Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
My fondest wish – that Northwest Yearly Meeting would remain united – did not come true. It was tempting to grieve that rupture indefinitely … and, to be honest, the grief is not going away soon. However, it is a wonderful comfort to realize that nothing so far is blocking my existing friendships and actual collaborations with Friends in Northwest Yearly Meeting, and I plan to hold on to every relationship I possibly can.
My Quaker elevator speech is short, friendly, informative and inviting. I’ve given it hundreds of times. Depending on what the person I’m talking with is interested in, it can include any of the following points…
Forgotten for his leading role as a part of the post-revolutionary Atlantic-wide abolitionist network, Mifflin has also been overlooked as the pioneer of reparations for enslaved Africans—the radical idea, with roots in Old Testament scripture, that those carried across the Atlantic in chains and consigned to lifelong, uncompensated labor had not only the right to their freedom as fellow humans but some form of restitution from the unchristian pillaging of their bodies and minds.
Our usual picture of ‘putting beliefs into action’ does not serve us very well for making sense of Quaker practice. This is one reason why Friends struggle with the question ‘what do Quakers believe?
Quakers have a rich, fascinating and prophetic past – but on the whole we are not very actively involved with our future. We are the heirs and custodians of an enormous heritage of Quaker literature, buildings, spiritual struggle and historic witness, but we are investing less and less in the needs and interests of the next generation or even in the generation around us.
If left unaddressed, our youth are left ill-prepared and vulnerable to a system where war is left out of the public view, and Selective Service sweeps them up unaware. Our meetings have a responsibility to bear witness to conscientious objection and nurture the conscience that lies deep within our young people.
The backlash is devastating, the backlash is painful, particularly for folks of color who in our faith tradition see a white backlash to their dignity and to their lives. But nonetheless the backlash is going to be a part of the process and so how do we actually use the backlash to galvanize progressive sources even more? How do we unite our people even more to live our values in the time and not let the back lash undermine our efforts?
Coming to grips with some very basic practices, such as ordering well-made and styled clothing that is both simple and expressive, has been an unexpectedly liberating exercise, one that helps me overcome feelings of victimization and deprivation in America’s highly materialistic society. When these things become personal idols, then we need to worry.
You can tell how well your outreach is doing by seeing how attendance changes over time. You can tell how current events impact attendance. That’s both internal and external. Current events sometimes drives people to faith. Internal conflicts sometimes drive them away. My meeting’s assistant clerk said she wished she knew if the “this current conflict is making people stay away” talk my meeting had going on earlier this year was accurate. Well, I personally did head counts, so I could tell her the trends. None of that’s written anywhere, though.
Looking outdated can be a problem [for a website], because websites are for newcomers. When a seeker finds a website that looks like it hasn’t been updated in five years, they wonder “is this group still around?” In fact, a pair of first time guests at my meeting a few weeks ago explicitly told me they’d ruled out the first meeting in their Google results because the website looked so outdated.
"What if the Gulen schools start teaching the Bucky stuff, which US schools pointedly turned their backs on? Yes, I'm talking about tet : cube : oct : RD : CO :: 1 : 3 : 4 : 6 : 20. That's what I call "art school" CAD. So maybe it'll be some Art…Continue
Sincere prayer for continuing good health. Often taken for granted it now is a concern I pray for the most.Just good health. Prayers asked for Mr. Bill Callahan who passed yesterday(11/14/2017). We attended a Quaker school in Philadelphia (Wm. Penn…Continue
Friends may be shy about sharing their whaler past, given superseding environmental concerns. Whaling took a lot of skills, not the least of which was navigating the high seas.I'm always looking at New England Transcendentalism vis-a-vis Quakers so…Continue
Quakers understand that humans seek to organize their affairs according to rules we might agree to, with the Quaker Meeting for Business serving as a model of the Good Order of Friends.How we self organize is a manifestation of our faith and loyalty…Continue
Can you believe it: the QuakerQuaker.org domain name was registered twelve years ago next month. Who would have thought that an all-volunteer side project with the quirky tagline would be continuing along? Thank you all for all the support and use over the years. Primitive Christianity Revived, Again, and Still Going?
