July 1, 2005

Quaker Identity: Yearning, Forming, Deepening

Now that the 2005 FGC Gathering is over, the link that used to show the entire description for the workshop on Quaker Identity no longer exists. I am creating this post, therefore—and using an artificial date to reflect the approximate date(s) when the workshop was offered—so readers of The Good Raised Up can still gain an understanding of what the goals, background, and topics of this workshop were initially.

When I post a more current blog entry about the experience of actually facilitating the workshop (3-8 Seventh Month 2005), I'll include that link here as well.  —Liz

UPDATE: Here are links about the workshop experience itself:
The first long entry
The second long entry

Short description, 50 words or less:

There is a difference between spiritual formation and spiritual formation of a Quaker identity. Through personal sharing we may alleviate some of our spiritual hunger, explore what builds identity, and experience some of what may contribute to a meaningful Quakerism. Presenter’s Quakerism is God-based; workshop draws on that orientation.

Worship 30%; Lecture 20%; Discussion 30%; Experiential 20%

Detailed description:

Being engaged with Friends who grow us in our Quakerism also nourishes our Quaker identity. Spiritual formation can occur in the midst of a group that practices a variety of spiritual disciplines (spiritual individualism)--or without any religious community at all--while the formation of a Quaker identity is cultivated and strengthened within a Quaker context and through other Quaker connections. Our ability to define ourselves as Quakers, to sustain our Quakerism during difficulties, and to pass our Quaker faith and tradition onto attenders and onto younger Friends might well rest on our ability to articulate, communicate, experience, and live out elements of our Quakerism, individually and corporately.

TOPICS I hope we will address:
1. stages of identity development and spiritual maturity
2. cycle of (community) relationships and development
3. peer transmission and multi-generational transmission of faith and practice
4. dualities and paradoxes among Friends (e.g. the desire to be inclusive and the desire for a shared faith; implicit and explicit Quakerism)
5. spiritual discernment and faithfulness
6. eldership as important tradition and practice, both giving and receiving
7. what nourishes us as Friends

The direction of the workshop and its pace will emerge out of the needs and interests of the group rather than being strictly dictated by me as a workshop presenter. If you prefer a firm leadership style and clear outline of what is to be covered rather than a fluid workshop experience, this workshop may not be right for you.

This workshop is driven in part by FGC’s Long Term Plan, and in particular one of its finer points:
“[to] help Friends engage in a continuing process of renewing and integrating their experiences of the historical, spiritual and theological foundations of Quakerism…”
This workshop will NOT cover the historical development of Quakerism. We will focus on our own experiences rather than on those of well-known Quakers.

Some resources:

Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order, Lloyd Lee Wilson
Testament of Devotion, Thomas Kelley
Resistance and Obedience to God: Memoirs of David Ferris, ed. Martha
Paxson Grundy
Our Quaker Identity, Alastair Heron
Listening Spirituality, Vol. II, Patricia Loring

The Authority of Our Meetings Is the Power of God, Paul Lacey
Quaker Treasure, Martha Paxson Grundy
Leading and Being Led, Paul Lacey
Gospel Order, Sandra Cronk
Deepening the Spiritual Life of the Meeting, Edward Hoare
Members One of Another, Thomas Gates

To order any of the above items, contact QuakerBooks of FGC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Liz. I'm considering the hows of Quaker spiritual formation as well now, and have a short post but some great comments from other Friends at my own blog. I think Quakers in the UK might be about to put in some serious group effort at this, and I'm excited by the possibilities. It's great to have all this to draw on.

I like your reference to the identity development model in your first long post after the workshop. I really value having a pointer towards a model from cultural studies for the progress we might go through (to complement those in scripture and history) to help me think about how might look in this century. (Although I can't get the link to the book to work right now, I will try to get hold of it in another way.)

I really like the 'spectrum' exercise you describe in your second long post reporting from the workshop - I've participated in it several times before but I'd not thought about why it works well.