Robin and Martin talk about the workshop dynamics

Robin and Martin talk about the "Reclaiming Primitive Quakerism for the 21st Century workshop" just as it's wrapped up.


I'm coming from [this weekend] at two places at the same time. One is feeling encouraged because people were really excited. People are talking about what they learned and what they are going to take home, and how they feel encouraged to go home and talk about the work they're interested in doing, their spiritual journeys and sharing that.

At the same time I'm feeling that we could have been here a lot longer and done a lot more. The problem is that we could have done any one of the exercises for longer or we could have done a lot more things. I'm a little discombobulated over that.


I felt almost stripped down at times. Like: what are we doing, how are we doing this? There was almost a moment of disclarity almost for awhile for me... which is not good if you're co-leading a workshop. It seemed to pull together this morning at worship. It was an extended worship and a lot of themes pulled together there.


I think it was interesting that we had planned interactive things in the morning yesterday, more of a presenting information in the afternoon, more discussion in the evening. This morning we just planned to have extended worship. At one point I had wondered if that's enough for a workshop, are people expecting us to do more? But in fact, two hours wasn't long enough. At the two hour mark people were just winding up.

I always experience that in extended worship which we do regularly at San Francisco meeting and it's been really rich there as well. This morning the Holy Spirit was leading the workshop and we didn't feel we had to do the teaching. People were listening to their inner guide, hearing their inner Christ.


Last night we had that interesting experience where we were doing all the workshops and going through our agenda. And then a moment came and a few things happened and I felt the Presence. We finally hit that worship spot. But it was dinner time. And we struggled with how to get back to that to that Spirit after dinner.

But I think it worked. [The spiritual opening] gave us some queries which fed through the rest of the time.


It really impacted what we did in the evening. We started with the questions people had at the end of the afternoon and gave people some time to talk more about them in the evening. That continued to deepen and enrich the workshop


You also want to go away a little hungry. You want them to wonder what they're going to do with all of this. This is just a workshop, so take it back home and see what you're doing.


The journaling exercise in the middle of the moring yesterday only had a short time, but the point was to give people a few moments to make some notes to themselves and record where they are at this point in their spiritual journey. The idea is that you have the rest of your life to continue writing about your testimony about what it means to live a plain life in the 21st Century. We don't have to do that all today.

People living in northern California and my quarterly meeting here were just asking me "when and how are we going to do this again." We're going to be able to continue this conversation--not just in some special workshop retreat in the woods but in our ongoing lives as Friends in the same quarter.


I've been trying to struggle with what I do at home. I have to do some stuff too. There's things for me to bring home too.


One of the gifts of technology is that we can continue this conversation. We don't have to all be traveling across the country to continue the conversations. We can continue to have it in our local spaces as well as over the internet.


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Comment by Liz Opp on 2nd mo. 26, 2009 at 10:01pm
David Carl, in case Robin doesn't see this... She's written about the initial experiment on her blog, here.

Robin, maybe you can give us an update about how it's going, since it's been more than a year since the blogpost...?

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up
Comment by David Carl on 2nd mo. 26, 2009 at 7:10pm
Hi Robin,

Could you say a little more about the extended worship that you do in SF? How frequently, for how long, what day of the week, etc. Thanks!

Comment by Liz Opp on 2nd mo. 24, 2009 at 4:06pm
The videos all have been great, especially since I wasn't there. I appreciated the reminder that at some point, we stop being "workshop leaders" and we are yielding to the Holy Spirit and its leadership. And while it's true that at some point we have to "go home" and take what we've learned back into our own lives and communities, it's also true that we need to have fellowship with one another from time to time, to gain nurture, inspiration, and--as Chad said--courage so we can remain faithful, obedient, and loving.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up
Comment by C. Wess Daniels on 2nd mo. 24, 2009 at 1:16pm
Good work on this and resonate with both your feelings as well. Sorry we had to leave Martin before we could say goodbye!
Comment by pameladraper on 2nd mo. 24, 2009 at 12:54pm
This is awesome - I love that you created a video! :)

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