It’s been awhile since the last update about the QuakerQuaker website. I’ve come to the conclusion that moving the main QuakerQuaker.org site over to a new social network service (WordPress) is not a good option. There’s two developments that made this an easy choice:
1) The current Ning service decided not to increase its monthly charge as it had announced. That means the various costs come out to about $50/month, which remains possible due to the generous ongoing donations I receive.
2) No one really started using the new site. It’s always dicey to move a social networking site. It’s not something to do if you can find another option, as many of the more occasional users won’t go through the hassles. So for now, staying with Ning is the best option.
The concept of QuakerQuaker was bubbling about in early 2005 but it was December when the name was finally registered. Some current numbers in honor of our almost-twelve year anniversary.
Any donations Friends could make to the Paypal account would be very helpful for the move. You can start by going to http://bit.ly/quakergive. Other options are available on the…Continue
Everything's not quite ready, but it's time to move QuakerQuaker over to the new server. It will be powered by BuddyPress, a variation on WordPress blogging platform. It's still very much an experiment in progress, but that's fitting in with the history of QuakerQuaker. I've announced some of the changes on a blog post there:
When the switch happens that site will become QuakerQuaker.org and this will be temporarily Ning.com/quakerquaker until I close it down. Please send all feedback as comments on the new site. I'll be traveling on a family vacation soon and not as available on email. Having everything at one spot will help!
Also, as I say there, the Paypal account is currently about $30 short (and the vacation means I can't front any myself this month). You can use the PaypalMe account to help out. Thanks in advance.
—Martin for QuakerQuaker.
The biggest changes in half a decade are coming to QuakerQuaker. The Ning.com service that powers the main website is about to increase its monthly charge by 140 percent. When I first picked Ning to host the three-year-old QuakerQuaker project in 2008, it seemed like a smart move. Ning had recently been founded by tech world rock stars with access to stratospheric-level funds. But it never quite got traction and started dialing back its ambitions in 2010. It was sold and sold again and a long-announced new version never materialized. I've been warning people against starting new projects on it for years. Its limitations have become clearer with every passing year. But it's continued to work and a healthy community has kept the content on QuakerQuaker interesting. But I don't get enough donations to cover a 140 percent increase, and even if I did it's not worth it for a service stuck in 2010. It's time to evolve!
There are many interesting things I could build with a modern web platform. Initial research and some feedback from fellow Quaker techies has me interested in BuddyPress, an expanded and social version of the ubiquitous WordPress blogging system. It has plugins available that claim to move content from existing Ning sites to BuddyPress, leaving the tantalizing possibility that eight years of the online Quaker conversation can be maintained (wow!).
I will need funds for the move. The subscriptions to do the import/export will incur costs and there will be plugins and themes to buy. I'm mentally budgeting an open-ended number of late Saturday nights. And the personal computer we have is getting old. The charge doesn't hold and keys are starting to go. It will need replacement sooner rather than later.
Any donations Friends could make to the Paypal account would be very helpful for the move. You can start by going to…Continue
Every once in awhile I’ll be out and about in Quakerland, when someone will turn to me and ask "So how's QuakerQuaker doing?" I always surprise myself a bit by saying “It’s doing great!”
Really: ten years ago who would have guessed that this would still be the home of such an active online community? Today there are over 3200 registered members. The site gets over 4000 visitors to the site every month. 2400 people have subscribed to the Facebook page and 2600 follow on Twitter, where new discussions and the best-of-the-web Editors Picks still go out daily.
Over time I’ve become the sole editorial curator as the other members of the team have drifted away (many members of the old editorial team have stepped up to serious Quaker responsibilities). I manage to follow many of the blogs and Quaker writers have gotten used to pinging me if I miss something exceptional. The community using the site itself has been great and I'm often impressed at the depth of discussion.
Apart from picking blog posts to feature, my main role has continued to be to pay the bills. Most of the site is funded through the regular trickle of $5 and $10 monthly donations that generous members give, but sometimes I have to make up the difference from my own pockets. Summertime is slim for me with kid swim lessons and my wife's teaching job on semi-hiatus.
The QuakerQuaker account is scraping by right now and there’s are some bills coming due. If you’re in the position to give, please consider a generous donation to refill the coffers for the summer.
Thanks for being on this journey with QuakerQuaker these ten years. I’m delightfully surprised to see the work adapting and continuing and honored to have a community of readers and members that keep it going!
You can make a one-time donation via Paypal …Continue