Wednesday, October 29, 2008
A Final Thought for Convergent Friends October
About a year ago, on another of my blogs, Jay Marshall of Earlham School of Religion posted this remark -- "any chance Friends have of cooperating with God's transforming power will come most easily through building relationships rather than by arguing points."
I agree. And therein is my hope for the future of the Convergent Friends movement. I see it as a place -- a holding vessel -- for important conversations about the future of Friends. I hope it's a place where, regardless of position -- Evangelical, liberal, moderate -- Friends will be able to answer the question "What canst thou say" with openness and be affirmed.
I see it as a new place to talk about the vitality among Friends that can lead to transformation in the 21st century that is theologically hospitable to those who are seeking a vital experience of the Living Christ.
I see it as a place where we can be encouraged to think about what it means to be a Friends congregation in a particular place at this particular time.
What energizes us for ministry? Outreach? Christian social witnesses?
As many of my blog readers know, my spirituality books emphasize Christian Quaker spirituality. As I travel the country schlepping books or leading spirituality workshops, I find a lot of interest in Quakerism.
Then come the inevitable questions about where to find a Quaker congregation in that area. I have to admit that I don't, even as smart as I am, know where every Meeting is and I'm also a bit hesitant to just tell people to look online for Quakers closest to them.
I'd like to be able -- in my wildest Quaker dreams -- to be able to point to some sort of resource that could guide them to a place where they would experience the kind of Quaker spirituality that I write about. Perhaps that's self-serving or naive -- or both.
But I do know some Meetings in that fit that wish -- and I'd like to know about more.
I think a place for theological hospitality among Friends is important. I hear from too many Friends whose meetings feel like exiles in their yearly meetings or are actually contemplating leaving. Likewise, some pastoral leaders.
Can the Convergent movement be a place where thoughtful, caring dialogue can continue? I hope so!