Good Afternoon Everyone,
The day is slipping away and I wanted to make sure to send out the text for this Sunday. We are starting our summer long discussion around Quaker testimonies and what they have to do with us today. This Sunday I want to talk a little about why we might even take up such a task. Some may wonder why this is important, of if talking about Quaker things is even helpful at all in our day and age? Isn’t it just a bunch of outdated ideas, geared towards another day and place? These are of course not only good questions, but questions I have heard from time to time in my traveling in ministry.
So it seems appropriate to start at the end rather than the beginning, that is, we’re going to start with where the Quaker tradition is today, and then go back into history. This Sunday I want to talk about how our stories have met up with the stories of the Quaker tradition. So we might ask, “Why Quakerism? Why Now?” And beyond that, I want to tell some stories about a group of Quakers called “Convergent Friends” and why what they are doing (I think) is helpful to this bigger discussion.
Here’s the text:
“So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Eph 2:11–22 NRSV)
- Where does your story intersect with the Quaker story?
- What draws you into the Quaker tradition? What do you have questions about?
- What does “convergence” look like in relation to what Ephesians says?
- What has your experience been of finding a reconciliation among great difference?
If you like to have a little extra reading for the week here are some blog posts and articles on convergent Friends:
- Robin Mohr’s Original Definition
- An Article I wrote for Quaker Life in 2006
- Martin Kelley’s Convergent Friends, A Long Definition
- Liz Opp’s Do I have to be a Christian to be a Convergent Friend?
Have a wonderful week,
Pastor at Camas Friends Church
1004 NE 4th Ave
Camas, WA 98607