More Detailed Information for Quaker Heritage Day

February 12-13 I will be in Berkeley (at Berkeley Friends Church) discussing some of my favorite topics with anyone who wants to join us. The series of talks is currently being called “Heralding The New Creation: Mission as Participation in the Quaker Tradition” and in it investigate the renewal of tradition through a Quaker theology and practice of mission (See Here for more info on that). Below are the main three sessions for Saturday and the title for Sunday morning’s message which ties into the Saturday stuff. I also included my bio, mostly because I think it’s funny! 😉

Here’s an opening quote which is guiding the discussion:

The old parlor stereopticon set two pictures before the viewer, who would then see the depth dimension in otherwise flat photographs. Authentic Christian faith is prophetic faith; it sees the present in correct perspective only when it construes the present by means of the prefiguring past (God’s past) while at the same time construing it by means of the prophetic future (God’s future). “This is that” declares the present relevance of what God has previously done, while “then is now” does not abolish the future but declares the present relevance of what God will assuredly do. Moreover, these two, typical past and prophetic future, are not alternative visions between which to choose; they are and must remain one vision, one faith, and hope. (McClendon Doctrine: 69)

Session one: A Culture of “Posts” and Some Signposts Ahead

In this session we will discuss recent cultural change. The moves from modernism to postmodernism, from the secular to the postsecular and how this has effect the church and its traditions will be overviewed. In this we will (hopefully) gain tools as Quakers for understanding what has happened, what has been lost, and might be gained from all of this.

We will also discuss one potential path forward. This move is based on the missiology of a Quaker missionary named Everett Cattell. I will argue that missiology is a key discipline in understanding the church’s mission in any given culture. Besides showing how some of Cattell’s own missiology was decidedly Quaker, I will try and outline some ways in which his own mission gives us clues (or tools) for forward movement for the church (which begins first by looking back).

In this discussion, we will have to address some of the deeper concerns around the very word “mission” and how the very word elicits certain responses in certain groups. My working assumption is that true Gospel Order is never colonizing, always justice oriented and always filled with grace. Any discussion around mission begins from a framework where the messenger might be better called the herald rather than a “missionary.”

There will be time plan for discussion after and during each session.

Session two: Participation in the Quaker Tradition

This is the heart of the Quaker Heritage Day talks. In this presentation I will discuss how early Quakers not only understood mission, but how they formed a fully “missional” organism based on their convictions that we are to be co-workers with God in the new creation.

Thus, we will begin by looking at a statement by George Fox and unpacking it as a statement about a peculiarly Quaker understanding of what it means to “herald” the good news. Next we will turn to specifics of not so much what that message is, but how that message was embodied and in the process the content of the message will become more clear.

In outlining how the early Friends understood and embodied God’s mission I will first describe what is today known as Fandom, or participatory culture. Fandom has emerged as a key subculture within our postmodern/postsecular age as communities that foster participation that often resists the popular culture’s consumerism, hierarchy and passivity. Following the characteristics of this participatory culture, I name 6 characteristic ways in which early Friends saw themselves as participants in God’s mission. These six features are: authenticity, remix, cultural producers, collective intelligence, decentralized authority and alternative social community.

Session three: Enacting the New Creation Today

Finally, we will turn our focus to heralding the “new creation” today, which is the basis for revitalizing the Quaker movement. This focus on today will turn our attention to some of the features of convergent Friends and how they have fostered organic renewal. Lastly, we will also look at local meetings and the ways in which they foster participation and revitalization as examples not only of living out the new creation all the while being themselves new creations within the Quaker tradition.

Sunday Morning: A Friendly Betrayal: The Quaker (R)evolution.

Summary of the talks: There has been for many years now discussions around what the core of our Quaker identity is and how this pertains to who we are and who we are to become. Discussions of identity are normal in times of disorientation. But interestingly, little has been mentioned in this conversation about the role that “mission” and our own role in God’s mission plays into this question. In order to understand our identity, knowing what we’ve been called to and where we are called to go are two essential ingredients. In this series of discussions for Quaker Heritage Day we will look at how a uniquely Quaker understanding of mission may be just the thing that will help us in these disorienting times. Rather than focusing strictly on the theology of mission of early Friends, we will look at their practice of mission. This practice is rooted in an understanding that Friends were (and are) co-laborers and participants in God’s new creation. The emphasis will be on creativity, revitalization and building more participatory Quaker communities.

Bio: C. Wess Daniels is the released minister of Camas Friends Church, a father of two (really cool) little girls, a husband and a doctoral student at Fuller Theological Seminary. Among his many interests are nourishing Christ-centered faith, encouraging cross-branch friendships in the Religious Society of Friends and trying to start what he calls, the “Quaker Revolution.” But since things happen closer to the pace of evolution among Friends than they do the speed of revolution, he spends the rest of his days enjoying the tasty locally roasted coffee, reading books that make him look smarter than he really is, playing imaginative games with his daughters, and learning how to watch for unexpected moments of grace.

If you’re bored visit him at: gatheringinlight.com

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Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.