Given my love for teaching, and my forced time off this winter semester, a time I would typically be teaching, and the various teaching opportunities I have with Camas Friends, I have been reflecting a lot on what it means for me to be an educator. I want to share some of the key building blocks I am using as I try and build participatory pedagogy. I see three main areas of a participatory pedagogy being: the Quaker tradition, participatory culture, and liberation theology.
All learners are learners within a tradition; apprentices participating in the learning of particular skills, dispositions, vocabulary, practices and styles of thinking and ways of constructing arguments. Therefore, I see myself as an apprentice within the Quaker tradition, seeking to educate other apprentices. Every large-scale tradition has had to develop its own modes of inquiry as it seeks embody its particular arguments in the world. For instance, the Quaker argument that “Christ has come to teach the people himself” becomes for Friends an argument that our ongoing tradition contends for. If Christ has indeed come to teach the people himself then what kind of community must we be? How must we be formed and informed? What are the practices and dispositions a community needs to participate in in order to live into the reality that Christ has come?
This is a guest post written by Chad Stephenson a Quaker from San Francisco. It is a response to the Friends Journal article “Bringing Children to Worship” and my follow-up article found here. This article comes largely from Chad’s work with children as a librarian as the San Francisco Friends School. He’s a good friend of mine and I’ve always appreciated his insights and thoughts, I think you’ll find the same is true for what he’s written here.
Awhile back I did a Godly Play story during our meeting for worship. We invited the children to say with the adults and participate in our listening to the story. After the story we had our normal 15 minutes of silent, or waiting, worship. This is a description I wrote up and used that Sunday. I borrowed some ideas from my friend Chad Stephenson who is the librarian at the San Francisco Friends School where their students have meeting for worship during the school day.
Mind you this is just one attempt and there are things missing from here that I would like to say. I tried to connect it to the language of Godly Play since that’s what our kids are most used to. In trying to write up a description I was challenged to be concrete, simple and succinct in describing worship to our children. It is a good exercise for all of us to try. Continue reading Describing “Silent” Worship to Children
As parents bringing children and teens to a time of worship can be a struggle. We place a lot of expectations on our kids and often hope they won’t “misbehave” during church. Plus, it is easy to succumb to their rowdiness, distraction and desire for entertainment. The last thing on earth most parents seem to want to hear from their kids is “I am bored.” The response often tends to turn our time of gathered worship into an opportunity to have free babysitting or shuffle them away to some place else, entertain them, or even give them a gadget that will hold their attention. Continue reading Thoughts on Bringing Children To Worship
Last week we started to tackle the difficult subject of money and the church at Camas Friends. We discussed some possible ways of approaching the subject in a holistic manner — as caretakers or curators of all that has been entrusted to us. And then we discussed some of the ways we might think about the “practice of giving” as people who follow Jesus.
As I’ve been considering these questions, I couldn’t help but wonder if Friends have always wrestled with these questions, and how they have thought about it in the past. But with many of the Quakers we’ve been learning about in our Wednesday evening Soup and Bread meetings – there have been were successful bankers and business people a part of our tradition almost from the very beginning. Today’s ethos among Quakers – and I think this is reflective of all stripes – is one that often avoid discussions of money altogether. But from a historical point of view it hasn’t always been this way. Continue reading Quaker Bankers, Tithes and a Chocolate Factory (Matt 10:8)