Yoda on Renewing the Tradition

I was re-watching The Last Jedi with the family yesterday and the scene with Yoda and Luke at the Sacred Tree with all the old texts hit me like a ton of bricks. Yoda is totally convergent, wanting to see the tradition renewed and remixed, while Luke is seen here clinging to “traditionalism.” This reveals an interesting twist, that often it is the one student who believes they are the ones with the responsibility of protecting tradition who turn out to be guilty of leading it towards a slow death. Luke is rebuked here by Yoda as essentially policing/protecting the tradition in a way that will kill it off. Yoda points out that the tradition can actually live without any of the “trimmings and trappings” that Luke has associated with it. I think this scene sums up the key ideas of a convergent model of renewal beautifully.

New eBook “Remixing Faith” Now Available

My new eBook “Remixing Faith: Seeds of Renewal” is now available for (free) download as an eBook or a .PDF.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to refine and summarize some of my thinking as it pertains to the concept of convergent Friends, remix, and renewing faith traditions and share it with Friends in a public talk. In that talk, I worked to distill down some of the ideas I think are most important.

I have put this talk together in ebook form complete with lots of pictures and illustrations and formatting that adds to the reading experience. I wanted to share this with all of you and make it as accessible as possible, so it is free to download. It should work with most modern-day eBook readers and apps. If that doesn’t work for you, I have also turned the talk into a downloadable .PDF.

This eBook is a great entry point into some of the key ideas around convergent Friends, remix, and other concepts found in my book “A Convergent Model of Renewal (or Amazon link).”

Click on image to download .PDF
Click on image to download eBook


As The Seed Falls: Building a Generative, Convergent Quakerism

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Resurrection by John Jay Alavaro

This is the opening excerpt from a longer post on my Medium Blog about convergent Friends and the Renewal of the Quaker tradition.

A Seed Falls

Jesus, in speaking about his looming death, talks to his disciples in a metaphor that I want to draw on as we explore the topic of change and renewal together this evening.

He says:

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24 NRSV)

This is indeed a powerful image, not just because it is true, but because it lays the groundwork for Christian thinking around the idea of resurrection and how we might understanding the ongoing work of change and renewal within the Christian tradition.

It was later, in the 1970s, that this metaphor was applied as a model for thinking about change and renewal within the Quaker tradition by Everett Cattell, an Evangelical Quaker, missionary and president of my Alma Mater. He spoke these words to a gathering of Friends World Committee for Consultation Quakers concerned about the Future of Friends:

Perhaps the call is now before us for a new seeking: a seeking to find where God’s Spirit is actually at work in today’s world and then a giving of ourselves to work with Him — whether within or without the framework of Friends. The future of Friends may be like the grain of wheat, which must fall to the ground and die. Perhaps this would be the way to a new harvest (Cattell 1970:5).

These are tough words to take for Friends.

They are hard because it suggests that Friends may not be paying close enough attention to what God is doing out there, in our surrounding culture, an insight I think he brings as one who is missionary trained.

They are hard because they suggest that the “framework” of Friends is just that, a framework. Where it is helpful keep it, but where it becomes an obstacle to the real goal, which is joining in God’s work in the world, then we need to find new doors to enter and pathways to create.

“Sometimes we have to start over,” as Deborah Fisch shared during the 2016 North Carolina Yearly Meeting-Conservative sessions.

These words are also hard because they suggest that death is necessary for new life. The way we sustain what we love is by letting go of our control over that thing. It suggests, as Richard Rohr has said, our commitment to traditionalism can be our way of actually avoiding the tradition (Everything Belongs, 2003: 23).

I have seen this time and time again. Our commitment to protect and police the boundaries of Quakerism has led to a loss of the very center of our tradition. For example, consider the times when Quaker process has been used to avoid doing the real work of discernment. As our particular Quaker group becomes more and more concerned about survival, fearing and avoiding any kind of death or a falling of the seeds, we almost guarantee death. In the metaphor of the seed, avoidance of death is what ensures it.

If you’d like to continue reading the rest of this post click here to be taken to the full post on Medium.

Convergent Model of Renewal: A Sketchnote Companion and Discussion Guide (Complete)

Last night we finished up a six-week discussion at Camas Friends Church on my book. You can purchase “A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture” through my publisher Wipf and Stock or on Amazon (it’s more expensive there): “A Convergent Model of Renewal.”

I want to share the complete “Sketchnote Companion and Discussion Guide” for the book here. This is helpful for either small group or personal use.

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.

Download Complete Guides

Download: Complete Discussion Guide for A Convergent Model of Renewal

Download: A Sketchnote Companion for A Convergent Model of Renewal

Convergent Model of Renewal: Discussion Guide and Sketchnotes (Chp. 2)

Daniels_AConvergentModelofRenewal_01193_copyWe are doing a discussion at Camas Friends Church on my book, “A Convergent Model of Renewal.” I am posting 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: Chapter 2 Sketchnotes.

Download: Discussion Guide Intro, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Download: Chapter One Resources

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)