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“How to Be a Poet” by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

i

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

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Save the Date: Quaker Heritage Day 2011

I’ve been asked to be the speaker for Quaker Heritage Day, a day long series of talks around, you guessed it, Quaker history that Berkeley Friends puts on every year. Since Brian Young (the released minister there) is sending out the postcards, I thought I’d send out a virtual one!

The title of the my presentation is:

Heralding The New Creation: Mission as Participation in the Quaker Tradition

Date: February 12-13, 2011 Berkeley Friends Church

The main theme I’ll be covering is related to renewal, convergent Friends and participatory culture. We will be investigating the renewal of tradition through a Quaker theology and practice of mission. This will give me an opportunity to share some of what I have been working on lately in my research. I really look forward to the trip down to Berkeley, and the visit with many Friends there. If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it! Also see the QuakerQuaker.org event page or the facebook event page for more details.

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Blog Entries Reviews

New Missiology Books October 2010

As a doctoral student in missiology I like to keep up on the new things getting published on the subject. Here are a few new books that are out that have caught my attention. ((Books include referral code links to Powell’s Books an Independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon.)) Summaries provided by Powells.com.

In 1910 Protestant missionaries from around the world gathered to explore the role of Christian missions in the twentieth century. In this collection, leading missiologists use the one hundred year anniversary of the Edinburgh conference as an occasion to reflect on the practice of Christian mission in today’s context: a context marked by globalization, migration, ecological crisis, and religiously motivated violence. The contributors explore the meaning of Christian mission, the contemporary context for mission work, and new forms in which the church has engaged–and should engage–in its missionary task. From these essays, a vision of twenty first-centurymission begins to emerge–one that is aware of issues of race, gender, border spaces, migration, and ecology. This renewed vision gives strength to the future of shared Christian ministry across nations and traditions.

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Social Media and the Illusion of Action

The other day I got caught up in following Kester Brewin’s tweets on the Apple 8 Media: Social Media and Political Action event he was covering on twitter (see those comments here).  There were a number of things he quoted there that really stood out, so I was eager to read more about what happened at Apple 8. He’s now posted about the event and some of the slides, audio and notes. I look forward to digging into this more, but here’s a little nugget that is fantastic.

One of the most interesting points was about the confusion between communication and action. Interaction with social media can make us feel as if we are involved in something, and are doing something. This is a mistake. Luke was very clear: to communicate is not to act; power is still about meeting face to face.Social media can thus be hugely effectively tools for mobilisation, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that online participation is achieving anything concrete. Moreover, social media does not only give us the illusion of action, it can drain energy from real activism as people already feel that they have acted.

via Kester Brewin » Social Media and the Illusion of Action.

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Blog Entries Quaker Reviews

Small Group Discussion Guide for “The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction”

Over the course of the summer a small group at Camas Friends Church worked through Ben Pink Dandelion’s “The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction.” The book is honestly a little deceiving. It is short, but the font is also small and it is packed full with tons of information. So while it is short, it is by no means simple. Our that started out as 20 folks ended as 6 and I think some of that has to do with the segregation between interest and real-life obligations, and part of it has to do with the sunshine. Something we celebrate whenever its rays shine down.

We did the small group over the course of six meetings. We met every other week, everyone came having read, and I lead the discussion based on a variety of questions I wrote up based on the chapters (below). We also had people break into smalls groups and share and then at the end I would take questions.

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An Index of Brent Bill’s Modest Proposals

Brent Bill, Quaker, recorded minister and and the author of Sacred Compass, has recently hammered out 8 great, and what he calls with tongue planted in cheek, “A Modest Proposal: For the Revitalization of the Quaker Message in the United States.” I printed them all out and read through them a last week and since I’ve found myself talking a lot about. One of his key themes throughout is “what justifies our separate existence as Friends?” The question comes from a context in which many programmed meetings have drifted so far from the Quaker tradition that they are just pale versions of their Protestant counter-parts. If we’re going to just be a pale version of Methodism or Lutheranism why not just be Methodists and Lutherans? So Brent sets out to demonstrate that there are many things that still distinguish Friends and there are things that can be done to reinforce and revitalize what it is we are doing as a meeting. Some of what he suggests is really challenging, some of it a little easier to manage, and some of it is meant to be more hyperbolic and meant more to raise questions. For me, I think the posts on the bulletin, the meeting room space, and being a released minister were the most thought-provoking.

I may post further thoughts on some of this at a later point but what I wanted to do was offer an index them so they’re easier to track and access. I’ve also provided a very brief summary of what each post is about.

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How Krista Tippett is Rocking My World

One of the things that has been really inspiring me lately is Krista Tippett’s radio/podcast program “Being,” which as of a month ago was known more widely as “Speaking of Faith.” The show interviews a variety of people from various faiths and perspectives who are doing some really meaningful things with their lives. I’ve known about the show for years but nothing about it really grabbed me, but there is a gentleman in our meeting who has tried to get me to listen a few times and so finally I downloaded “Days of Awe” and listened to it on my drive out to Twin Rocks a couple weeks ago. In the show Tippett interviews Rabbi Sharon Brous from the Ikar synagogue in Los Angeles. I was completely inspired and moved by Brous’ discussion. I had to pause the iPod a couple of times just so I could reflect on what she said and inspect the ways in which it intersected in my life. Here’s a description of that episode show:

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Our Righteous Lament – Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber, the pastor at the House for All Sinners and Saints, (and blogger at  www.sarcasticlutheran.com) has written a beautiful reflection on lament, the recent teen suicides by a number of gay youth, and the loss of covenant in our society.

There is quite a strong tradition in the Old Testament of complaining to God about injustice and suffering. It’s lamenting — and we should perhaps reclaim this part of our tradition. I have a friend who says if you’re going to have a “praise band” in your church, that’s fine, but only if you also have a “lament band.”And there are some very real things to lament about folks; we’re not talking petty complaints. Many of you this week were made aware of a horrific spate of recent teenage suicides.Billy Lucas, age 15, Seth Walsh, age 13, Asher Brown, age 13, and Tyler Clementi, age 18, have all died at their own hands in the past two weeks.  Billy, Seth, Asher, and Tyler were gay youth who ended the unendurable anti-gay violence done to them at the hands of churches, families, or peers by doing life-ending violence to their own selves.

via Our Righteous Lament – Nadia Bolz-Weber – Gods Politics Blog.

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Today is World Habitat for Humanity Day

The United Nations has designated the first Monday in October as annual World Habitat Day. It is a day to raise awareness around the importance of there being affordable and safe housing in the world. Safe and affordable housing is not something that is available to everyone and as the populations continue to grow there will always be need: “every week, more than a million people are born in, or move to, cities in the developing world. As a result, the urban population of developing countries will double from 2 billion to 4 billion in the next 30 years” (Kissick, et al: 2006). And while this is a deeply pressing issue in developing worlds, it’s also an issue in our own cities. In Camas, the town where I pastor, there is a shortage of affordable, section 8 housing as well. Especially in times during this economic downturn housing needs to be made available for those who are without work, or who have jobs that do not pay enough to cover a mortgage. Good housing actually improves health conditions of those who live there, strentgthens the community and improves the lives of children: