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!

-- Brent


Diane said...

Good post. I too hope Convergent can provide a vessel for conversation and a help for Quakers who feel in "exile."


Laurie Kruczek said...

Brent, I have been on the verge of leaving a time or two, only because of the lack a Christian spirital leanings of my own tiny meeting. Not because of any fault of individuals, but because it is such a small meeting, and within that small group of Friends, the focus is not always Christ. But it gives me hope to see Convergence coming into its own. There are people moving forward and trying to change things, or at least be willing to listen, as you said, with thoughtful and caring dialogue. I feel warmth and sincerity from the folks at our meeting, and that is what keeps me coming back. Can I do more, personally, to make my own changes? Probably. It is something I hope God will guide me through in the upcoming months.

Thanks for the positive post.