Quakerism 101: A Very Basic Introduction with Suggested Readings

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Earlier this week there was a conversation on Twitter that pointed out two realities that we are seeing a lot within Western (and often more “liberal-Liberal”) Quakerism: a) that Quakerism is viewed primarily in the secular West as non-religious; and b) that even within Quaker meetings there is so little religious education that many do not get anything to help in framing the Quaker tradition differently Quakerism in any way other than a morally-based, secular practice.

As someone said on Twitter today, they always thought of it less as a religion and more of a flavor. This is not an uncommon view among many Quakers. I have witnessed the latter problem within Programmed and Evangelical Quaker meetings as well: the lack of Religious education – as it pertains to understanding and framing the Quaker tradition (history, theology and practice) both as it was understood and how it is made manifest within Quaker meetings today, worldwide.

Therefore, I wanted to offer a short reading list with some basic background to the Quaker tradition here in hopes of helping those who are getting started out and want to know more about the history, beliefs, and practice of the Religious Society of Friends. I hope that this list can be of use in folks’ quest to make their understanding and practice of Quakerism more rich, more full, and more critical. I believe that there is a push to make us lose our robust religious language in favor of a very safe religious language that will not challenge the imperial powers, that will not challenge the ego of self, that will not lay us open before Love or call truth to power. We have much to learn from and grow into. I hope what is offered can help give you but a taste.

Continue reading Quakerism 101: A Very Basic Introduction with Suggested Readings

Creating a “Collaborative Syllabus” Using Trello

I believe very strongly in creating a participatory learning environment for students but when it comes to creating a syllabus it seems like the only option is to use the standard “banking” model of education (Freire). As the instructor for a course, I lay out specific texts, assignments and themes for the students to digest in class and organize it in an easy to follow document we call the syllabus. [^1] But I want something that can move beyond this parameter and allow the students to participate in the actual development of the content within the syllabus.

My question is: How do I get the students more involved and interacting with the actual syllabus from its very creation to how it gets used in class throughout the semester?

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This is where trello flexibility comes into play. Continue reading Creating a “Collaborative Syllabus” Using Trello

Convers(at)ions in Community: On Creating Space for Dialogue Around the Sermon

This is a third post in a series of reflections on the nature of dialogue and transformation, or “convers(at)ion” as I am referring to it as for a little playfulness (see a and b).

These are some ideas of how we try to inhabit some of the ideas of conversations/conversions within our faith community specifically around our dialogue with scripture.

Invite the congregation to reflect throughout the week on the upcoming text

I got started doing this very early on at Camas Friends (almost 6 years ago). I think I stole the idea from my friend Jason M. but I’m not sure where it came from now. But basically I send the text out on Tuesday or Wednesday so people can reflect on it the rest of the week. Continue reading Convers(at)ions in Community: On Creating Space for Dialogue Around the Sermon

Building a Participatory Pedagogy

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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?

Continue reading Building a Participatory Pedagogy