas.
  • Intro­duce some ideas from early Friends and oth­ers on this Query. How have oth­ers (Jesus, Isa­iah, Mer­ton, Fox, Day) spo­ken of this expe­ri­ence?
  • Intro­duce themes of Spir­i­tual Prac­tice: If Quak­erism is about ask­ing the right ques­tions, how do we get into the place to hear those ques­tions and respond faith­fully? We have already been incor­po­rat­ing devo­tional read­ing into our time together each morn­ing but we will intro­duce into the Light of Dis­ci­pline as such here. Nam­ing of other prac­tices, pre­vi­ously acknowl­edged and oth­er­wise, within the group.
  • Intro­duce ‘Spir­i­tual Dis­cern­ment’ themes for the fol­low­ing day’s ses­sion.

Wednes­day: The Roots of Friends’ Dis­cern­ment Tra­di­tion and the Tes­ti­monies
We delve into the archives, the dusty stuff, the stuff First Day School didn’t get to: the preach­ing from the trees, the prison time, the age George Fox was when he was first incar­cer­ated for his beliefs, what the tes­ti­monies are really about and where they came from. Today is about tak­ing the skele­tons out of the closet and clean­ing house.

  • Wor­ship. Read­ing of selected texts from jour­nals and Bible
  • ‘Let’s talk his­tory’: Early Friends, the Mak­ing of The Soci­ety, and the Dis­cern­ment Tra­di­tion. [Mar­tin and Zachary may cover this, or we may arrange to have another Friend come and share some thoughts and infuse a new voice into our dia­logue]
  • There are lots of tes­ti­monies: what are ours? Name some. How to they facil­i­tate our rela­tion­ship with God?
  • What’s up with “Obe­di­ence”, “Plain­ness”, and “Dis­ci­pline”? How do we prac­tice them?

Thurs­day: Friends in a Covenanted Rela­tion­ship
We grow into our roles as lead­ers in this com­mu­nity by con­sid­er­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ties and the hur­dles in deep­en­ing our covenant rela­tion­ship. We begin with con­sid­er­ing spir­i­tual gifts, and then con­sider ques­tions around min­istry, its origin and its dis­cern­ment. We will take up the task of con­sid­er­ing what our work, what piece of this respon­si­bil­ity is ours to carry.

  • Wor­ship. Read­ing of selected texts from jour­nals and Bible
  • Jour­nal­ing on the Queries: What is alive inside of me? How are my spir­i­tual gifts named and nur­tured?
  • What are the tasks of min­istry?
  • What are the tasks of elder­ing?
  • What are the struc­tures and prac­tices in our monthly, quar­terly and yearly meet­ings that we can use to test out and sup­port lead­ings? How do these struc­tures work and not work. Clear­ness com­mit­tees? Trav­el­ing Friends? Spir­i­tual nurture/affinity groups?
  • What is hold­ing us back from liv­ing this deep­ened rela­tion­ship? What is our respon­si­bil­ity to this covenant and this covenant com­mu­nity?

Fri­day: The Future of Quak­erism
We begin the work that will occupy the rest of our lives. The par­tic­i­pants of this work­shop will be around for the next fifty or more years, so let’s start talk­ing about sys­tem­atic, long-term change. We have some­thing to con­tribute to this con­sid­er­a­tion right now.

  • Wor­ship. Read­ing of selected texts from jour­nals and Bible
  • Where do we go from here? Mar­tin will present on emer­gent church. Zachary will present some thoughts on ‘Beloved Com­mu­nity’.
    Many have talked about deep com­mu­nion with God and about covenant com­mu­nity. Many have spo­ken our hearts and given voice to the pas­sion we expe­ri­ence; now it’s on us what are we going to do about it? Where is it hap­pen­ing?
  • Dis­cus­sion (maybe as a fish­bowl) Where do we envi­sion Quak­erism 50 years from now? 100 years from now?

External Website: Quaker Ranter, Martin’s site.