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7.15.2006

Why I like the idea of Convergence



WHAT
I like the word convergent -
it is a pretty good descriptor for a thing I am seeing.
A thing that I do.
A thing I am called to.
A thing I probably AM

I think it is a useful way to describe
some of the winds of the Spirit presently blowing around Quakerism.

I don't think it is a "movement" - it doesn't have that sort of agenda.
It is not about making a new place, or stream, or institution.

I think it is a sensibility, a perspective, a desire,
a proclivity, if you will.

It is a fearless, non-violent, non-competitive,
cross border engagement
for the purpose of deepening the spiritual life.


It is about finding and keeping all the babies,
and some of the bathwater,
and tucking a new baby in every now and then
and then letting the Holy spirit add some
hot water and bubbles.

I like bubbles.

It requires no sanction.
It's goal is not unity of belief or structure.
It accepts that schisms happen, then finds a way through them.

WHEN
It's been going on as long as Quakerism (Chistendom/humanity) has had divides.
Rufus Jones was convergent
Levi Pennington was convergent
Canby Jones and Vail Palmer are convergent.
FWCC is so convergent.
When Clerks meet Superintendents it's convergent.
The Multwood group is convergent.
The Northwest Quaker Women's theological conferences are convergent

Jesus was/is totally convergent.


WHY
Convergence promotes authenticity.
You cannot rely on code words and group-think in a convergent conversation.
You have to think about what you are saying and put it in fresh words.
You agree to acccept questions - to ask questions.
You accept the possibility that the other may have something to say to you.
That you may have something to say.
You are willing to be changed by the conversation. Change does not scare you.

Convergence prevents provincialism and isolation.
Humans are prone to this, and Quakers seem at times to have a gift for it.
Friends of all stripes can be in deep denial about the diversity of Friends

Convergence promotes spiritual growth.
Attention to the Fount of the Spirit, encourgaes Spirit's movement.
Attention to the power of our foreparents and their testimony
invigorates the Quaker family.
Attention to what God is doing now and next keeps us alive.
Convergence confronts the individual with evidence of God
in the person you think least likely to be holding much of God
- which results in growth.

Convergence challenges stereotypes and strawmen.

HOW
The primary agent of convergence is narrative theology.
Speaking from personal experience.
Telling our stories. Listening deeply.
Asking questions of clarification.
Identifying resonance and dissonance without clubbishness or offense.

Quaker convergence is marked by the desire to build relationships.
It is Bloggers who use their real names and desire to meet in person.
It is conferences that change lives.
This tendency alone will keep this from being a fad.
I find that I like these people - I intend to keep track of them.

Convergence is hindered by rigorous debate.
There may be a time and place for debate, but this is not it.
Debate does not often build relationship - does not bridge chasms.

Convergence is anchored by worship and prayer.
Sitting together in the Presence, together, bonds.
Carrying each other's burdens makes us strong.

Convergence finds differing beliefs to be interesting but not threatening.

Convergence is only one piece of a balanced spiritual life -
but it is an important piece.

I greet this vigorous convergence with joy.
Hail and well met!
Comments:
Thanks for sharing, Peggy: beautiful.
 
Yes, yes, yes.

Blessings,
Liz, The Good Raised Up
 
Peggy,

May your thoughts on convergence reflect what it really is and shall be! There are some concerns and questions in the blogosphere about its nature but your reading is one I can unite with! And if I may say so without meaning to jab at anyone, it sounds pretty "liberal" (by which I mean both freeing and uniting) to me!

In Friendship,

Dave "unabashed liberal" Carl

p.s. Liberalism at its best surely understands the need to conserve what is best in our traditions, so what you have written sounds pretty "conservative" to me as well -- in a good liberal sense, that is :)
 
I love it Peggy - I wish I would have seen this about 10 hours earlier for my recent post but I went back in and added it.

My favorite line is "John Woolman was Convergent." That is so right on.
 
Thank you, Peggy, for this and for your "interest group" at the Gathering. We are all in this together.
 
Hi, Peggy,

Wonderful words. Thanks for sharing them!

I agree, convergence is not the kind of movement that has an agenda, leaders, and a goal. However, I do consider convergence to be a movement, but in a different sense.

I believe convergence is both a Movement of the Spirit among us, and a movement of various pockets of Friends towards the center. We are not in charge, God is. We just strive to be faithful to the call we each hear.

It seems like lately more people are listening to that call, and to one another, than have done so for a long time.

Cathy Habschmidt
 
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