Edward Abbey on Living

My friend Greg Woods reminded me of this quote today, which is really quite amazing:

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” -Edward Abbey

Convergent Model of Renewal: Discussion Guide and Sketchnotes (Intro & Chp. 1)

Daniels_AConvergentModelofRenewal_01193_copyWe have started a discussion group at Camas Friends Church to discuss my book, A Convergent Model of Renewal. I will post the sketchnotes and  discussion questions here each week for anyone who would like to download them and use them. Feel free to share and dispense however that makes sense as usual things are shared here under the creative commons 4.0 “share and share alike” designation.

Resource Guide

Download: Sketchnotes: Introduction and Chapter 1 Sketchnotes

Download: Discussion Guide – Introduction and Chapter 1

Avoiding the Default Position (John 21:1-14)

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

(John 21:7–8 NRSV)

Learning Motorcycle Safety

As some of you know, I purchased a Honda Shadow a few weeks back from my good friend, Alivia Biko. I had to have Cole Bridges drive down with me and ride it back because I didn’t want my very first time of riding a motorcycle to be an hour-long ride of the 5.

The deal that I had to make with Alivia, Peggy and Emily was that I would wait to get serious about riding until I took the motorcycle safety course.

A photo posted by C. Wess Daniels (@cwessd) on

Well, that course was this past Thursday and Friday. So look out!

Even though I’ve had my endorsement and been riding a scooter for 4 years, I am amazed at how much I learned from the course.

For instance, I learned that in a swerve you never brake because you could lock up your tires. Continue reading Avoiding the Default Position (John 21:1-14)

The Gift of Thomas (John 20)

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

(John 20:24–25 NRSV)

Thomas as the Grieving One

Traditionally, Thomas has been known as “doubting” Thomas throughout the centuries because of this passage. A doubter here is like a skeptic, a questioner, someone who is non-compliant. Jesus’ words at the end of this passage are taken as chastisement:

“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29 NRSV)

And maybe that’s how it was meant. But I want to attempt a different reading of this text, one that makes Thomas more relatable to our own experiences. Continue reading The Gift of Thomas (John 20)

Exploring a Rhythm of Life, Creativity, and Leadership from the Quaker Tradition with Rhett Smith

Rhett Smith Podcast 6: Exploring a Rhythm of Life, Creativity, and Leadership from the Quaker Tradition — with Theologian, Professor and Writer, Wess Daniels.

Rhett and I became friends at Fuller Seminary when I was working on my Masters in Theology and he was working on his Masters in Family Therapy. He and I have remained connected even though he now lives in TX. I’ve always appreciated his insights and he has helped me countless times on pastoral care issues and other questions I’ve had around leadership. So you can imagine my delight to have him invite me to be interviewed for his podcast.

In this podcast we discuss a lot of different things such as:

  • leadership in the Quaker tradition (flattened leadership)
  • what participatory culture looks like
  • developing weekly rhythms of self-care
  • harnessing creativity in our work (i.e. sketchnotes)

Rhett Smith Podcast 6: Exploring a Rhythm of Life, Creativity, and Leadership from the Quaker Tradition

Transgressing the Boundaries of the “Kingdom”

Here is the message I delivered at First Friends in Greensboro, N.C. on Palm Sunday.

Reading from John 12:12–16:

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.” 


This morning I want us to look at Palm Sunday as an example of what it means for people of faith, starting with Jesus, to cross over certain thresholds in our world.

Now we all know what a threshold is. It is a boundary that delineates one space from another. When you walked through the doors to this meeting room, that was a threshold you crossed over. Thresholds are barriers, sometimes visible and sometimes invisible. Jerome Berryman says that “A threshold sets apart but it also provides the way into a different space.” Continue reading Transgressing the Boundaries of the “Kingdom”