The Maze Dull Truth (Mark 1:21-28)

Expectations and Maze Dull Rats

Robert Rosenthal was a psychologist who is famous for his experiment with rats in a maze. The experiment looked at “expectancy effects” and how our expectations have a direct effect on the outcome of what we are doing (link).

In 1963, Rosenthal took two groups of students to test how well they could get their rats through a maze. The students were to help guide their rats through the maze as fast as they could.

To one set of students he gave them, what he called, “Maze Dull” rats and to the other group he bestowed to wonderful “Maze Bright” rats.

Of course, in reality there were not differences at all between the rats, but the students didn’t know this.

Can you guess what happened? Continue reading The Maze Dull Truth (Mark 1:21-28)

Writing the Ending Is Always Hard

One of the things I struggle with the most are endings. Whether it is writing endings, envisioning the ending of a project, or saying goodbye. I struggle with exit strategies. I have no problem getting started. I love a good opening story. A hearty laugh or a compelling metaphor. I set goals like a maniac. But when it comes to putting the period on the last sentence, now that’s a challenge.

When I think about it, I don’t even struggle all that much with the middle. I like the middle because it’s where the synthesis happens. I love putting this one thing and that one thing together, comparing them, seeing how a dialogue between the two creates something new. The middle is where we get our weave on. But when it comes to wrapping it up and putting a nice bow on it, that’s where I falter.

I’ve never been good at cutting things short. I have no problem writing. It’s the editing things down into word limits that is my kryptonite.
Continue reading Writing the Ending Is Always Hard

Convergent Friends: A Handbook Part 2 – Starting Your Own Convergent Friends Worship Group

Three years ago we started a monthly convergent Friends worship gathering in the Camas/Portland Metro area. The goal of the meeting was to bring those Friends who desire to worship together, build relationships and create an open and flexible worship liturgy that can be adapted according to those who host it. Each month we rotate to a different hosting meeting. We currently have 6 meetings that host convergent Friends worship and we try to space our visits evenly. This has been a very life-giving and Spirit-filled group for many of us. My hope with this post is to help others who are discerning whether, and how, to go about starting a similar group.

These are just ideas and guidelines, not meant to be taken as a cookie-cutter. Tailor your group according to your needs, gifts and context. Feel free to borrow, remix, or flat out steal anything here for your own use. The goal is to build up the beloved community and help bring renewal among Friends.

If you are interested in knowing more about about who and what convergent Friends are you can visit part one of this series.

Here are some things to consider if you would like to start a convergent Friends worship group in your area: Continue reading Convergent Friends: A Handbook Part 2 – Starting Your Own Convergent Friends Worship Group

Convergent Friends: A Handbook – An Introduction to Convergence (Pt. 1)

In this online handbook you will find a variety of articles written by convergent Friends. This is by no means an exhaustive collection of writings but rather it is meant to function as an introduction to the concept of convergent Friends and part two of the handbook is meant to help people think about what it might mean to start a convergent Friends worship gathering. 

Begin with reading the definitions and short history below and then if you want to go deeper you’ll find a list of resources at the end of this post.

A good place to start is with Robin Mohr’s definition of convergent Friends  and then if you can find a copy, the definition from the Historical Dictionary of Friends.

Continue reading Convergent Friends: A Handbook – An Introduction to Convergence (Pt. 1)

The Plush Silence of Heaven (Psalm 82)

This is the message I gave this past Sunday based on Psalm 82.

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk around in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!

(Psalms 82:1–8 NRSV)

When God Woke Up This Morning

(a fictional retelling of a day in the life of God)

It’s morning already? God rolls over and hits the alarm. Another few minutes to snooze when you are the Almighty is certainly justifiable. But finally, God cannot ignore the day’s work and so with a woolen bathrobe from Pendleton – not that God’s all about brands but this is fantastic – and a favorite pair of fuzzy slippers hand-knitted by the Holy Spirit, God strolls downstairs to fix coffee and to take in the morning news.

Events this morning are as bleak as ever. Continue reading The Plush Silence of Heaven (Psalm 82)

Endorsements for my Upcoming Book

14967213197_aee60c7b2f_oHere are some endorsements from fine folks in the academic and Quaker world who have had an opportunity to read my book, A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture (2015). This is what they are saying about it:

Dr. Ryan K. Bolger, PHD. Associate Professor of Church in Contemporary Culture School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

No model of church renewal has taken the most recent changes in Western culture seriously — until now. C. Wess Daniels, in A Convergent Model of Renewal, offers a fresh and creative approach to church transformation that respects both tradition and contemporary culture while charting a clear path forward. Through this highly original proposal, Daniels articulates a brilliant synthesis of old and new by way of remix, resistance, and deep, open participation. Applicable beyond the Quaker tradition, A Convergent Model of Renewal would benefit any faith community that looks to remain rooted in their tradition while dynamically responding to the global media culture of the Twenty-first century. Highly recommended.

Continue reading Endorsements for my Upcoming Book