This site is built using Ning, an out-of-the-box social network, but I want to use it consciously to address some of the needs of the QuakerQuaker community. The homepage will remain the hand-picked blog articles selected by the QuakerQuaker editorial team but other sections will be added. I most want to help us find ways to connect with one another in the real world and bridge some of the isolation I'm seeing.
I get two very specific types of emails every week or so: one from religious seekers who read about Friends and get all excited then confused when it turns out the nearest meeting or church doesn't fit the expectation. The other comes from Friends who are getting discouraged by the struggles of trying to live a life of faith in their fractured local Friends community, who are wanting more and thinking about leaving Friends. Quaker blogger AJ Schwanz called this dream High Bar communities
I keep thinking that I want to be part of a High Bar group, that I can’t do this on my own, that I can’t live a High Bar life until I have a group who is committed to live the same way. I ache to be part of a High Bar group: to do something radical, even as radical as seeking to have a Christ-like attitude while driving my son back and forth to school (something that really does drive me crazy). Just for one year I’d like to live out some Grand Experiment with a group: to lay aside things I cling to in my life and relentlessly listen to and respond to God. I’m not sure what it would look like, but I ache to lean into it.
I think QuakerQuaker readers have the critical mass to start dreaming and organizing High Bar communities and I hope that switching to a more robust social networking system can help in that process. Some Friends might gather enough local Friends and seekers together to start supplemental worship groups. Others may be led to start up quarterly "Convergent Friends
" get-together in their region. A lot of stuff is already happening--there's networks like the Christian Friends Conference in the Bay Area USA and there are lots of alt-Quaker workshops happening in mainstream Quaker venues (Bill Samuel keeps a good list of local renewal resources
). We should definitely use this site to publicize these great initiatives.
All this this work has a goal of course: to bring a sense of renewal and hope to Friends by expanding what QuakerQuaker Robin Mohr has dubbed the Convergent Friends movement
: a exploration into CONservative Friends and the emERGENT Church. George Fox reminded us that Christ has come to teach the people himself. Friends built on that to articulate and live out a radically primitive Christianity. Some of us think that good news is still relevant.