Five Years Ago and Convergent October 2008

Martin Kelley has written a post giving a little back history to what happened five years ago. Five years ago he started reading Rober Weber’s book The Younger Evangelicals, a book that confirmed much of his thinking about liberal Quakerism and helped him verbalize what needs to happen in order to change a church he says is “floundering on issues of tokenism and feel-good-ism.” The post is well worth the read, it’s insightful, and helps give context to how ‘convergent Friends’ finally came about. He also has a helpful, “where do we go now?” section. His post reminded me of two things in particular: our own major move five years ago, and the upcoming activities for convergent Friends in October. Continue reading Five Years Ago and Convergent October 2008

Remixing Faith in the 21st Century (Barclay Press)

I’ve posted my June essay on Barclay press if you care to have a read (it’s nice and long!). Here’s and excerpt:

This past April Radiohead did another thing that sparked imaginations and challenged the preexisting structures of the music industry, yet again. They setup a website and invited people to remix one of their singles, “Nude.” Along with the invitation, they released the audio tracks containing the guitars, strings, drums, bass, and vocals through the iTunes music store. They invited people to participate in a contest to see who would make the best remix of their song, all the votes would be made by Radiohead fans (the winning remix received 38568 votes). By looking at remix culture, I think the church can learn something about how creativity and imagination interacts with existing ideas and structures and builds off those resources while also moving beyond them in new ways.

Click here to continue reading this essay.

Douglas Gwyn and the Convergent-Covenant

Just came across these two quotes from Quaker historical-theologian Douglas Gwyn’s book “The Covenant Crucified,” and it got me thinking about some of the work I did in a previous project I’d never written about:

Given its biblical frame of reference, the religious Right retains a more explicit covenantal self-awareness.  But because the biblical code is metaphorical, not analytical, the religious Right (indeed, all biblically based groups) often struggles over how to live a biblically faithful life in our present social grid, how to address a modern, scientific, and technological society using this code.  Under these conditions, fundamentalist groups shift decisively toward the purity/pollution code of covenant consciousness.  Here, questions of private morality, sexuality, family relations, and devotion to church life are foreground, and wider, structural dimensions of covenant faith – a just and peaceful society (the gift/debt code) – recede into the background.

Douglas Gwyn, Covenant Crucified, 366

For Gwyn, the “Religious Right is puritanical??? because moral standards “become fetishes, detached from evolving patterns of life,” and operates out of a desire to reinstate Christendom, often at whatever cost. While the left holds onto contraction philosophy, over against the early Quaker and biblical notion of covenant, which ultimately, “reduces covenant faith to constitutional rights” (367). Continue reading Douglas Gwyn and the Convergent-Covenant

Presenting on Convergent Friends at FAHE in June

 So much for a really creative title! It was the best I could think of at this hour. Anyways, Last year at this time I was living in Birmingham England, away from my pregnant wife, finishing up my first year of doctoral studies and working on Quaker theology with a guy named Pink (see my three posts here). Needless to say a lot has happened since that time, and a lot has happened because of that time. As a result of my project I did with “Ben” (Pink) this past summer, and because of his encouragement, I applied to present on convergent Friends for the Friends Association for Higher Education conference happening at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center this June. I was really excited to see that my proposal was accepted and am now in the midst of preparing for that presentation. I don’t have any fancy titles for the workshop I’ll be doing just yet, but a couple ideas are: Continue reading Presenting on Convergent Friends at FAHE in June

Interview with Sacred Compass Author Brent Bill

I decided to take part in Brent Bill’s recent contest to help get the word out about his book. I know Brent through my work with convergent Friends and have enjoyed following his blog and his interest not only in Quakerism but the emerging church. He is the author of a number of books and has a new book releasing this month called “Sacred Compass” from Paraclete Press. Here’s the basic premise of the book:

A compass makes a good metaphor for our spiritual lives and the work of discerning God’s will for them. God doesn’t speak as clearly and as obviously asMapquest or GoogleMaps or GPS. Maybe that’s because we don’t navigate the life of faith via anything remotely resembling GPS. Instead, the divine compass points us the mind and love of God. Our sacred compass operates in our souls and calls us to life with God. As we move toward Divine guidance, we joyfully behold the face of a loving God gazing back at us. 

Continue reading Interview with Sacred Compass Author Brent Bill