C. Wess Daniels is at Guilford College serving as the Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies. He is a Quaker theologian, author, speaker and minister.
...is the William R. Rogers 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.
This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to Great Plains Yearly Meeting, gathered in Wichita, KS to speak about the book of Revelation. The yearly meeting itself was a lovely and joyous gathering, they welcomed new meetings into their group, celebrate past members, and besides getting business done, they had a lot of laughter and celebration. It was quite the joy to worship with GPYM this year.
Below are some links for follow up resources for the people who attended this year’s gathering.
I know that many of you who read this blog have interest in learning more about the bible from a liberatory / inclusive / radical framework. I cannot recommend the work of Soulforce enough in this vain. Their work is to challenge “Sabotage Christian Supremacy” and they do this as Christians and other folks who are drawn to spiritual work but may not identify as Christians. I have known about the work of Soulforce for some time and am inspired by what they do.
That is why I am sharing this with you:
Starting in July they are hosting an online “Vacation Bible School” specifically for LGBTQI and questioning students ages 18-24.
Our theme this summer is The Wild and Magical World of God’s Good Creation!
In order to prioritize youth-only space, we are hosting two sessions, one for youth* ages 18-24, and one for folks 25+
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays in July-
July 6 to July 27th (7 sessions):
Youth*: 1pm EST / 10am PST (90-min)
Folks 25+: 7PM EST / 4PM PST (60-min)
*This curriculum is specifically tailored for LGBTQI students attending Christian colleges, but all LGBTQI and questioning youth ages 18-24 are welcome in this space.
Join us as we create spiritual community together that is based on the Biblical principles of life, abundance, and liberation.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Krista Tippett’s OnBeing episode on “This Is Your Brain on Sex.” I think there are some really helpful insights in this podcast despite its complete, and surprising, lack of any mention of relationship that isn’t heterosexual. There is stuff in here worth translating for a more diverse audience.
Then the goat was beaten with reeds and thorns and driven out into the desert. And the people went home rejoicing, just as European Christians did after burning a supposed heretic at the stake, or white Americans did after the lynching of black men. Whenever the “sinner” is excluded, our ego is delighted and feels relieved and safe. It sort of works, but only for a while. Usually the illusion only deepens and becomes catatonic, blind, and repetitive—because of course, scapegoating did not really work to eliminate the evil in the first place.
This is the third of a three-part series on whether or not Quakers can be “Publishers of Truth” today. In this series I want to talk about how I think early Quakers understood what it meant to be “publishers of truth” in earlier years (Part 1), just a couple challenges we face when it comes to a conversation about “truth” as Friends in 2017 (Part 2), and what it might look like for us to have a new the nursery of truth and be “Publishers of the pert near true” today (Part 3).*
For a quick recap, in the previous post, I suggested that those who consider themselves politically/theologically progressive can get caught in a cycle of thinking of truth as facts stripped of any emotion, narrative, or even joy. If this is anywhere near an accurate assessment then the next step is to invite you, my dear readers, to consider becoming people who utilize ethical and creative storytelling, humor and other similar methods, such as what Stephen Duncombe calls “Ethical Spectacles,” to subvert dominant narratives and to serve social justice. Telling the truth slant and or being purveyors of the “pert near true” (something that is so true that it doesn’t really matter whether it happened or not) is something that can and should be used in service for the good, just as Jesus himself exemplified.
In this final post, I want to suggest a few, very limited, ideas about what we might do to create a new kind of nursery of truth for today, where we could learn these practices together in community.
A New Nursery of Truth
How do we take all of this into account and really begin to re-envision a nursery of truth for today?
Are there ways in which we can respond to polarizations, speak into pluralistic spaces and be far more creative in our approach to truth?
If we are to be publishers of truth today (or the “pert near true” if you like), we need a nursery of truth that takes into account the many challenges we, and the people in our communities face in these times of racial injustice, religious bigotry, class struggle, and attacks on LGBTQ+ people. One that understands that any claims to truth must really be able to account for and be in solidarity with those most vulnerable.
This is the second of a three-part post on whether or not Quakers can be “Publishers of Truth” today. In this series I want to talk about how I think early Quakers understood what it meant to be “publishers of truth” in earlier years (Part 1), just a couple challenges we face when it comes to a conversation about “truth” as Friends in 2017 (Part 2), and what it might look like for us to have a new the nursery of truth and be “Publishers of the pert near true” today (Part 3).*
Truthiness In All Its Beauty
In this second part, let’s look at what some of the challenges are to having a new emergence of publishers of truth today. I see at the very least three:
The Role of Fantasy
Let’s take each in turn.
First, when we look at contemporary culture we have a serious truth problem. As I was preparing for this presentation, I was thinking back through some of the ways in which truth has been used, hijacked, and manipulated recently.
The most current examples are around fake news and alternative facts. Algorithms within social media make it easy for folks to be stuck within cloisters and once we’re mostly surrounded by people who look, think and feel like us, it is very easy to control a narrative with memes and other newsy-looking blog posts and articles that are really fake news.
Fake news is bad enough, but when you reinforce it with a sense of community, where everyone you know is consuming the same kind of messages you get the potential for quickly spreading falsehoods and dangerous behavior. Continue reading The Challenge of “Truth” – Part 2
This is the first of a three-part post on whether or not Quakers can be “Publishers of Truth” today. In this series I want to talk about how I think early Quakers understood what it meant to be “publishers of truth” in earlier years (Part 1), just a couple challenges we face when it comes to a conversation about “truth” as Friends in 2017 (Part 2), and what it might look like for us to have a new the nursery of truth and be “Publishers of the pert near true” today (Part 3).*
The following two parts will be posted in the coming week. Therefore, the links are currently “dead.”
Some of you are already familiar with the idea behind the historical “Nursery of Truth” (and here is a link to a more contemporary version). The idea comes from early Quaker history. As Friends were traveling from Britain to the colonies they often stopped off in Barbados where there was a large amount of Quakers at the time. According to Elbert Russell, it was shortly after 1656 that Barbados became a “major distributing point for most Friends.” As early as 1657 Friends there received a letter from George Fox about his concern for the enslavement of people by those living there.
It became a kind of gateway into the colonies for many traveling Quaker ministers. As missionaries, early friends knew the importances of training and preparation in the truth before heading to America to spread Good News and establish more Quaker meetings. By 1661 George Rofe calls it “the nursery of Truth” (Russell 1979: 39). The nursery of truth was a spiritual nursery where Quaker missionaries and ministers went to grow, be nurtured and pruned. Continue reading The Original Nursery of Truth – Part 1