September 5, 2008

Broadening the conversation

I've been reflecting on one of the seeds that was planted for me as the result of the interest group that took place at the 2008 FGC Gathering.

We had gone around the room, sharing with the group one question we had about the Convergent conversation. A day or two later, as a result of that go-around, the idea took root within me of creating a print publication for meetings and Friends--and possibly for friends of Friends--who have been interested in the topic but who may not spend time on the internet where much of the exchange has been happening.

I began to wonder what it would be like to pull together a number of Quaker blog posts that touch on convergence, and put them in one place in the form of a "reader." That way, the posts that have started, shaped, and advanced the conversation about restoring Quakerism to a vibrant faith discipline, even before the word Convergent started being used, might make their way into Quaker libraries and into Friends' hands.

Plus, such a publication might help dispel one of the main myths about Convergent Friends: that it's only an online conversation. Not true!

When I shared the idea with the Friend who, during the interest group, had raised the question about how to get her meeting involved in the conversation without relying on the internet, her face lit up. She clearly liked the concept.

More than once since the Gathering, I have pulled Martin Kelley's self-published book, the Quaker Ranter Reader, off my shelf and glanced at its pages. The form is straight-forward; the format seems easy enough.

It was an easy leap to consider, Why not a collection of blog posts? Why not an easy, self-publishable format?

I've gone on to share the concept with a few fellow Quaker bloggers, and now I'm wondering what any of you readers out there might think of such a compilation:

Would you be interested in having such a book on your own bookshelf?

Do you think your meeting would appreciate having a copy?

What one or two Quaker blogposts have lingered with you over time? What post is still working on you?
I raise these questions not so much for help in figuring out what to include, or even how to go about it, but rather as a way to invite you into the growing possibility of such a thing.



Ashley W said...

Hi Liz,

I really like this idea, especially because "convergent" means so many different things to different people. I think it would be great to have a book that captures some of the perspectives and variety in the convergent conversation and opens it up to people who would never read a blog.

A post that I would like to see in there is Peggy Parsons's "Why I like the idea of convergence"


Heather said...

Brilliant idea, Liz - I'd buy one,


Gil S said...

Great idea Liz. I would certainly buy one and be interested in promoting it as widely as possible.

I think there are a lot of people out there who would be interested in a book rather than feeling they have to go online.

In friendship

Anonymous said...

I think many people will appreciate this effort of yours, Liz.

A Meeting I used to attend is small and reluctant to use the internet for communication. Most internal information is passed by word of mouth and writings from the wider Quaker world are discussed in Adult Ed programs after people have read a book or an article.

So a sampler of the convergent conversation in hard copy would meet their needs.

Also--there might be a generational and income gap within the digital divide, so your effort would allow a greater number of people to have access to the stuff we with computers can find easily.


Liz Opp said...

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. I appreciate your encouragement and your supportive words!

I'm especially tickled by the "I'd buy one" remarks: it makes the theoretical creation of such a book a bit more realistic--and doable.


Unknown said...

Good idea Liz - I'd buy one too, read it and give it to the library at our Meeting House.

Sometimes I think, though, that what we really need is a Quaker (Convergent) Reader, a modern Book of Extracts with passages from the writings of Friends going all the way back to Fox.

I've just been reading a very inspiring account of Stephen Grellet's life and ministry (in Carole Spencer's 'Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism') and noticed that he isn't even mentioned in 'Quaker Faith and Practice' (of Britain Yearly Meeting), which is made up mostly of passages from 20th Century Friends.

There's a cloud of Quaker witnesses who went before us whose life and work we need to remember and learn from if we are to renew the tradition.

Joan said...

Yes, I agree. I am new to this converstion and though I have researched on line, I am not a regualr blogger. I spend a great deal of time on the internet with e-mail, work (both paid and volunteer) and more time for blogs is not conducive to my spiritual path.

I and others are very interested in Convergent Friends conversation and a published pamphlet would be very helpful to those like me who are on line but not regular bloggers and others who are not online at all. I too, would purchase one or more!


Liz Opp said...

To Joan, Jeremiah, and others--

Stay tuned. Since October is being announced as Convergent Friends Month, there may be more to report, especially around the concept of a Convergent Friends Reader.

....If only September could be extended by another few days to give me a little bit more time.... smile